I’m constantly learning from my children.
Most of these lessons are about the precious nature of time or the futility of cleaning, but recently my eldest had the opportunity to teach Mom a bit about history, too.
She received the Stuck Inside Creativity Book * as a gift on our recent Midwest travels. It was a wonderful companion, full of activities and information.
I didn’t expect it to also inspire her to say, “Mommy! You could write about this!”
She proudly displayed a page headed “Make Your Own Anzac Biscuits,” and read the following description.
“Anzac biscuits are a traditional treat from Australia and New Zealand. They became popular during World War I when eggs were rationed. This recipe doesn’t include them.” (pg. 16)
Hmmm, I guess she noticed all of the books and movies on the World Wars…
Of course, I agreed. Even without the lure of history, baking with the kids is always fun, if messy. As I wondered what I could substitute for “golden syrup” and tried to convert the ounces in the recipe into cups, (ugh- mental math!) I wondered if there was more to the history of these biscuits than the brief paragraph outlined.
A quick online search confirmed my suspicion.
In 1915, a combined force of Australian and New Zealand troops was dubbed “ANZAC.” They landed, along with other Allied forces, on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula on Sunday, April 25th, around dawn.
By the end of the Gallipoli campaign the death toll had climbed to over 130,000, including over 8,700 Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders.
These sacrifices are still remembered in a dawn service on Anzac Day, observed annually on April 25th.
Some sites claim that Anzac biscuits got their name because they were sent over to the troops. Another states that they weren’t named Anzac biscuits until the 20’s.
Whatever their name’s origin, the biscuits- or my muddled version with several ingredient substitutions and a good deal of “guestimating” measurements- were delicious, and it was a pleasure to learn something new, courtesy of my daughter!
Do any of you know the REAL story of the Anzac biscuit? Do you have other traditional foods with interesting stories?
Thanks for the visit!
If you’d like to try making Anzac biscuits, the recipe we used, courtesy of National Geographic, Kids, is below. Other recipes abound online.
In a mixing bowl, combine: 3 1/2 oz oatmeal, 3 1/2 oz sugar, 3 1/2 oz dried coconut, 5 1/2 oz flour
In a saucepan, combine: 2 T golden syrup,** 5 1/2 oz. butter. Melt on low heat. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp baking soda.
Combine all ingredients. Divide mixture into 12 equally sized round balls.*** Place on lightly oiled baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
Bake at 325 degrees F for about 20 mins.
**The recipe suggests substituting molasses or honey. We used light Karo syrup, and sweetened coconut and reduced the sugar a little.
***My estimates were likely off, as the dough wasn’t forming into ANYTHING but a sticky mess. I added some flour, until it looked better. Hey, wartime recipes are all about adapting, right?
*Archer, Mandy and Alexandra Koken ed. Stuck Inside Creativity Book. National Geographic Partners, 2016. Printed in China.
Primary web source (though I searched several, which agreed): https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/the-gallipoli-campaign/introduction