September 29, 1944
Rioz, France

No. 53 (conclusion)

Dear Folksies,

            The new dietician plus the French cooks we have acquired have been putting out a damned good mess, despite no change in foodstuffs. The greatest improvement in the mess has been in the flavoring and the addition of some excellent sauces for otherwise tasteless canned foods. These little French cooks have really been making a difference in the appetites of all. The enlisted men’s mess also has a French cook.

            Tonite was an extra-special meal – had steaks, G.I. issue but French flavored and cooked with mushroom sauce, salad flavored a la France, fresh potatoes and pineapple. Just finished said meal and am glad to be able to sit and let it digest.

            A few nites ago our tent had quite a little feast by ourselves with a few others invited in. Had my little Coleman gasoline stove and Serge started to fix some French Fried potatoes from some fresh potatoes he had picked up that day. However, without that feminine touch present (Ann being on nite duty so we had to bring her the sample later), he boiled the potatoes before frying them and sooooo, we had hashed-browned potatoes with onions, fried eggs, bacon and hot chocolate.

            Tonight we again have some eggs, and with the rest of the can of bacon left over from the other night’s feast, we should be having a good belly-full. Perhaps, however, with us all rather satiated by the steaks, well, maybe we’ll be putting it off until tomorrow night. The trouble with putting anything off, however, is that one never knows when one will be weighted down with work just when one wants to do something else. Of course, if we were to depend on our own cooking for all our meals, and with only the one little stove, we would eat poorly or we would be doing nothing but preparing and eating our own meals all day long – it took us 1-1/2 hours just to prepare that above simple meal!!

            And speaking of food – tanks a million – received the deviled ham and the asparagus. And, as long as you want more requests, what with the cold weather coming on, things that we can heat up, such as the condensed soups, onion soup, pea soup, etc., etc. Don’t send the cans of soups, as the condensed type are easier to carry and they make very good soups.

            We have installed stoves in practically all the tents, surgery, receiving, shock, and wards, but as yet don’t have enough for our own tents, soooo, as you may have guessed, I’m in Receiving writing this and at the same time listening to the radio that is right in front of me – one of the few departments that has a radio in it.

         Finally wrote, a couple of days ago to Lilice, Jeanne, etc. Hope I get an answer soon and perhaps some of them might even be nearby at some time or another.

                                                                                        Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
September 30, 1944

While René tells his parents of improvements, such as better food and stoves in most of the tents, there’s still the mud to contend with in Rioz.

René tells his parents that he has written to Lilice Neuburger Baumann, who is his father’s first cousin and the mother of Yvette Baumann Bernard who, unbeknownst  to René is in Auschwitz. He also wrote to Lilice’s sister Jeanne Neuburger Salomons and other French relatives, in the hope that he will be able to get news of the family. Lilice is pictured above, Jeanne below.