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ANZAC biscuits: a history

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on April 13, 2016

ANZAC biscuits- a history

As ANZAC day comes around, many people start baking traditional ANZAC biscuits to commemorate the day. But did you know that the biscuit we love isn’t actually what the soldiers ate in the war?

Soldiers fighting in Gallipoli could look forward to hardtack biscuits, which by all accounts were about as delicious as they sound. Often, the men tried to make them easier to eat by grinding them up or softening them with water first.

Hardtack biscuits were supplied as a substitute for bread, because they lasted much longer and didn’t go mouldy. In fact, they lasted so long that some soldiers used them as paint canvases, or even to write letters home!

We don’t actually know how the ANZAC biscuit we enjoy – a sweet biscuit made with oats and golden syrup – came to be associated with the ANZACs. It’s said that because they last a long time, families and charities sent them to the men fighting overseas.

It’s also not known who first invented the recipe in the first place. Was it Australia, or New Zealand? The first record of a recipe with the name ANZAC was in a New Zealand cookbook in 1921, but the recipe itself had been around for longer than that.

As for that all-important question, chewy or crunchy? Well, the original recipe had to stay fresh for months to reach soldiers overseas, so they were definitely crunchy. Either way, they’re a delicious way to remember our soldiers.

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