Saturday, March 16, 2013

Survival Crackers and Shelter Candy

Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum

Built in 1902, Fort Worden is one of three bases that make up the Northwest's "Triangle of Fire," an interconnected artillery system designed to repel any attempts at a sea invasion of the Puget Sound.  Although the Fort was decommissioned in 1953 without a single aggressive shot ever having been fired, today's Fort Worden State Park and museums contain countless reminders of just how tense times could get for the hundreds of men once stationed in the Fort's damp concrete bunkers. 

While sweets can often appear frivolous, a couple of displays at the Coastal Artillery Museum remind us that as sources of quick, comforting energy, sweets are ideal to have around when the s**t hits the fan.  The Museum's mock fallout shelter is stocked with 31.5-pound tins (photo above) of 756 long-lasting "Bulgur Type" survival wafers; they're made from wheat, shortening, and salt--with a generous amount of corn syrup to make them more palatable. 
The Museum also displays small cubic "Carbohydrate Supplements" (photo below):  "In addition to the three types of survival crackers there was also a Carbohydrate Supplement which became known as 'Shelter Candy' and is shown above.  This came in two flavors, Cherry and Pineapple, and was basically hard sugar. "

Other displays reveal that even everyday life at Fort Worden had its sweet side.  One case contains illustrated cookbooks designed for military mess halls; the books are opened to recipes for cinnamon rolls and "sugared snails."  A collection of souvenir menus testify to the lavish nature of the Fort's annual Christmas feast;  the dessert section of each menu features up to a dozen different cakes and pies--along with fruit and cigarettes. 

Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum 
Fort Worden Building 201
200 Battery Way
Port Townsend, WA 


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