They are a small and silent part of our lives but they are always there – as we celebrate life’s milestones, share stories over a cuppa or use them to begin a night of feasting and merriment.
They are almost inconspicuous but such an important part of our rituals and, as we venture into having visitors once again grace our homes, is there a more pertinent and resounding question – what is your favourite cracker?
It wasn’t so long ago that the humble Jatz was the ubiquitous culinary accessory for every occasion. Platters of little cheese blocks, gherkins, pickled onions and an array of other nibblies would be served along with a carefully placed row of Jatz.
A display piece to be proud of and an irresistible precursor to the barbeque or dinner. Even celebrity chef and MasterChef winner Adam Liaw took to Instagram to sing their praises, unsponsored! https://www.instagram.com/p/B_er4WjFB1M/
But how things have changed.
Jatz was joined by its cousins Ritz and then Clix but were they ever really as good? They didn’t seem to have the crispy crunchiness of Jatz but they still sell by the truckload so they must be somebody’s favourites.
As we became more health conscious, the yearning for such classics as Vita-Weat came along, with many adding liberal doses of butter and Vegemite and squeezing two together to make ‘worms’ coming out of the tiny holes.
And, of course, there’s the Ryvita upon which you could pile delicious-looking tomato slices, lettuce leaves and, naturally, cheese (and these days avocado!). In the healthier sandwich replacement stakes though, does anything beat a Salada covered with fresh ingredients – it is the ultimate in quick-and-easy.
Uncle Toby’s Le Snak came to the party with the perfect dipping cracker and its very own built in “cheese” – soon becoming a lunch box favourite in school yards across Australia – it seems there are certain crackers for certain ways of eating – and then there’s the Shapes selection, ideal for those wanting a bit of spice.
One day, decades ago now, our televisions were saturated with ads for a brand new cracker that had its name repeated over and over again until it became lodged into your brain – and it still survives today. Do you remember the ad – Sakata – Sakata – Sakata. It was a first – an Australian made Japanese rice cracker to rival the established brands and it soon became a fave.
Do you remember the ads? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-_J9rJy48Q
Then, along with a yearning for more sophisticated platters and a need to show off how culturally aware we are, we introduced all sorts of different tasty gems to our special occasions. Abe’s Bagel Crisps (are they really crackers?), with Marlborough Sea Salt no less, entered the market and soon became a favourite.
According to Product Review.com.au, Australia’s top rating cracker is actually Kavli Crispy Thins, an all-natural blend of grains – right on trend and, apparently, right on taste.
But, as Aussies, we are proud of Arnott’s and the iconic brand hasn’t let us down. They’ve brought us Country Cheese and, when too much cheese is never enough, Cheds.
And there’s so many more!
As we traverse these stay-at-home days of self-isolation and the move into restricted visitations, we either think carefully about which cracker to include with our cheeses, prosciutto, fresh strawberries, cold meats and other assorted garnishes or we just use what we find in the cupboard. There’s sure to be a packet of Jatz in there somewhere.
What’s your favourite cracker to accompany your perfect soiree?