Two Letters Re: Survival Biscuits

Mr. Rawles:
Regarding SF in Hawaii’s letter about hardtack biscuits posted on January 21st, I have made more than a few of these recently, both for survival purposes, as well as just for getting used to them. If you make them to specification they come out hard, like thick crackers. Be sure to cut them to size before you put them in the oven, as even after the 1-hour of cooking they will be too hard to cut effectively.
The best way I’ve found to eat them is take a bullion cube, dissolve it in water. Next add the hard tack, then a chunk of salt beef/jerky(or similar) that has been cut up. Throw in about half a sauteed onion and you’ve got some good eating stew. (A friend of mine also added canned peas and corn)
You can also use Spam instead of salt beef/jerky.
If your hard tack needs are more immediate, cook it at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. It will come out with a thick bread which if you add a little bit of baking soda instead of salt will taste more like a thick sourdough.
It’s quite good and I often use it to make sandwiches when going for a hike. For a treat, you can also butter it right out of the oven.


Has anyone ever looked at Scottish shortbread for survival food? Basically butter, flour, salt, and sugar. Tastes good and high in fat. I had some in a plastic Baggie for well over a month. Looked at it and ate it. No problem. – EhB

JWR Replies: Shortbread could be an option, but I’d worry about the storage life of shortbread–particularly in warm weather–given its high butter content. (The butterfat could go rancid.) In contrast, hard tack has long been proven to store very well.