A Taste for History: Hardtack Recipe

A staple for soldiers of the Civil War, hardtack is a hard cracker that keeps well.

| July 2018

  • Hardtack is essentially a cracker that is long-lasting and helpful in providing additional calories to soldiers.
    Photo by Unsplash/@gregjnn
  • “A Taste for War” by William C. Davis explores the history of Civil War cooking and shares recipes that nourished life during hard times.
    Cover courtesy of the University of Nebraska Press

A Taste for War (University of Nebraska Press, 2011), by William C. Davis, explores the culinary history of the United States’ most devastating war and reproduces recipes originating from that time. William C. Davis, a professor of history, is a renowned author of southern and civil war history books and the director of programs for the Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. This excerpt from A Taste for War is a recipe for hardtack.


  • 5 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt


  1. Mix 5 cups of flour to 1 cup of water containing a 1/2 tablespoon of salt.
  2. Knead into a dough, and roll out to a 3/8-inch thickness.
  3. Cut into approximately 3-inch squares, and pierce each with a fork or ice pick several times.
  4. Bake in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until slightly brown.

More from A Taste for War:

Excerpted from A Taste for War: The Culinary History of the Blue and Gray by William C. Davis by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. ©2003 by Stackpole Books; first Nebraska paperback printing: 2011.

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