One co-worker has dubbed them “crack crackers.” I call them “those trashy crackers.” There is something a little shameful here, and part of it is admitting that I’m powerless over my addiction.
The crackers are made with a pouch of flavoring called “The Savory Saltine Seasoning.” Made by a company in Texas (why am I not surprised?), it comes in a half-dozen flavors. I’ve found Original, Garden Dill, Texas Chipotle and Cinnamon in local stores, but there’s also Sweet Barbecue and Low Sodium out there somewhere. It isn’t cheap, at $7.49 or so, but it makes a whopping big batch of crackers. And the darn things are tasty.
I’m trying to avoid the temptation, but they’re just so party-perfect. I want to dress them up with smoked trout spread. I want to top the cinnamon ones with a little cream cheese. You could put out a whole slew of them for an Oscar-watching party and have enough to last through the last teary speech.
My original exposure happened in a candy store in Lexington. I was doing a story on Red Bird peppermints and stopped in the local candy shop, The Candy Factory, to nose through the peppermint selection. In a room full of sugar, the small display of bright orange crackers stuck out: They were samples displayed with pouches of The Original Savory Party Cracker Seasoning. One taste of a cracker and I had to sneak back for another. And, oh, just one more. I ended up grabbing a pouch of the seasoning to take home.
Back in Charlotte, I spotted a bigger display at Blackhawk Hardware in the Park Road Shopping Center with more flavors.
The cracker dust was spreading. It was time to investigate.
Following the directions didn’t seem plausible: You put 1 2/3 cups vegetable oil and the cracker mix in a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag and squish it around. Then you empty in four sleeves – yes, a whole box – of saltine crackers. You seal the bag, aiming to keep the air in so it’s like a pillow to cushion the crackers so they don’t break. Then you shake. And shake. And shake.
You shake until all the crackers are covered with flavored oil goo. Then you put the bag down and leave it alone overnight.
No baking. No spreading on a single sheet pan. No cooling. Just oil, powder, crackers, shake. It’s sort of like those oyster crackers with Ranch dressing powder, but easier.
Surely the crackers get soggy, right? Nope: They stay crisp, and deeply flavored. The package says you can store them in the freezer. (Thankfully, because a pound of crackers is a lot of crackers, people.) Surely they get limp in the freezer? Nope. Still crisp, still deeply flavored.
Within a couple of crackers, I was hooked. I’ve been shoving them at co-workers and dipping into the box in my freezer at any excuse, trying desperately to get them out of my life. They’re shameful, they’re trashy, they’re loaded with enough sodium and chemicals to stop a nutritionist dead on sight. They’re also crunchy, tasty and impossible to resist: Sort of the “La La Land” of snack foods.