Teeth Dullers and Worm Castles

Hardtack. For years after the Civil War, the mere mention of it would cause veteran soldiers to shake their heads with disgust. These flour and water biscuits were a half-inch thick and baked to withstand months on the march. They were so hard and tasteless that they earned nicknames such as "teeth dullers" and "sheet iron crackers."

Soldiers often soaked the hardtack in coffee or soup to soften it, but unfortunately this also had the effect of loosening worms and weevils that infested the biscuits. One soldier counted thirty-two worms in a single cracker. The hungry men, however, were surprisingly tolerant of finding creatures in their food. As another soldier described, "It was no uncommon occurrence for a man to find the surface of his pot of coffee swimming with weevils after breaking hardtack in it . . . but they were easily skimmed off and left no distinctive flavor behind."


Use one part water to six parts flour. Mix and knead. Roll dough flat and score into cracker shapes. Bake 20-25 minutes and cool off until completely dry before storing in canisters. The crackers should be hard as bricks and indestructibly unappetizing. If not consumed by hungry soldiers, the crackers might last at least until the lord returns!

Dear Sister Emma | A Principle of Duty | Sickness and Suffering | Please Write Soon
I hope some day to return | Take good care of it...

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Last updated:
October 14, 2003

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