Today I entertained a group of Civil War re-enactors. They spent the day with my eighth graders and showed them the life of a Union soldier.
One station was Camp Life. Of course soldier's rations were a topic of conversation. Hard tack along with split peas, coffee beans, Navy beans, and rice showed the rudimentary and tough life these soldiers lived.
On a sort of dare, I was given a "new" piece of hard tack. And hard it was. I used my molars and still had to take a few chomps before a corner broke off. It was gross. How to describe the taste....a mix of flour, salt, dirt and a hint of the sweaty pouch the re-enactor pulled it from. I chewed and swallowed as I wanted to save face with my students. However, I do not have a poker face, and the kids knew full well how bad it was.
I have a new respect for Civil War soldiers. How did their bodies survive in such a lack of nutrients? With salt pork, which is basically very salty rotten meat, rice and beans boiled in water infected with horse manure and virtually no fruits and vegetables? Imagine how much harder they could have fought with the right types of foods giving them energy.
What was the worst-tasting or poorest nutrient food ration you ever had in the military?