Make Your Own Ship's Biscuits for National Biscuit Day with This Recipe

They're virtually tasteless and low in nutrients, but ship's biscuits have kept countless sailors and explorers alive. To celebrate National Biscuit Day, Royal Museums Greenwich in London is offering its recipe for making your own indestructible crackers.

Mass-produced for Britain's Royal Navy beginning in the 17th century, ship's biscuits, a.k.a. hard tack, were a non-perishable, carb-rich food source. They allowed ships to sail for ever-longer distances without needing to replenish provisions. Ship's biscuits made up most of a sailor's diet, along with salted or smoked meat. (No wonder scurvy was such a problem.) By the mid-1800s, canned foods were added to ships' pantries, but the biscuits remained a staple. Antarctic explorers like Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton in the 20th century were still serving their men "hoosh"—a stew of pemmican, penguin or seal meat, and dissolved ship's biscuit.

Despite their importance to maritime exploration, the biscuits were barely palatable. They became infested with weevils and maggots. They had to be softened in tea or beer before being chewed. They were so hard that sailors could scratch love notes to sweethearts back home on them.

The Royal Museums Greenwich recipe calls for just three ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, and salt. Combine the flour and salt, and then add the water to create a very stiff dough. Roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness, cut with a biscuit cutter into circles, and stab each circle with a fork a few times to let steam escape as they bake. Thirty minutes in the oven and voilà—a slightly chewier version of the cracker that changed the world.

Get the full recipe here.

[h/t Royal Museums Greenwich]

Why You Shouldn't Buy Your Cereal at Costco

Scoring deals at Costco is an art. Smart shoppers know which price tag codes to look for and which delivery deals to take advantage of at the bulk discount store. But when it comes to navigating the food section, there are some tips even longtime members may not know about. A big one concerns brand-name breakfast cereal: When shopping for groceries at Costco, you should leave the cereal boxes out of your cart if you want to save money, according to Yahoo! Finance.

It doesn't make sense to buy perishable items in bulk, but even products with a slightly longer expiration date, like cereal, can end up costing you in the long run if you stock up on them at Costco. The cereal at Costco costs about $0.17 per ounce, which is comparable to the cereal prices you'd find at regular grocery stores on most days. But to reap the most savings possible, you need to visit the supermarket on days when certain cereal brands go on sale.

During different times of the week—usually weekends—many grocery stores will pick a popular cereal brand, like Kellogg's or General Mills, to sell at a lower price. At their cheapest, brand-name cereals can be purchased for $0.13 cents per ounce on sale days, or $1.50 for an 11-ounce box.

While you may be better off buying your boxed breakfast staples at the nearest grocery store, there are still plenty of reasons to shop at Costco. To many loyalists, their $1.50 hot dog and soda combo alone is worth a special trip. The store's addictive pizza slices (which are perfectly sauced by a pie-making robot) and dirt-cheap and delicious rotisserie chickens are yet two more reasons. Just be prepared to show your receipt when you're all done (and don't for a second believe it's because the employees think you might have pocketed something). 

[h/t Yahoo! Finance]

A Shrine to Brine: The Mysterious Case of Missouri's Highway Pickle Jar

No one knows how it started. No one knows who was responsible. Some may even have dismissed it as an aberration, a glitch in the scenery that would soon be corrected. But eventually, drivers in and around Des Peres, Missouri who took a highway off-ramp connecting I-270 North to Manchester Road began to notice that a jar of pickles was sitting on a dividing barrier on the ramp. And it wasn’t going anywhere.

Since 2012, the pickle jar has confounded drivers and internet sleuths alike, according to Atlas Obscura. Some have speculated that someone was trying to send a secret message or share a private joke. Perhaps someone pulling off to the side due to car trouble felt the need to place the brine-filled jar on the concrete wall and then forgot about it. Maybe someone thought it would be a kind of three-dimensional graffiti, incongruous amid the bustling traffic. Maybe it’s an indictment of commerce.

Whatever the case, once the pickles appeared, advocates refused to let them go. Jars that end up toppled over or otherwise damaged are replaced. Sometimes they reappear in protective plastic containers or with a holiday-themed bow. Sightings are photographed for posterity and posted on a Facebook fan page devoted to the jar, which currently has over 4200 members and has morphed from a place to theorize about the mysterious jar's origins to a place where people swap pickle-related recipes and stories.

There are dry spells—no one has posted of a pickle sighting in several months—but followers remain optimistic the jar will continue to remain a presence in Des Peres even if the motivation for placing them near the roadway remains as murky as the briny juice inside.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]