Looking for hardtack sources

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kman
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Looking for hardtack sources

Post by kman » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:18 pm

Technically, "hardtack" used to be an MRE so I'm posting it in the MRE forum... :-)

I was just contacted by a researcher for a TV show who was impressed with steve1989's YouTube hardtack video and they're looking for sources for where they might find some of this stuff from 1863 (or thereabouts). Does anyone have any ideas/sources for Civil War-era hardtack?

For reference, I did check out this old forums thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1490&p=12027&hilit=hardtack#p12027

rabidwolf
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Re: Looking for hardtack sources

Post by rabidwolf » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:28 pm

I know of a source for hardtack and similar items. You can order online as well. The name of the company is G.H. Bent Co. Actually have a couple of boxes of their hardtack.

Quoting from the side of the box:

"We here at Bent & Co., makers of the original hardtack of the civil war, would very much like for you to try our hardtack. Just as your bullets are blanks so as to cause less pain in re-enacting the battles and skirmishes, so your Bent hardtack is packaged fresh in resealable plastic so as to cause you less pain when re-enacting the supper. Because of the freshness of the cracker it can be eaten as is or prepared in any number of ways according to your taste and ingenuity. We hear of a dish called "skillygalee" in which the cracker is soaked in water and fried brown in pork fat, salting to taste. Though Julia Child may not serve this dish, neither would she go through the considerable trouble of dressing up in 1860's clothing and fight in the hot sun for a hill top. The finer things in life must be gotten at some risk."

Quoting from another side of the box:

"If you hold the spirit of authenticity dear, no other cracker will do. You have gone to considerable trouble to outfit yourself with all the proper attire and equipment, why not complete the outfit with the original hardtack?
It is the dying wail of starving, Hard crackers, hard cracker, come again once more, You were old and very wormy, but we pass your failing o'er, O hard crackers, come again once more.
The Bent hardtack cracker is still baked today by the Bent Company in Milton, MA. Bent Company was an original purveyor of hardtack to the Union Army."


Their website is www.hardtackcracker.com http://www.hardtackcracker.com/

Phone# 617-698-5945


Hope this helps out kman.

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Hardtack
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Re: Looking for hardtack sources

Post by Hardtack » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:01 am

It seems like Bents is the only bakery producing hardtack. I think that most civil war re-enactors or other living history types make their own. Jas Townsend and Son is also another good source for period info and food.
Search youtube for: Ship's Bisket - Hard Tack: 18th Century Breads, Part 1. S2E12

Polar explorers like Shackleton and Amundsen had specific recipes for hardtack that they referred to as sledging biscuit. Sometimes they added oat flour or pea flour. Google sledging biscuits for some recipes.

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Re: Looking for hardtack sources

Post by rabidwolf » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:54 pm

Hardtack wrote:It seems like Bents is the only bakery producing hardtack. I think that most civil war re-enactors or other living history types make their own. Jas Townsend and Son is also another good source for period info and food.
Search youtube for: Ship's Bisket - Hard Tack: 18th Century Breads, Part 1. S2E12

Polar explorers like Shackleton and Amundsen had specific recipes for hardtack that they referred to as sledging biscuit. Sometimes they added oat flour or pea flour. Google sledging biscuits for some recipes.

You are right about re-enactors making their own hardtack. It doesn't seem to cost a lot, or a lot of effort to make. I bought this hardtack because, heck, I didn't know anyone still commercially made it.
So it was kind of a novelty item to me. If you want to try some, I could send you a couple of pieces.

James Townsend and Son are very interesting. Their YouTube videos are pretty cool. The online store is nice, but seems a little high priced to me.

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Re: Looking for hardtack sources

Post by ancienttyrael » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:14 pm

I have made hardtack before as a school project in middle school. Extremely easy to make but it definitely takes time since you gotta cook out all the moisture without burning the cracker. Best to do it over the weekend.

Your crackers should be uniform in size either in squares or circles with the normal holes to let moisture out.

Unless of course your friend is looking for that ancient piece of hardtack to knaw on instead of something made recently.

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Re: Looking for hardtack sources

Post by kman » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:24 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! I think the person who emailed me was looking for the actual 1863-ish products but I'm also pointing them to the places you mentioned where they can buy new product and/or make their own.

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Re: Looking for hardtack sources

Post by rabidwolf » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:04 pm

kman wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! I think the person who emailed me was looking for the actual 1863-ish products but I'm also pointing them to the places you mentioned where they can buy new product and/or make their own.
Glad to be of help kman. I don't have any idea where someone would get actual 1860's hardtack. Maybe steve1989 could help there.

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