Page 127. " they'll have their kasha cooked before we reach our quarters "

Buckwheat kasha with butter
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBuckwheat kasha with butter - Credit: Laitr Keiows
 Kasha is a type of Russian porridge. Contrary to popular belief, it is not always made from buckwheat (unlike the European equivalent, buckwheat groats) but can also be made with wheat, barley, oats, millet or ryeAlongside shchi (cabbage soup), kasha is a staple of Russian cuisine, and can be sweet or savoury, served as a main course, a side dish, or for breakfast.

'Country style' kasha recipe.


Page 133. " le malheureux Mack "
Karl Mack
Public DomainKarl Mack
 'The unfortunate Mack'.

Karl Mack von Leiberich (1752-1828) was an Austrian soldier. Born in Bavaria, he joined the Austrian cavalry, where he swiftly rose through the ranks during the Turkish War and the French Revolutionary Wars. After Napoleon rose to power Mack was imprisoned by the French army, but he escaped in disguise, returning to the Austrian army to help prepare it for war. By 1805 he was made quartermaster-general under Archduke Ferdinand; he was effectively the power behind the Austrian army. However, despite his talent and experience in the army, he was a troubled, indecisive leader whose actions led in part to the disastrous defeat of the Austrians at the Battle of Ulm (see below).

Page 133. " the whole army had surrendered at Ulm "
The Surrender of the Austrian Army at Ulm by Charles Thévenin
Public DomainThe Surrender of the Austrian Army at Ulm by Charles Thévenin

 The so-called Battle of Ulm was not really a battle. Instead, it was a completely overwhelming military manoeuvre that saw Napoleon's army surround that of the Austrians under Karl Mack. Napoleon managed to cut off the Austrian army's supply lines and isolate them within the city of Ulm in Germany, forcing Mack to surrender the entire 27,000-strong force, including eighteen generals. The two forces engaged in some skirmishes as some parts of the Austrian army attempt to escape, but there was no set-piece battle in the normal sense. The surrender knocked Austria out of the War of the Third Coalition.

The shine was taken off Napoleon's great victory when the British won a great sea battle at Trafalgar the following day; yet, on land, the surrender of the Austrians opened up the way for Napoleon's swift capture of their capital, Vienna.

Google Map


Page 146. " real doppel-kümmel "

Doppel-kümmel is a type of sweet, clear liqueur flavoured with caraway seeds. Othe varieties can be flavoured with cumin or fennel. It first appeared in Holland, but can also be found in Germany, where the most popular brands today are Rostocker Doppel-Kümmel and Gilka Kümmel. It is best served very cold.