3 Gallon Dixie

The metal two part ‘Dixie’ cooking pot was a very long lasting piece of equipment in the British army with examples serving from before the Great War until the 1990s. Although latterly made from aluminium, up until the 1950s dixies were made of tinned iron and it is a Second World War example we are looking at tonight:imageThe name ‘dixie’ comes from the Hindi word ‘degchi’ meaning a small pot. This cooking pot is not actually that small, having a capacity of three gallons! The dixie consists of two parts, a large lower pan and a top lid that could be used as a frying pan or a serving platter:imageA pair of wire handles are provided on each side of the lid for carrying it when separate from the main pot:imageA heavy duty metal handle is also fitted to the main body to allow the dixie to be carried or hung over a fire:imageThis secures to the dixie with two massive metal eyelets:imageThis is all very heavy duty, but one must remember how heavy the pot would be when filled with stew! Like most of these dixies, the lid and main body are mismatched. The lid is dated 1940:imageWhilst the body is 1951:imageThis is typical as multiple dixies would have been in use at any one time and troops washing them up would just have put a lid with a base, regardless of the dates on them! The lid of this dixie is a little unusual in having been painted and stencilled:imageQuite what the significance of this lettering is no longer remains clear. The food that could be cooked in these dixies was a little limited as it tended to be things cooked by boiling such as stews and curries. Having said that, in the field a hot and hearty meal would have been very welcome and the size of the dixie made it easy to feed large numbers of men quite quickly, a ladle being used to spoon the contents out into each man’s mess tin. Here men snatch a quick hot meal at Cruelly, 9th July 1944. Note the dixie sat on the stove heating the food and the lid of a second dixie being used as a serving tray:23130532_359224717863710_4751526285200614535_nI am a little wary of using this dixie to prepare food in as it looks a little manky inside. It is possible to have them re-tinned so they are again food safe, but as I am unlikely to need to use it anytime soon that is a decision for another day…

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