two pretzels

Breads, Rolls and Muffins

People have been making bread for over 30,000 years. Earliest recipes were made from pounding the starch extract from plant roots to create flat breads. Loaves from grain came about about 10,000 years ago.

Hardtack, Breakfast of Champions

Hardtack is the world's first processed bread product.

History of Hardtack

The name derives from the British sailor slang word for food: "tack".

The Romans were the first people to grind seeds into flour on cone mills around 6000 BC. (Over 8,000 years ago!). The cracker-like bread was proven to be a reliable source of food which could be stored for a long time. Roman soldiers were provided hardtack as part of their daily rations. Egyptian sailors had their own version of hard tack, the dhourra cake, a flat brittle millet bread. In 10th century England, hard tack was referred to as a "biskit of muslin" mix barley, bean flour, rye.

Hardtack continues to be a staple in modern military rations worldwide and is currently a popular snack in many countries. The Alaskans indigenous people (Iñupiaq: qaqqulaq, Central Alaskan Yup'ik: sugg'aliq, Tlingit g_aatl) are among the last culture to make hardtack a significant part of a normal diet.

Names for Hard Tack

  • Hardtack
  • cabin bread,
  • pilot bread,
  • sea biscuit,
  • sea bread (as rations for sailors),
  • ship's biscuit,
  • dog biscuits,
  • molar breakers,
  • sheet iron,
  • tooth dullers,
  • worm castles.
  • ANZAC wafers (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp)

Virtually every cracker, dry biscuit or cookie in any store today owes its roots to hardtack

Recipe for Basic Hardtack

  • 3 cups of white flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Non stick Cookie Sheet
  • Medium Size Mixing Bowl
  • One knife or cookie cutters
  • A common nail or ice pick

Preheat oven to 250° Combine flour and salt in the bowl. Slowly add water and mix the dough by hand till is comes together.

Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use the nail or ice pick to poke holes in the dough to prevent puffing and uneven baking.

Cut into shapes about 1 1/2 to 2 inches and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 2 hours. Turn the biscuits over and bake an additional 2 hours. Total baking time is 4 hours.

Cool and allow to air dry. Seal in air tight containers. Properly stored, hard tack can last several years.

Shopping List for a Well Stocked Pantry

An organized kitchen is key to saving money on groceries. The less organized the kitchen, the more time is wasted looking for ingredients, finding substitutes, running to the neighbor's house to borrow or driving to the store to potentially pay more for the item in the long run.

Keep this list handy. When you get low or run out of something, cross it off the list or otherwise make a mark so you can plan for the next shopping trip, check sales and make plans on which stores to visit to save the most money. Keep these items on hand and you will always be ready for spur of the moment meals. Adjust can and bottles sizes and amounts according to your preferences.

Stock up on sale items! Realistially a 3 month supply of the basics is a good money saving goal. Most properly stored items can last for years regardless of sell by date. Items to buy in bulk for a more than 3 months supply include paper and chemical products such as toilet paper, paper towels, shampoos and soaps. You don't have to stock up for doom's day to save a few bucks but a supply to three weeks or longer will hold you over in emergencies.

Grocery Staples to Keep on Hand

  • Pastas:
    • fettuccine
    • macaroni
    • twists
    • bow ties
  • 1 package long grain rice (2 pounds)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can chicken
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tuna
  • 1 can pitted, black olives
  • 2 cans sliced mushrooms
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can (or carton) chicken broth
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of celery soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of dried, unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cans (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 cans (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 (24 ounce) bottle red wine vinegar
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle salsa
  • 1 (3 ounce) bottle seasoned salt
  • 1 (1.62 ounce) bottle seasoned pepper
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) bottle garlic salt
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 2 (1.25 ounce) package spaghetti seasoning
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 jar fettuccine sauce
  • Saltine crackers


  • 1 (10 ounces) package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 (10 ounces) package chopped spinach
  • 1 (10 ounces) package frozen broccoli
  • 1 (6 ounces) package frozen snow peas
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 pound grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 pound Parmesan cheese (block form, not grated)
  • 1 dozen flour tortillas
  • Frozen orange juice concentrate
  • Frozen cooked shrimp
  • Frozen chopped bell peppers, package of assorted colors


  • 1 can miniature corn
  • 1 jar Dijon mustard
  • 1 jar Capers
  • 1 jar pimiento
  • Nuts:
    • chopped walnuts
    • chopped or sliced almonds
    • chopped pecans
    • shelled peanuts
  • Wood skewers
  • Soy sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Minced garlic
  • Grape jelly (easily makes into a good substitute for sweet/sour sauce)