Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Magical Mysteries of HardTack

What's hardtack you may ask, though it sounds awfully like an very tough tic tac's, it's actually isn't. Hardtack is a magical food of mystery, as previous stated. Hardtack in laymen terms, is a biscuit or cracker made with simple ingredients, such as flour, water, and sometimes a little salt.

What's that? Is that loud mocking I hear? What do you mean there's nothing interesting about a good ol' biscuit? What if I told you that hardtack was made to last years, if not decades of little to no maintenance? You don't even 'have' to toss it in the fridge to keep cool, in fact; Hardtack is mainly famous for it's use during the civil war, you might even be able to go to museums and see some olden times hardtack that has yet to decay!

Despite imaginary pictures of what this magical hardtack may look like, it does not look like a soft warm buttermilk biscuit smothered in sweet butter. It's more like hard-as-rock pieces of dough. Back in the day, bakers would try to make it as hard and dry as possible; the drier it was, the longer it can last before perishing in the flames it was borne from.

Almost... Just a few more minutes in the oven.

Hardtack was stored and used during the absence of perishable food. So on long pirate journeys to discover the lost treasure of Blackbeard, they might have eaten hardtack. It was used commonly in long voyages and military missions, probably hardcore-jump-into-state-capitals-and-machete-every-man-and-women-down-missions. So you can most likely imagine some guerrilla warriors jumping into a big building full of politicians and slicing everyone's head off into a sack of heads while snacking on some hardcore hardtack.

Speaking of "hardcore". As I mentioned, hardtack is hard. Generally, people don't enjoy eating rocks, and essentially, hardtack was edible rocks. In order to soften it to a somewhat bread-like consistency, it was often dipped in coffee, cooked with some juicy meats, or dipped in various other drinkable liquids. Although, as long as it stayed dried, it could stay edible for years. In fact, to ensure sustainability of the hardtack during VERY long voyages, they baked the hardtack four times, six months ahead of sailing ashore enemy territory. These people were serious about their hardtack.

Today, hardtack is still enjoyed by few in the modern age. Alaskans are one of the last to still consume hardtack in their daily diet. The Alaskans eat hardtack like bread on a sandwich. A few companies still make hardtack under histories standards, and reenactors of the civil war and other such people still purchase this richly historic food. (Although hardtack contains little to zero vitamins or flavor.)

Don't mess with a man's hardtack.

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