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Amateur Guide to Hardtack by Glen Bankson

Hello, my name is Glen, I am a “featured ensemble” (not a horse) and before I start telling you about hardtack, here’s a joke you may have heard before: 

What’s red and bad for your teeth? A brick. 

If that wasn’t a great joke, then I don’t know what is. But as you may or may not know, a brick is quite different than hardtack, as a brick might be red and hardtack should not be red (we’ll get to that later) and is instead “a type of dense biscuit (British English) or cracker (American English) made from flour, water, and sometimes salt” and is “inexpensive and long-lasting” as well as being “used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods, commonly during long sea voyages, land migrations, and military campaigns” (taken from Wikipedia). Despite these differences, they are both bad for your teeth and could probably be used to build a wolf-proof house, which could probably cause them to be confused for each other by the casual observer and/or consumer. However, hardtack will soften when soaked in water, unlike a brick, which shouldn’t soften unless your brick is defective (in which case I advise you to contact your brick supplier for a full refund). 

But why am I telling you about hardtack in the first place? Well, hypothetically, hardtack is an ideal snack for the upcoming tech-week, as it is dense in energy and cannot be wolfed down like other snacks may be. On top of this, it is also fun to make, and I don’t have to worry about yeast when I do so, unlike bread. Yeast hates me.

Because of this, at the time of writing, I am currently developing and testing various recipes for hardtack. And in all this, a grand total of zero teeth have been lost and blood was only shed on one occasion, and it was my blood. As I found out, breaking a biscuit with poor technique can result in a trip to the nurse who will be very suspicious upon hearing that your injuries were inflicted by a biscuit. I hope that happens to none of you. This is always why you should report any red hardtack to the appropriate authorities. 

The second-best part of hardtack though, is eating it. Sure, it may take a few minutes to eat through a single piece that may or may not taste like a cheez-it without the cheez, but that’s half the fun. The second half is the feeling of crunching through something that is hard. The third half comes from the concerned and/or amused looks that you receive from your peers as you crunch on something that sounds reminiscent of rocks. However, sharing the hardtack brings the most joy of it all. 

Anyways, although it's not my final recipe (I think), here's a little treat for y'all to make some hardtack that will taste like cheeseless cheez-its in the form of a very casual recipe. My next plan is to add nutritional yeast to it. 


4 cups of flour 

2 tablespoons of sugar 

A little less than 2 cups of water (try 1.75) 

Parchment Paper or something like that. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and knead until you have a dough that is NOT sticky. If the dough is sticky, add flour until it isn't. 

Cut and roll the dough into however many pieces of hardtack you'll want (I've been doing 16), just try to make sure that they're no more than half an inch thick. 

Poke holes in each biscuit using a chopstick or fork. Supposedly this stops them from puffing, but I think it also means that there is no softness inside, just crunchiness. It also makes them look cool. 

BAKE FOR LIKE AN HOUR. Flip it over half-way (if you want). Let it cool after baking if you want the hardest tack. Or eat it immediately as soon as it's not too hot. Or you could let it cool and soak in water for a few minutes until it softens if you wish to consume it like a professional. Or just enjoy the hardest tack to satisfy that rock-eating urge, just take care to not break any teeth. 

Anyhow, I hope you all have a very good type of dense biscuit (British English) or cracker (American English) made from flour, water, and sometimes salt at some time in your life, as well as enjoy our production of Cinderella, which may be partially powered through hardtack and love (and performed on a stage at least partially made with bricks). 

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