Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day

Our gang has been away enjoying the last few days of the school holidays. We spent most of today travelling home. Because we didn't participate in any community celebrations this year, we had our own Anzac celebrations around the dinner table.

I made some Anzac biscuits of the chewy kind-the best kind in my opinion.

We picked a sprig of Rosemary from the garden.

Instead of me telling the kids all about Anzac Day, I decided to have them tell me what they knew.
And we had a little pop quiz, if you like.

What date is Anzac Day?
What do the letters ANZAC stand for?
Why do we celebrate Anzac Day?
Why is a sprig of Rosemary worn on Anzac Day?
Name five ingredients in Anzac biscuits.

We then discussed these interesting facts about Anzac biscuits.
  • The original Anzac biscuit was known as an Anzac wafer or tile and, along with beef bully, was part of the rations given to our soldiers during World War I. They were included instead of bread because they had a much longer shelf-life.
  • These biscuits were so hard they prompted a Lieutenant A L Dardel in 1915 to comment that "the man who can eat Gallipoli stodge (called bread) can eat anything... somebody will break his neck someday wandering round with his eyes shut and his teeth clenched on a biscuit trying to bite it through".
  • Many soldiers ground these biscuits into a type of porridge to make them more palatable.
  • The mothers, wives and girlfriends of Australian troops back home must've got wind of the terrible Anzac tiles and were reportedly concerned that their boys were not getting enough nutrients. Knowing that oats were a food of high nutritional value, these women used the recipe for Scottish oatcakes as a base and developed what we know of today as the Anzac biscuit.
  • Before being named Anzac biscuits, these biscuits were said to have been called soldier's biscuits.
  • Along with oats, the other ingredients - sugar, flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup and bi-carbonate of soda - were used because they would be able to withstand the long journey via ship that the biscuits had to make to reach the troops.
  • Eggs, a common binding agent in biscuits, were purposely not used because of the high likelihood that they would spoil before they reached Gallipoli or the Western Front.

The Mr and I were lucky enough to travel to Gallipoli, pre-children. It was one of the most memorable parts of our 6 month trip. I pulled out a couple of photographs from the vault-1998.

Anzac Cove... so strangely beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Such a huge loss of lives.

Words by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,  the founder of the Turkish Republic and it's first President. 

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now living in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
Ataturk, 1934

Have you been to Anzac Cove?
How do you commemorate Anzac Day?
Do you play Two Up?


karlyn Jackson said...

Thank you for that little lesson, I learnt something about the humble old ANZAC cookie.
I feel so lucky to have been to Gallipoli too, amazing place and so full of sadness. Hope you had a good trip xxxx

Bungalowgirl said...

I learnt quite a bit too, thanks. Chances are your kids knew all the answers to the pop quiz. Also nice to see you and Rosa's gang hanging out at the farm. melx

Yvette Adams said...

I like the chewy ones too. Very interesting Anzac biscuit facts, thanks very much. Sounds like they were originally pretty horrible - I'm surprised the mums and wives bothered to improve them LOL.

Look at you two in your matching navy Tshirts. :)

Brooke said...

I think you are very lucky to have been to Anzac Cove Lea, for me Anzac day is always emotional. I just cried reading those words from Ataturk. Thanks for sharing x