Often, when they had the time, and also the precious few commodities on hand such as an onion, a leek or a potato, they'd shape the ingredients into a patty and fry it up in whatever fat was available to them - bacon grease, lard, or butter - none of it particularly healthy, but good enough to mask the flavor of the awful beef quality and remind them just a tad of home.
Today, in honor of those valiant souls and the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, I'll create a modern version dubbed "Salt Horse" Hash.
This is another historic recipe that gives a nod to the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg which is nearly upon us.
Years ago, I was an avid Civil War re-enactor (Along with Rev War and French and Indian War and...) and I took pride in a rather authentic portrayal of my historic persona - not because I felt I owed it to anyone to be what many considered the outer edges of the lunatic fringe - but rather, my love of history induced me to give the best representation of a soldier of that era. My enjoyment came from experiencing and becoming one with that elusive moment in time.
Instead, I became intimately familiar with the recipes of the day and how the common soldier adapted what they had at their disposal to make something with some sort of palatable nutrition. Meals like hard tack, Johnny Cakes, salt pork, coosh, sheet iron crackers and bayonet biscuits became commonplace to me. While others gulped down bowlfuls of delicious stew and store bought rotisserie chicken, I'd eat my hardtack and saltpork hope to by chance experience that moment in time.
You know, when you're not using rancid beef, it's not so bad...