So many people around the globe live in war-torn societies and on a daily basis have to cope with bombings and loss and fear. But if you have never encountered war face-to-face it’s not an easy idea to get your head around.
The sheer awful terror of war was driven home to me on a school trip with my daughter when she was about 11. It was at this time of year, coming up to Anzac Day, that we handful of parents hopped on the bus with a class of chattering girls and headed to the Auckland War Memorial Museum to see the exhibition on WWI and Gallipoli.
Only then, looking at wall upon wall of lives lost, re-enactments of life in the trenches, and endless letters from soldiers home to their families, did the terrifying reality of this particular war hit me.
The trip back home was a silent one as we all reflected on the horror and the huge cost of lives, both to New Zealand and Australia in WWI and at Gallipoli.
For those left behind at home while sons and husbands went off to fight, there must have been a huge sense of wanting to do something, anything, to help. And so, as is often the case in a crisis, people headed to the kitchen and cooked. Their efforts 100 years ago created a sweet treat we still enjoy in New Zealand and Australia today – the Anzac biscuit.
These sturdy and economical biscuits did not require eggs (always scarce during war time) and travelled well when packed into tins and dispatched to loved ones on the front.
If you didn’t know their legacy, Anzac biscuits would be just another easy, popular and delicious oaty biscuit. But the mere fact that they are called Anzac biscuits means we won’t ever forget this terrible war and the sacrifices others made (and still make) in the fight for freedom and democracy. And also the very simple fact that home baking is and always has been such a simple way to say 'I care'.