Episode 14

Bulldozer Butter & C-Rations: The Food that Built the Alaskan Highway

Command Historian's Office, Alaskan Command

Command Historian's Office, Alaskan Command

Moose milk. Powdered eggs. Coffee a la Yukon. This week, The Feast is heading to the Canadian wilderness- where 10,000 US soldiers helped to build the Alaskan Highway in 1942. But how do you feed an army in the middle of nowhere? We'll look at how these soldiers survived arctic winters & mosquito-plagued summers with the latest in military food technology, including dehydrated foods and the rise of the dreaded C-Ration, the meal for the soldier on the go. With nothing but powdered milk and tinned food to eat for up to six months at a time, soldiers got creative with the local wildlife. Bear steak, anyone? 

Written & Produced by Laura Carlson

Technical Direction by Mike Portt

A map of the Alaskan Highway, showing the supply rail links from Edmonton to Dawson Creek.

A map of the Alaskan Highway, showing the supply rail links from Edmonton to Dawson Creek.

The menu for the Opening Ceremonies of the Alaskan Highway (1942), printed on a blueprinting machine 

The menu for the Opening Ceremonies of the Alaskan Highway (1942), printed on a blueprinting machine 

Food Science During WWII

New technologies were all the rage during WWII as scientists worked to figure out how to reduce food weight & increase shelf life for soldiers' meals. Dehydrated foods like instant coffee & powdered eggs were just some of the innovations to come out of military food labs during the war.  

 

Great Books on the Alaskan Highway