Cracker packs are my favorite road food. But “What’s a cracker pack?” you say. Those convenient and cheap little packs of 6 crackers and cheese or peanut butter sandwiches. I often find the shining plastic wrappers across from the check-out line. A cracker pack along with a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, and the best beef jerky I could find, made entire meals for me. This wildly diverse and nutritious diet cost me very little and could be found anywhere along the road. Don’t get me wrong, my car, The Purple People Eater and I found great road food in our days but you just can’t beat the cracker pack.
To Honor the Purple People Eater, I have decided to make ‘our’ favorite road food. Homemade crackers with tomato bacon filling.
The PPE was my ‘first car’. Well 2nd if you count the year I shared a car with my sister, but we (PPE & ME) do not. I have been driving the Purple People Eater since high school and together we have traveled over 250,000 miles.
I remember that the color of this car was a concern for my father. It is not subtle. During the day it was a fierce pinky-purple, at night the color was darker and moodier purple. Now it is all road dust purple.
In college the PPE carried me back and forth from Tallahassee to Tampa to Gainesville and adventures along the way.
At the end of college and into my professional career the Purple People Eater carried me to all corners of the South. I listened to books on tape driving hours across I-10 west to the back woods of Mississippi. I rocked out with the radio blaring and windows wide driving south to Key West and fell in love with NPR again while driving into the small towns in the mountains.
As life changed around the PPE, she carried humongous dogs to the beach, happily accepted the smell of rank field clothes, and suffered the driving styles of my newly acquired husband. The Purple People Eater and I are like Thelma and Louise, turning heads along the way.
After relocating to Vermont and making the drive from Florida to Vermont (twice) and then some, The PPE began to complain a bit. Deservedly so. After weathering the coldest winter that either of us has either seen, The PPE creaks and moans around turns and over bumps. She no longer likes to climb a hill just for the adventure of it. In the sunset of her life she has shifted to lower gears and can just no longer keep up.
These tasty little morsels should be eaten in the car with the windows down. It is also important here that you drop crumbs down your front and into the hole in the front seat cushion.
The crackers are easy, but can be time-consuming because of the rolling and cutting. The rolling process can be simplified with a pasta maker and slicing can save time, too. This recipe is enough to make a batch in a small food processor, double it if you so desire. Store the baked crackers airtight and they keep for a week. Stuff crackers with peanut butter or cheesy tomato bacon filling before serving. The cracker of the finished product will become softer the longer it sits.
- 1c ap flour
- 1.5T b.soda
- 1.5ts sugar
- 1/4ts salt
- 1/4ts dry mustard
- 1/4t onion powder
- pinch paprika (optional)
- 3Tb cold butter
- 2Tb veg oil
- 1/4c water
Pulse together the dry ingredients. Add in the butter but pulsing into large crumbs. Pulse in the oil and then the water adding enough until a dough ball begins to form.
Chill dough briefly to make rolling easier.
Roll dough out SUPER thin. Crackers are yummy at varying thicknesses, but if they end up too thick these can be more like shortbread. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters or slice into bars.
Poke lots of holes in any pattern you so desire. ‘Lots of holes’ is a very important part, it keeps them from puffing up too much.
Bake on parchment at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
While crackers are still warm brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.