Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

How to Fund a War and Relieve Its Impact: Bake a Cake!

It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber. (Robert Fulghum)

This quote often comes to the fore when school fetes are organised. But did you know that selling biscuits, cakes, and cookery books has been, and still is used to raise funds for the defense forces?
Here are a few examples.

ANZAC biscuits (1917)
The most famous example for Australians and New Zealanders is the ANZAC biscuit. ANZAC biscuits were sold in Australia after the Gallipoli Campaign (1915) to raise funds for the war effort.
At a commercial level, it is illegal to alter the ANZAC biscuit recipe. Permission must be sought from the Australian Government Department of Veterans Affairs if a commercial baker wants to alter its recipe.
The War Chest Cookery Book, published in 1917, by the Sydney War Chest Fund contains the earliest reference in an Australian cookery book to Anzac biscuits.

The Anzac Biscuit recipe on page 87 of the cookbook uses eggs, creams the butter and sugar and rolls out and cuts the mixture into biscuits. What now separates the Anzac biscuit from other biscuits is the recipe does not use eggs, it uses the melting method, and the mixture is shaped into balls before baking, instead of being rolled out and cut.

The total sales of the War Chest Cookery Book were devoted to the War Chest Fund. Similarly, Anzac biscuits were sold at fetes and fairs to raise money for the war effort.

Bake sales to raise funds for Ukraine (2022)
Hundreds queued up in Glasgow to buy cakes baked by a local Ukrainian baker to support those fleeing the war. Bakers throughout London join the charity bake sale to raise money for the Legacy of War Foundation, which provides support to civilians affected by conflict. Children in a Portsmouth School organise a cake stall.

Supporting UK Defence Forces and their families
The UK’s coldest tri-service military charity, Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (ssafa), used tea and cake to raise £1000 for armed forces families in 2022. Since its creation in 1885, the ssafa has provided health services, social care, advice and housing service, welfare services, disability support, mental wellbeing support, support for transition to civilian life, and physical and emotional support to older veterans.

Bake for Heroes bake sales raise funds to help veterans and their families to recover and enjoy life.

Do you know of any similar examples?

To find out more:

Christina (2023). Bake for Ukraine Charity Bake Sale.

Help for Heroes (2023). Bake for Heroes: Making fundraising a piece of cake!

McCool, M. (2022). Ukraine: Hundreds queue for fundraising bake sale in Glasgow.

Reynolds, A. (2018). ANZAC Biscuits: The power and spirit of an everyday national icon. (Book )

Reynolds, A. (2020). Historic Biscuits: ‘Where the pavlova divides us, the ANZAC unites us.’

ssafa (2023). Welcome to ssafa.

War Chest Cookery Book (1917).

This post is based on a session at the April 2023 CLWG meeting.

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