For a Confederate
impression you might want to consider cornbread or hoe-cakes instead of hardtack. Biscuits and coarse unsliced bread are also
acceptable substitutes. I recommend that bread be baked at home and brought to the field.
For the meat ration,
two pounds of either pork or beef will suffice for a weekend. Carrying uncured raw meat in a haversack during hot weather
can be risky. An option is to cook the meat at home by boiling, broiling, or frying. Ham or pork loins are great. Thick sliced
bacon is a good choice. Any lean cut of beef, such as bone end round steak, will work. Cook the meat on Thursday and place
it in the freezer. When you leave for the event on Friday, wrap it in brown paper and put it in the haversack. It should be
thawed by Friday night. Once in the field, simply slice and enjoy as is or heat it up in a small frying pan.
the safest and easiest foods to carry in the haversack. Sweet potatoes and the small new potatoes can be either baked or boiled
at home and carried to the field pre-cooked. Wait until they are cool before placing them in the haversack. Once in the field
they can be eaten cold or heated by placing them in boiling water for a short while. The new potatoes make an excellent breakfast
when sliced, fried with onions, and served with bacon. Carrots can be eaten raw or boiled with the potatoes and meat to make
In the grain
category there are several choices. Cornmeal, grits, and rice take only a short time to boil in your cup over a small fire.
Dry beans and
peas are another option but take longer to prepare. These require a lengthy soaking, usually overnight, and then an hour or
more cooking time. They do produce a good meal, especially when pieces of your meat ration are cooked in with the mixture.
Supplement with a hunk of cornbread from your haversack and you've got it made.
Sweets are simple.
Plain ginger snaps are very period and available in bakery or dessert sections in the grocery. Dried fruits such as apple
and peach slices weigh little and travel in the haversack very well. Try stewing some apple slices and a sprinkle of brown
sugar in a cup till it's soft; then add some crumbled ginger snaps and simmer awhile longer. It makes a fine ginger-apple
Other food supplements
can consist of any combination of the following items: summer sausage, raw or parched peanuts, fresh or parched corn, brown
sugar, salt and pepper, tea, molasses, boiled eggs, cheese, fresh apples, apple butter, etc.
utensils are simple. You need a can with a bail wire, billy cup, or mucket for boiling and a small steel (not cast iron) frying
pan or canteen half for frying. A frying pan 6 inches in diameter easily fits in the knapsack. A larger 9 inch pan can be
shared by members of a mess section and carrying it can be rotated between the members. A small hatchet also comes in handy.
Be sure to wrap your rations in brown paper or place in canvas/cotton