Going crackers

Back in the olden days you had your Saltines, your Ritz and your oyster crackers. If that wasn’t enough, you could put stuff on the first two, like cheese, peanut butter or little salty fish eggs.

The oyster crackers, not so much: too tiny, and the shape is not conducive to piling on. These were specifically intended for use in soup (not oysters).

You could put the other ones in soup, but first you had to crumble them up. It was the custom. I still do this today. It turns your soup into soggy crackers, somehow making it more of a meal.

Animal crackers masqueraded under false colors. They are actually cookies, which in Great Britain would be called biscuits. Confusing.

 Then along came Sociables and the dam was broken. Soon crackers proliferated; cheese crackers, vegetable crackers, chicken-flavored crackers, etc.  One of those cable shows explained how all of these snacks try to create a sudden burst of flavor that dissipates rapidly, prompting us to repeat the process over and over again.

They must be in league with the drink companies, as most of them contain salt or at least dry up your mouth, making you crave that burst of thirst-quenching liquid. Not able to leave well enough alone, we then take another bite of cracker, which begins the cycle all over again.

We seem to take a perverse pleasure in testing our limits. How many can we eat until we are so thirsty that we are about to go mad? Whereupon we reach for the soda, beer, etc., and take an enormous drink while feeling like we really accomplished something with all of that self-denial in the drink department.

This is probably where the expression “going crackers� comes from. We seem to think we are building character. What? You don’t do this?

Crackers are very versatile.  You can put stuff on them or you can put them in stuff. Dip, originally for chips, also has application for pretzels, vegetables and crackers.

Crackers are superior. They can hold more dip and are not prone to breaking, leaving you with the dilemma of not knowing if anyone is watching while you try to retrieve that broken chip with all the good stuff on it from the bowl.

Pretzels just don’t have enough surface area and vegetable sticks are, basically, for martyrs. And you don’t have to double dip crackers because you can really load them up on the first pass.

What? You don’t do this either? Really?

I have to go and find a soda machine now. Suddenly I am really thirsty.

Bill Abrams cracks himself up while pondering snack foods in Pine Plains.

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