Food is mentioned many times throughout All Quiet on the Western Front. Explain several references and comment on their importance.
Food is indeed important in All Quiet on the Western Front. Kat, one of the central figures of the novel, is portrayed in almost heroic terms, not because he is a great warrior, but because he has a "sixth sense" for locating food for his hungry comrades. At various points in the book he locates geese, horsemeat, haricot beans, fresh beef and bread, and other delicacies for his friends.
In fact, the book opens with an exchange between the men and the company cook, who refuses to give the men the excess rations he has drawn for the company (he drew rations for 150 men, but 70 were killed in a recent engagement.) As Paul says, "the soldier is on friendlier terms than other men with his stomach and intestines." The men feel human when they have decent meals, and they serve as occasions for the banter and cameraderie that bind them together. Later in the book, Paul laments that the Americans and British are much better fed than they are.