It's Sunday. Thursday and Friday we entertained. Saturday we went to the beach. Now it's Sunday. What are we going to do? We went to the medina last Sunday. Both the boys bikes have flat tires so we can't bike ride. We've been to the pool lots. It's too rushed to travel to Tangier for the day. Then I read a blog about making crackers. Not just any crackers, pseudo Cheez-It crackers. And do you think we can get Cheez-It crackers here? Let me answer that. Hell no! So guess what we're doing?
I've never given cracker making a lot of thought. Why would I? America has almost as many crackers per capita as it does well...crackers, if you know what I mean. And doesn't cracker making sound complicated? I don't know why, maybe just because it's so mysterious. In the states you can go into any grocery store and have a plethora of tasty crackers to choose from. The cracker aisle being 2nd only to the monstrous cereal aisle. So, why would I spend my precious time making a cracker that I could simply buy? Because now I live in Morocco which has the world's crappiest cracker selection. Which is second only to Morocco's crappy cereal collection in a weird America/Morocco grocery store contrary-correlation. And I have 4 kids and a Sunday to fill people! So we're making crackers. Did you hear me?
All four of my kids love to cook which is awesome, unless you're the person who gets to cook with 8 eager helping hands. And by eager I mean they will push the other kid out of the way to get to the flour if that's what it takes. Which means there's going to be a big flour fight with kids rolling on the floor with 8 floured hand prints everywhere. I must admit, the hand prints are helpful in reconstructing the crime scene though and who actually did touch who. So I'm more than a little fearful as I announce I'm making crackers. Then squinting with reluctance when I continue on to inquire, anyone want to help?
Shockingly, River and Jade aren't interested. My kids are never not interested. And after I have a moment of guilt that maybe I've not given them enough opportunities to cook and I've ruined them forever. Thin I think, wait a minute. I only have two helpers. I ONLY HAVE TWO HELPERS! This is so exciting. Do the math, I have reduced my "helping" hands by half. Imagine the manageability of it all!
Now consider the possibilities. Now that I don't feel stressed I have enough energy to get creative. We could make two different kinds even! We could even make them more healthy by using whole wheat flour. At the mere mention of this Ember claims whole wheat. Sky wants regular. What? No fighting? That was way too easy. Now, I don't have the Pepperman All-Purpose Seasoning Blend that is listed in the ingredients. Because you can't get exotic things like that here. Can I substitute ostrich meat? (Seriously, I bought ostrich meat yesterday much to Jade's horror.) So we search through the spice cabinet for substitutes. Sky and Ember taste tested and chose the seasoning for their crackers. Ah, choice, such a luxury to a kid in a big family. I'm so excited about these crackers. I know that's totally cheesy, but then again, I'm totally cheesy.
Ember and Sky mix their batches in the food processor. Ember is making whole wheat rosemary parmesan crackers and Sky is making tomato parmesan. So guess what kind of cheese we can get here that's ridiculously expensive? Yes, parmesan. Actually all cheeses are expensive here, but other kinds you can't get consistently like cheddar. But it's worth every penny on the rare occassion when you do. And here's your weird factoid for the day, white cheese has less fat than yellow cheese. So bonus, we're making whole wheat low fat pseudo cheez-its!
After making the dough and rolling it into balls it needs to refrigerate before the rolling, cutting and baking begins. The kids are so gung ho that they are pained by waiting for hour long refrigerating process, which I later reread and discover was supposed to be a freezing process. Ooops.
Ember lost her gung ho-ness bouncing on the trampoline and the rolling was a bit too tedious for her. So Sky and I rolled, cut and baked. And you know what? Making crackers it totally easy! Why did I wait so long to make crackers? I have cracker guilt. Don't we all?
Then it was time to taste.
We did a blind taste test, cause we're cheesy like that too. Of course eveyone wants in on this part. Sky's totally taste like cheez-its. They really do! And Ember's taste like some fancy really expensive crackers you'd get at Whole Foods that you would eat with a fig chutney, if such a thing exists. Do you know how much packaging/oil/preservatives was saved by making these crackers ourselves? Ok hardly any for a mere 6 cups of crackers, but it still made me feel good.
So what did we learn here today? Don't discriminate against the crackers. I know that they seem all snobby and aloof. But no. Crackers are easy. In fact, I think they are so easy they might be the sluts of the snack world. I think we've also learned 4 hands are better than 8 unless you're a forensic scientist. And making your own crackers means you can single handedly (or octo-handedly...whatever) save the earth. Ok maybe not but you will help save some packaging, oil and a little slice of the rain forest. Like maybe a leaf. But doesn't that leaf deserve to live? And if nothing else you'll know what is in your food and you can save some money in the process.
Now I wonder if you really can make fig chutney?
For the blog that inspired this post and the recipe click here