What is hardtack?

Terry Weckesser
Tularosa, New Mexico

Hardtack is a hard biscuit made from flour, water and a little grease. When cooked on both sides, it looks like a soda cracker. It wasn’t that hard and didn’t taste that bad when it left the factory, but by the time it reached the West, it was mighty hard and even infected with insects.

Hardtack was a more common staple in the frontier Army. Soldiers affectionately dubbed it with endearing terms like “tooth breaker.” They could soften it up in coffee or pound it into submission with the butt of their pistol.

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