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Librarians Find Time Capsule From 1962, Eat Food Inside For Some Reason

A “survival biscuit” found in food rations from a 1962 time capsule at the University of Montana (screenshot from KPAX)
A “survival biscuit” found in food rations from a 1962 time capsule at the University of Montana (screenshot from KPAX)

Regular readers of Paleofuture know I’m constantly on the hunt for interesting time capsules. But I draw the line at putting your life on the line for a good time capsule story. Especially if it involves something called a “survival biscuit.”

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Librarians at the University of Montana recently discovered a hidden closet at the school, filled with hundreds of Cold War-era boxes. The boxes all had food rations—everything from cans of blackberries and peaches to graham crackers. And for some reason they decided to give some of the foods a taste test.

The candies they found were a relatively safe bet for their stomaches, given that they were made of little more than sugar. But the other items underwent a “sniff test” as librarian Susanne Caro told local TV news station KPAX.

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“I took a taste of one [of the survival biscuits]; It’s like a stale graham cracker with a hint of vanilla in it. It could be far worse,” Caro told KPAX.

I’ll take your word for it. I guess survival biscuits are better than time capsule cake, which some folks found a couple of years ago on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. They, of course, had the common sense not to taste the cake as far as we can tell.

Illustration for article titled Librarians Find Time Capsule From 1962, Eat Food Inside For Some Reason

[KPAX]

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Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

I my own personal self have tasted a Civil Defense Survival Biscuit. It was back in the ‘50s when it was fresh, and it was still pretty bad.

Civil Defense was part of a society-wide effort to convince the Russians that we could and would retaliate if attacked with nuclear weapons. We had to make them believe that we believed we could ride out an attack and still have the means and will to shoot back; it was the only way Mutual Assured Destruction would work.

We had to create in the mind of Nikita Khrushchev the certainty that an attack on the US would result in the destruction of the USSR. Civil Defense was never intended or expected to actually work; it was a head game we played with the Rooskies.