Hardtack: Civil War Taste Treat!


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Something for the weekend.  Ah, hardtack!  A food that superb has to have a song about it, as indicated by the first of the above videos.

Hardtack, a very hard, thick cracker, was the soldier staff of life North and South during the Civil War.  Prior to the War, hardtack had long served as a food staple for explorers, hunters and anyone else who needed a food source that was light and could last forever.  Unfortunately, the hardtack often became infested with weevils.  Soldiers who didn’t want the extra protein would often put the hardtack into water and skim the weevils off the top.

The hardness of hardtack was legendary and gave rise to many soldier jokes.  This one was typical.

Private Jones:  I bit into a piece of hardtack and hit something soft.

Private Green:  A worm?

Private Jones:  No, by glory, a ten-penny nail!

Things like hardtack remind us that it is definitely more amusing to read about the Civil War than it was to actually participate in it!

I know many of our readers will be eager to prepare this taste treat, so just follow the instructions in the below video:

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  1. Don…Reminds me of my favorite horse, Seabiscuit…I found this interesting link http://kenanderson.net/hardtack/ where you can buy a case of hardtack for $70…When WWIII breaks out, might come in handy.
    By the way, Don, some of my wife’s recipes rival hardtack in hardness. I have a missing tooth to prove it.
    Thanks for another interesting bit of Americana although I understand the British sailors and many others subsisted on hard crackers during long voyages.

  2. Soldiers sometimes fried hardtack up in bacon grease Joe, which is the only way I think I would find the stuff palatable. Civil War soldiers were like all soldiers, they groused about their chow constantly, although I think they had better reason to than most.