Friday, June 23, 2006

A Favorite No-Cooking Geek Cuisine Recipe

Ritz CrackersThe RITZ cracker has been a popular snack for geek and non-geek alike almost since its inception in 1933. Some claim that RITZ crackers became the world's largest selling cracker within just three years of its introduction! In fact, these crackers were so popular that soon after their release in Europe, young men often gave RITZ crackers instead of chocolates as a present to their girlfriends.

Anyone who has sat down with a box of these crackers has no doubt looked at the recipes printed on the side of the box. One of the most curious of these recipes is the one for Mock Apple Pie. Apparently apples had become quite expensive in the 1930's, so Nabisco offered a RITZ recipe that enabled mothers to give their children a tasty imitation of apple pie.

According to the website, "Who Cooked That Up?", a recipe very much like the RITZ one had been invented around 1852 by a group of American pioneer women:

...In Helen Evans Brown's West Coast Cookbook, she quotes Mrs. B. C. Whiting's How We Cook In Los Angeles (1894), "The deception was most complete and readily accepted. Apples at this early date were a dollar a pound, and we young people all craved a piece of Mother's apple pie to appease our homesick feelings." The recipe was referred to as "California Pioneer Apple Pie, 1852", and the crackers used at that time were "soda crackers" which were mixed with brown sugar, water and citrus acid and cinnamon...

In the age of Web, where mockery is king, a new mock recipe has emerged. Using RITZ crackers, peppermint and dipping chocolate one can create a decent imitation of the Thin Mint Cookie sold by the Girl Scouts.

Here at Geek Cuisine I have a come up with my own faux recipe for Fig Newtons.

In one of Geek Cuisine's more successful food mash-ups, I took a soft, dried and slightly gooey Calimyrna fig and squeezed it between two Ritz crackers. I call it the Ritzy Fig. For those who think this combo is not gauche enough for its ritzy label, try adding a small dab of goat cheese to the cracker before smooshing it all together. Then lightly warm or toast the ensemble.

For those of you who prefer something a little more nutritionally correct, I suggest replacing the Ritz crackers with the Trader Joe's Multigrain Cracker. TJ's MG Cracker has more fiber and no trans fat ingredients. Let me know what you think.

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