In World War I, the Anzac soldiers sometimes enjoyed fine dining.
The incongruous contrast of life in the trenches with soldiers dining at fine restaurants sounds hard to believe at first.
But Avondale University College Professor of History Daniel Reynaud uncovered this startling information in his research.
Along with his wife, teacher and chef Emanuela, the pair published a research paper, titled A broader palate? The new and exotic food experiences of the Australian Imperial Force 1914-1918.
"The contrast was quite dramatic," Professor Reynaud said.
"In the trenches, life was often - but not always - miserable. They were shelled from time to time, and food had to be brought up from behind the lines. So in winter, especially, it was usually cold and occasionally frozen."
Soldiers would improvise meals from tins over small fires. Out of the line of fire, soldiers could live "a semi-normal existence".
"On leave, they would try to compensate for their bad experiences. So they travelled a lot, and took in all the tourist pleasures they could, which sometimes included fine dining," he said.
Food was an escape from war's horror.
"Soldiers in all wars tend to focus on the basics: food, drink, shelter, sex, survival. Soldiers pay an inordinate amount of attention to food," he said.
Contrary to popular belief, soldiers spent "proportionally little time in the trenches, and very little of that time actually fighting".
"All Anzacs spent significant periods of time out of the trenches, in training camps, on the move behind the lines, resting, at hospitals and on leave."
Many sought to eat as much as possible of the British-style food from home. Small French cafes [known as estaminets] catered for British palates by "serving ubiquitous meals of eggs and chips".
"However, if soldiers wanted to try other cuisines, there were plenty of restaurants and cafes in France, Britain and Egypt they could patronise. It was up to the individual soldier's tastes and budget."
Australian soldiers earned six shillings a day, while the British received only one shilling a day.
This enabled them to have more foreign experiences.
Dining out became a common practice. The company of others - including young women and friends - was "as important as the food itself".
"Some Australians dined in very exclusive establishments, adding the novelties of glamorous fashion from upper-class dining companions to that of exotic dishes," the research paper said.
"Cramming a roll-call of the most prestigious restaurants in Paris into a five-day visit, a young lieutenant thought the quality of the food worth the expense.
"A corporal in Paris dined in an exclusive Italian cafe, a bold risk taken by a number of low-ranking Australians less intimidated by social class than their English cousins."
The corporal savoured the "excellent" food alongside French officers and "grandly dressed women", who expressed friendly surprise at seeing an ordinary soldier in a place patronised by the wealthy.
"There is a sense of delight, not just of the soldier in the lap of luxury after the hardships of the trenches, but also of the colonial revelling in elite tourist experiences," the paper said.
The Anzacs sampled a range of new foods, but also familiar ingredients prepared in new ways, "giving birth to flavours and food experiences that terrified some and tantalised others".
Soldiers wrote about "melt-in-the-mouth" fresh dates in the Sinai and Palestine, frog legs in France and flaming brandy pudding in England. Few found snails appetising.
Cooking in the army bases varied from "moderately good to surprisingly poor".
"Army cooks were notoriously drawn from the least capable men. Sergeants wouldn't send their best performers to the cookhouse," Professor Reynaud said.
Poor soldiers were often poor cooks.
"The army did open cookery schools eventually, but they were basic in the extreme and mostly focused on economy not palatability.
"They also taught them to boil all vegetables for up to two hours. You can imagine how much flavour and texture was left."
Camp meals were mainly boring and repetitive.
"Some soldiers appreciated this kind of food, others found it hard to tolerate."
The food was usually worse on the front line.
"Mobile cookers supplied meals which were carried to the front line in large dixies [large iron cooking pots]. Meals were often greasy stews and could be cold by the time they arrived," he said.
"Soldiers often cooked for themselves in the trenches, opening tins of bully beef or a meat and veg stew, occasionally getting fancy by frying things in fat or melted cheese."
Since most Australians were raised on food similar to what the army served, they were mostly used to it.
"The difference was the army offered even less variety than home, both ingredients and cooking methods. Most things were simply boiled," he said.
"The army diet was too heavy in protein, minerals, fats and salts, and quite deficient in vitamins.
"Civilian food, served by French hosts with whom they were billeted - or bought in estaminets, cafes and restaurants - prevented the worst symptoms of malnutrition, which did appear at Gallipoli and at times in the Palestine campaign."
The professor added that there's an old army joke that "the more powerful the army, the worse the food".