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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