In these days, when refrigerators are full and KP is increasingly relegated to civilians, Uncle Sam provides amply, but until World War I military food was ""terrible."" This agreeable history begins at Valley Forge, covers each of America's wartime provisions (up to Lurp in Vietnam), and includes today's cushier menus. Not every veteran will rush to whip up that infamous creamed beef, which properly begins the recipe section, or even bother with a slumgullion recipe which, feeding 100, requires, some adjustment for the family dinner table, but the others seem representative, tasty enough, and generally duplicable. Dickson also includes some official kitchen philosophy, surprisingly clearly phrased considering most military writing (""Remember that beans, badly boiled, kill more than bullets"") and adds a few pointers on castaway cookery--eat what the monkeys eat and never drink sea water. And a glossary gathers in all those under-the-table locutions: ""albatross"" for chicken, ""bug juice"" for Kool-Aid, ""braised trake"" and ""buttered ermal"" for foolers. A mess to remember--not too spicy and a bit thin but warm enough and lightly processed.