Tuesday, February 3, 2015

SAILOR BOY PILOT BREAD..the cracker that will not die.

Chances are that unless you live, or have lived, in Alaska, you have never heard of  Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. One reason is that the maker of this modern day hardtack, Interbake Foods of Richmond, Virginia , distributes 98% of all they make for sale in Alaska.
I think it would be almost impossible to find anyone who is really an Alaskan who hasn't heard of this icon of survival food. LOL.

Pilot bread is found in every corner of Alaska. From the big city of Anchorage to the smallest village, chances are likely there is a box of these in the pantry, or under the bunk in just about every household in Alaska.


To describe Pilot Bread is easy. It could be said it is likened to a "salt-less" Saltine cracker or a flat dry biscut. It is hard, crunchy and bland, but at the same time, is nowhere near tasteless.    
                                                                                 (above:Pilot Bread and smoked salmon strips)

Some claim the shelf life of these wonderful hardtack is infinite. The Mormons suggest rotating the supply in your survival stash every 20 years!!! One old timer says that if you pack them into a #10 can with o2 absorbers, or vacuum pack them, they will "outlive you" ! And I have no reason to doubt it. Of course, there would be none wiser than an old bearded, grizzled old timer who has been here what seems like, as long as the mountains themselves.



Each cracker contains 100 calories thereby adding to its title of the "ultimate survival ration". In Alaska, all aircraft, (and there are lots of aircraft here), are required to carry survival gear, including food. I woulndn't be to far off or exagerating in saying that damn near everyone of them has these Sailor Boy Pilot Bread  crackers stashed somewhere in the back.

WikiPedia, the well known online encyclopedia has an interesting entry regarding the history, etc. of hardtack. If you are interested, and unless you are one of us Alaskans, I don't know why you would, check out there description by clicking here.


The uses for these crackers are as endless as your imagination. Many a person has sat next to the oil lamp in there little cabin deep in the woods and thought of countless ways to use these round delights. Unfortunately, unless you visit our Great State, you will probably never be able to say you have ever tried one. As a matter of fact, I don't know anyone here who has never heard of these, and far fewer who have never tried them.
But, just in case you never have a chance to grace us with your presence, you only have one option for getting some for yourself. The baker does not sell them direct, but only distributes them through SpanAlaska, a Washington state based food distributor. You can visit their website by clicking here.

You may have to wait for a reply. They may be busy loading the next shipping container with thousands of boxes of  Sailor Boy Pilot Bread  destined for the far reaches of  what we refer to as "The Last Frontier".
bon apetit!





27 comments:

  1. Interesting. I'd like to try those.

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  2. I hope you don't mind be I used your picture and your beginning words at my Pinterest. i have an album for Pilot Bread and of course, I can't find anything to put there. BTW, your strips and Pilot Bread look delicious! Bless you...

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  3. Penis. Just wanted to see if this would post... There we go.

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  4. Every cabin I've been in has Pilot Bread and Ramen Noodles.

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  5. Pilot Bread and smoked salmon strips are very good, i would know because I am a true Alaskan Eskimo from the small town of Hooper Bay and we have pilot bread like everyday and we also harvest and make our own smoked salmon and salmon strips.

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    1. Hard to beat Pilot Bread spread with a bit of Jam, from the small town of Dillingham

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  6. I *LOVE* Pilot Bread but can't find it in Ellensburg! Grr!

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    1. Try WinCo foods store. They have it in bulk and can also order a case with a 5% discount.

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  7. Grew up in FBKS, and I ate these all of the time with fish!

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  8. I live in California and was able to purchase an 8 lb. case of these at Winco for only $21.60. I now have enough to probably last me until I die. Also, they are definitely Sailor Boy brand.

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    1. Which Winco store did you shop at? I'm looking for some Sailor Boy Pilot Crackers too. thanks..

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    2. I've found it in three different Winco Stores (3 for 3), in Vacaville, Pittsburg (CA), and Reno. In the bulk bins (#1754) in the same aisle as the sesame stix and similar savory snacks. Last batch I purchased, two weeks ago was $2.84/lb.

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    3. ....and if you have a numerical bent:
      approx 20 crackers/pound (1 cracker = 0.05 pound, rounded)
      = $0.0645/cracker

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    4. Correction make that $0.145/cracker

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    5. As of 8/27/16 the price at a Winco in Reno NV was $3.50/pound or $0.175/round.

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  9. I can find these easily, in New Brunswick, Canada. They're awesome! :-)

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  10. Well you don't have to go to Alaska to buy Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. The grocery store 6 blocks from me in Seattle carries it and always has as far as I know. Of course this store was owned by a Norwegian that catered to the fishing industry. When he sold out to Kroger they kept the fishing boat supply business going which included pilot bread.

    I don't know if it is available in other stores in Seattle since that is the only store I shop at for groceries but I imagine it is. There are lot of Alaska fishermen in Seattle and pilot bread is, if not a staple on fishing boats, very popular.

    Pilot bread and peanut butter.
    Pilot bread peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    Pilot bread in tomato soup
    Pilot bread with smoked salmon and cream cheese

    The list goes on. I always have at least one box at home. It never goes bad. I can't even find an expiration date on the box. They have hard tack from the Civil War that they claim is still good.

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  11. Oh, for anyone in the Seattle area wanting Sailor Boy Pilot Bread, the QFC on Holman Road has it in the cracker section, bottom self.

    9999 Holman Rd NW

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  12. Was available in Medford, OR until 2 months ago...Food4Less dropped it so many of us Hawaiians are in an uproar...need to know the closest retailer so we can do a supply run. Tip: Mash ripe avocado & mix with sugar for a scrumptious snack. Traditional use in islands is to place butter between 2 crackers, crumble them into a hot bowl of coffee for breakfast or dessert!

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  13. They're in every Haggens store (WA state)I've been in.

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  14. I learned to love them, from my Mom, toasted with butter, or with a slice of cheese. Metlakatla, Alaska

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  15. I eat it with peanut butter, cheese, jam, butter, egg salad, with stews, soups, and my favorite smoked sockeye smoked strips, even spam, lol

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  16. Mmmmm! My childhood in a box. I recall eating most everything on Pilot Bread, but my favorite was always Cheese-Whiz. Wonder if I can find it near Atlanta, GA.???

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  17. mmmmmm......halibut spread on pilot bread

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  18. Cross Sound 1967April 5, 2017 at 7:24 PM

    You haven't lived until you're in S.E. Alaska on a seiner and just finished your 17 th set of the day and you're hungry so you run into the galley, grab a Pilot Boy in one hand, peanut butter spoon in the other, smear it on deep, top with a spoon full of jam which pisses off the cook because you use the same spoon for p.b. and jam and you're back out on deck just as the skiff is roaring alongside. Three bites and that bad boy is down the hatch...Now we're living...!!!

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  19. On my commercial fishing boat we always have a big bowl of Salmon spread made up for the crew to snack on in between meals. Everyone eats it on Sailor Boy Pilot bread. Also peanut butter and jelly left over chili or spaghetti are great also. I have a hard time finding it in the lower 48.

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  20. Try putting them in a toaster then butter. DELISH !

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