Russian American Canned Stew

American Russian Stew 5

During World War II USA helped the armies of the allies a great deal, in every possible way, including sending machinery and weapons according the so called “lend lease” agreement.

We have today one of the most exotic parts of this cooperation, that was very appreciated by Russian soldiers and was famous long after the war was over.

This exotic American give away was a production of a special canned pork stew designated to Russian troops and prepared according to the Russian traditional recipe. Russian soldiers are not used to those capitalistic foods you might supply us, bring us “The Tushonka”, this might was in minds of Russian generals who asked American government to send this special food to the front lines.

American Russian Stew 6

«Cincinnati, Ohio. Preparing canned pork (Russian: “svinaia tushonka”) for lend-lease shipment to the USSR»

American Russian Stew 7

This shot shows the actual tin packaging and its contents, as much as was in one can. It had big dose of fine pork stew packed in some good amount of pork fat. This was done as an extra measure for conservation, as if the tin gets some air leaks the fat around the food itself still protects it from contacting with the air and getting spoiled. It was an old way to preserve stuff way before tin cans were used – covering the food with fat and then store it. This way only the outer layer of the fat should be removed and then you can eat the rest.

Then they had also a laurel leaf and some pepper, and that’s it. The most tasty Soviet meal from WW2 times. Or was it an American meal?

Even the can itself was bilingual. It had a big Russian title saying what it was but everything else was in English.

American Russian Stew 8

American Russian Stew 10

American Russian Stew 12

American Russian Stew 14

They still have the examples of the tins preserved in museums. There is a story that one man has brought a piece of tin can of “tushonka” to Soviet army general some forty years after the war was over. He had found it untouched and then the special military commission opened it and after some tests they declared that it was “a nice meat you can eat today, too”. Were the tests when someone actually tasted it?

American Russian Stew 1

Nowadays, this is still a very popular meal in Russia. Different varieties are available from tens of different brands. One is missing – the original American Russian Tushonka from Cincinnati.

26 thoughts on “Russian American Canned Stew”

    • This is fine U.S. propaganda !

      American soldiers ate spam so the capitalists could have the fine meats to lure the Soviets. This is a disappointing moment, comrades.

  1. Old Civil War [USA) bottled food from 1860 was opened a few years ago and was still fresh. It was fed to some dogs. I guess they liked it. – – Occasionally I like some canned corned beef from Argentina.

    • Wrong. The last, modern picture is actually the one with the spelling mistake. Which is incredibly shameful for modern Russian grammar.

  2. Reading the can labels on the first picture suggests that the smaller spoon contains onion paste as the final ingredient.

    “Tushonka” looks much tastier than bully beef!

  3. That’s interesting, because Cincinnati was a major pork-processing city in the U.S. It was also a city with a strong German influence. A lot of German immigrants to the U.S. in the mid-19th century came first to Cincinnati. (As did some of my own ancestors.) Germans and pork and Cincinnati all go together — and helped send pork to Russia, which was fighting the Germans.

  4. My grandfather is a WWII veteran, he was an infantryman (pechotinetz) in RA.

    I let him see these pics, and he said he remebers those. He said he saw NKVD officers eating them once or twice. As for himself, he said his unit used to eat boiled rye grain for weeks, if not longer (this was in 1943, before he was wounded)

  5. In days past perhaps…. maybe.. Cincinnati was a big pork producer. As for today, Washington DC produces more pork than the entire planet Earth. So it only serves (nyuk!) to reason that the excess pork can be exported.

  6. I recently bought some U.S. army rations from 1960 – 50 years old, opened them up and ate them. White bread and peanut butter, while a bit tinny, it tasted ok.

  7. Well We did our Best, may not have been perfect, nothing is. And not only the food, but trucks jeeps airplanes and a whole bunch of other stuff besides. All the while keeping the U-Boats at bay, people tend to forget that there is a whole lot of water between New York and Murmansk, had to build the ships to send it all, and then there was the Pacific. Now the Troops get MRE’s they are pretty good. As for America Saving Russia from the NAZIS, you saved yourselves in spite of the poor political leadership of the day. All we did was help out as much as we could, as I said we had a lot of problems to over come, just to get to that second front.

  8. It was the “lend-lease” act. The US gave the Soviets equipment and food and gear, and either a fee was paid for its use or it was considered a loan. There were provisions for the sale of some equipment at the end of the war, but mostly the goods which were leased or loaned were required to be given back.

    But for a lot of it, the cost of transporting it back at the time was more than the goods were worth, so the US supervised the destruction of much of it, some of it was given away, and the rest was left for local authorities to destroy.

    Those meals were custom made for the Russian soldiers, but US and other Allied troops didn’t get anything better. By all accounts, the stuff was terrible even when it was “fresh”, but it did fill the stomach. Vitamins were given less consideration than raw calories, but a lot of the research that went into making these meals is what gives us our daily requirements and food labels, improved dry storage of goods, and a much better product in the can.

    These cans were part of a kit that had things like a razor blade (to shave) sometimes, or cigarettes and matches, a water tablet (to purify water sourced in the field), a chocolate bar or fig cookies, and other little bits.


Leave a Comment