By David Draper
I’ve been reading a bunch of frontier history books lately, including Hampton Sides excellent Kit Carson overview, "Blood and Thunder." I’m always interested in what kind of vittles frontiersmen and explorers subsisted on as they pushed across the West. Certainly wild game made up an important part of their diet, but hardtack and bannock were also among the rations. While hardtack, a simple cracker made from flour, salt, and water, was much reviled, bannock bread was a welcome meal, and an easy one to prepare as long as some type of leavener was available. (Traditional bannock was often made without a leavening agent, but adding baking powder, buttermilk, or a sourdough starter made for a lighter, better tasting product).