November 17, 2007

Bygone Crackers

Crown Pilot

Made me buy clam chowder

Julie mentioned the embattled Crown Pilot crackers the other day on her blog. I wrote a response post about crackers, and it included an observation that “Chicken in a Biscuit.” The funny thing about that is that she later posted another entry which covered the chicken-soup-flavored crackers. So I feel my old post is now almost completely obsolete. Since I lost it to a stupid mistake, I don’t mourn it much. Here’s a new post about crackers.

I bough myself some Crown Pilot crackers after Julie mentioned them, and I was interested in the fact that there was such a strong enthusiasm for this cracker.

In my searching, a memory came back to my from my childhood. It was about “milk lunch crackers” which, it turns out have their own disappointed following, now that a popular version of this cracker is no longer produced.

If you’ve never had a milk lunch cracker, they’re a little like the cookie part of a Vienna Finger, but not quite as sweet. In the home of my childhood, milk lunch crackers and the sweeter Vienna Fingers were both dipped in coffee and eaten by adults, and sometimes given to children for a sugary, soggy, coffee-flavored bite.

But often we’d be given a slightly sweet milk lunch cracker with butter on top. The salty butter a complement to the cookie-like cracker.

I’d almost completely forgotten about that. When I was reminded of it, I was amazed that it was possible to lose it in the first place.

In the name of cracker progress, Milk Lunch is replaced by new flavors of Triscuit and Chicken in a Biscuit. And we have less to remind us.

Posted by James at November 17, 2007 9:21 PM
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I don't recall your writing about Chicken in a Biskit, but maybe I missed it (or do you mean that nasty restart wiped it out?).

I don't remember the Milk Lunch crackers, but that's no surprise. At my parents' house we had Saltines (or more often, Premium), we had oyster crackers, and we had Ritz. That was it for crackers at Casa Landry.

I didn't even have Wheat Thins or Triscuits until I was well into my 20's.

Posted by: Julie at November 17, 2007 10:54 PM

I'm simply amazed y'all have special crackers for chowdah. Down here we just use oyster crackers.

Posted by: pippa at November 18, 2007 1:16 AM

Oyster crackers are pretty good, too. In my opinion, they're the perfect starch for a meatloaf; aside from what they do for the meatloaf itself, they're fun to smash!

Posted by: Julie at November 18, 2007 2:10 AM

Pippa - I wasn't aware of these crackers until Julie mentioned them. Some people say they're like hard tack, I say they're like a hard little no-air-pocket version of an oyster cracker, except you'd use about one cracker per serving of chowder.

They're center of popularity is really north of here. But I'm happy to have them in the house. They're a decent enough tummy-settling snack.

Posted by: James at November 18, 2007 9:02 AM

Julie: yes - I lost that other post. I decided not to recreate it. It was mostly about the plight of the Crown Pilot biscuit fans, and how they won their cracker back, and the fact that Milk Lunch fans are in the same boat.

I keep meaning to see what the supermarket has for Milk Lunch crackers, but I have forgotten on the last two trips to the supermarket.

Posted by: James at November 18, 2007 9:05 AM

Dammit, they stopped making Royal Lunch?

We always had "blueberries, crackers, and milk" growing up. That was the name of the meal. I'll give you three guesses as to what it consisted of.

There was no dipping, though. You ate it like cereal. You'd break the crackers into smaller pieces in a bowl, put blueberries on top and pour milk over it. Oh yeah, then if you're me you put a few teaspoons of sugar on top. That was generally lunch at my grandmother's house every summer.

Posted by: David Grenier at November 18, 2007 10:24 AM

Even with a few years in Gloucester and now NH, I have never heard of these crackers. How odd.

Posted by: leslie at November 18, 2007 11:42 AM

I guess "popular" is relative.

There is a reason Nabisco originally decided to drop them from their product line. I guess the Crown Pilot following is very small and zealous.

Posted by: James at November 18, 2007 11:57 AM

I did read where someone said it was like hard tack, and wondered if it was true. Since I haven't tried hard tack, I wasn't sure if the comparison was valid. I definitely had the impression that hardtack was a lot more hardcore than a Crown Pilot (or a Uneeda).

Posted by: Julie at November 18, 2007 9:49 PM

Never heard of Crown Pilot, but I do remember Milk Lunch. Yummy!

Posted by: briwei at November 19, 2007 1:33 PM

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