When Columbus set sail in 1492 hoping to find a short cut to the Orient by going west his vessels were stocked with, among other things, cheese, honey, raisins, rice, garlic, beans, salt-pork, anchovies, sardines and an early version of what became known as hardtack. Without this “sea biscuit” as it was called at the time, chances are many in Columbus’ crew would have died of starvation before they stumbled ashore in what is today the Bahama’s.
In the centuries since Columbus hardtack only increased in popularity, especially among the world’s armed forces. In fact, a version of hardtack was being issued to Japanese and Korean soldiers late in the 20th century, and word has it the Russian army still includes it in some ration kits.
If you plan on heading into the wild on a hunting or hiking adventure you might want to bring some hardtack with you. If you get lost, snowed in or otherwise stranded for a prolonged period of time hardtack could be the difference between life and death. And, of course, should the apocalypse descend upon us and civil order break down, having a generous supply of hardtack and vitamins on hand could ensure your survival, while others are scouring through trash cans to find scraps. (more…)