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Salted Pork, Hardtack, and Tasting History

on April 1, 2013

Last week Sarah had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by National Museum of Civil War Medicine volunteer docent Frank Parsons. While the presentation was technically geared towards the middle school group who was enjoying a field trip to the museum, the adults in the room were just as entertained (if not more so) by Frank and his facts on civil war rations and other foods soldiers could have been found eating during the civil war.

Civil War Medicine Museum Food Presentation

Frank had tangible representations of everything! Luckily he wasn’t trying to get anyone to actually taste salted pork and hardtack, just snickerdoodles and Necco candy wafers, as soldiers often purchased those from merchants who traveled behind and set up shop whenever armies would set up camp.

Before the presentation Frank was also kind enough to share some of his resources with Sarah, including a list of some current brands that were in existence before the start of the civil war. We had no idea Gorton’s Fish Products had been around since 1755 or that Keebler got a start making biscuits in 1854!

While this isn’t a regular offering at the museum, they love groups, so if you’ve got a group who’d be interested in learning more about the foods consumed during the Civil War definitely contact them. You can also check out the Civil War Beer Series the museum has partnered with Brewer’s Alley to create. The fourth release will be celebrated with a Taste of History Night at Key’s Stadium on July 3.

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