The origins of what we know today as the Anzac biscuit have become something of a myth.

Our state broadcaster yesterday introduced Carmel Cedro - Cedro is doing a PhD on baking, nostalgia and femininity at the Auckland University of Technology.

She says it is a myth that soldiers were sent Anzac biscuits in World War I.

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The biscuits, we know them now, contain coconut or fruit which would not have made the long journey by sea.

"Rancid" was the word she used to describe what the soldiers would have found in their packages from home.

The truth wasn't much tastier - the biscuit rations given to soldiers were salt, flour and water concoctions that could only be eaten after they were dunked in tea.

Some of these biscuits still exist today, they don't deteriorate particularly well.

And there is also evidence that Anzac biscuit recipes did not emerge until the 1920s, a few years after World War I ended, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

What soldiers bit into and what the public have bought into are two different things.

The latter, an urban, almost romanticised version in which we envisaged women lovingly baking and sending a slice of home to their loved ones is a concept many of us like, but it didn't happen.

As time rolls on, we need to make sure that a similar thing doesn't happen when it comes to remembering the sacrifice that New Zealand's men and women in the armed forces have made.


There is nothing romantic about war.

In the 2010s we are far more open about mental health, but the stigma still remains around mental health or illnesses like depression.

After being sent off to kill the enemy, and be stoic and heroic in the face of death, many soldiers who survived came home with associated mental difficulties.

It was not easy, and their battles were not just on the bloody fields of conflict.

Yet another reason, why we should honour their legacy and never forget.