The Superior Survival Cracker

ritz-cream_cheese_pineapple_dip_xmas_treats_1960s_copyright_m-j_de_mestertonI have published, since 2006, lists of foods to stock in case of emergencies or shortages. Usually, the crackers or biscuits called “soda crackers” or “saltines” were included. After purchasing several large boxes of Premium Saltines–“improved” with sea salt, which sounded mighty appealing, I’ve concluded that saltines ought NOT to be included! Having stored these new “family sized” cartons for two or three months at normal room-temperature, unopened, and then hauling them out to use, on two separate occasions and with two different lots and dated boxes, the traditional saltine crackers had gone “off” and tasted abominable. This lack of longevity had happened with other brands before the Premium saltines, and I didn’t expect it from that vaunted source.

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The same storage-and-use process was observed with Ritz at my American house. These simple, buttery-tasting crackers had not a tinge of staleness after many moons of being stored in a low cupboard unopened in their box. Even those that had been opened and subsequently sealed showed NO hint of old age after as many as six months. Ritz crackers have many applications, for example they’re used in Mock Apple Pie, a decades-old North American austerity dish.

I’ll never even consider buying saltines or soda crackers in future from any manufacturer. Instead, I’ll be loyal to one sort of cracker and only one U.S. brand, because all this experimentation is for the birds! Oh, those little darlings would love to have any little bits of crackly carbohydrate when they’re no longer palatable to humans, so if you live in the country, do consider smashing those slightly rancid crackers and feeding them to wild birds. Here at Elegant Survival, we are averse to wasting comestibles, and believe in conservation. I’m aware that, just as feeding animals at the zoo is prohibited for good reason, there are those who believe it’s disrupting the balance of nature to feed birds, but considering the scores of dead owls bobbing up on Northwest U.S. roads, and the scourge of dying bees that seems to come and go mysteriously, perhaps a benign treat for our wild critters–as long as they’re not destructive rodents–is a good thing.

©M-J de Mesterton 2017

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Jalapeño Hors d’Oeuvres

♥Sumptuous and Spicy Stuffed Jalapeños♥
Cream Cheese is blended with crushed almond crackers, chile powder and celery salt, then pressed into halved and seeded jalapeño peppers. Placed in a baking dish and baked in a 400F oven until lightly browned, these cocktail offerings can be served warm or room-temperature. Besides tasting great, stuffed piquant peppers prepared this way are low in carbohydrates.
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Home-Made Tortilla Chips

MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT TORTILLA CHIPS

Frying Tortilla Chips for an Elegant Home-Made Southwest Appetizer

Posted at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2009
MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT TORTILLA CHIPS

You don’t have to throw out your tortillas if they are past their prime. Make them into tortilla chips, which will be very popular with your family and guests, as they are pleasingly different from those bought in the store.Take a stack of tortillas and dust between the layers with salt, pressing it into them. Then, pushing down hard with a large knife twice at different angles, cut the stack into quarters. Lower a handful at-a-time of uncooked chips into bubbling hot oil. For this light and crispy batch, I used a combination of soy oil, which is now sold as “vegetable oil”, and lard. Peanut or corn oil are also good for deep-frying tortillas. When the chips themselves have developed bubbles and are slightly brown, it’s time to remove them from the pot with a runsible or slotted spoon. Drain them on paper towels, and dust with more salt if desired. The cooking oil may be strained, refrigerated and re-used for French fries, yams or potato chips. My recipe for Elegant Guacamole goes very well with these tortilla chips. So do sour cream or crème fraîche, and a mixture of sliced jalapeños with melted Cheddar cheese, baked on top of the chips for a few minutes in a hot oven.

©M-J de Mesterton 2009

Home-Made Tortilla Chips: an Elegant American Appetizer

M-J de Mesterton’s Elegant Guacamole Recipe is Available on ElegantCook.net

For green chile powder, which is a good substitute for chopped canned or frozen New Mexico green chiles, go North of the Border.

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