Quarantine food fun: 'I made all the serving suggestions on the Ritz box'

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/20/quarantine-food-fun-i-made.html


Uncomfortable flashbacks of backpacking through the rainforests of Southeast Alaska and making similar items, but with pilot bread. Although in the end it was just usually peanut butter on them, sometimes we’d add tears of frustration for a little saltiness.


Our parents were more Triscuit, Saltines, Wheat Thins, or even Chicken in a Biskit people. For some reason they never bought Ritz, but our family friends did.
When their mom would watch us boys some days over at their house, we would put a layer of Ritz into our ham and cheese sandwiches. I can’t remember how we came up with the idea, but it was tasty.


MOCK APPLE PIE (No Apples Needed)

  • Pastry to two crust 9-inch pie
  • 36 RITZ Crackers
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • Butter or margarine
  • Cinnamon

Roll out bottom crust of pastry and fit into 9-inch pie plate. Break RITZ Crackers coarsely into pastry-lined plate. Combine water, sugar and cream of tartar in saucepan, boil gently for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and rind. Cool. Pour this syrup over Crackers, dot generously with butter or margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover with top crust. Trim and flute edges together. Cut slits in top crust to let steam escape. Bake in a hot oven (425 F) 30 to 35 minutes, until crust is crisp and golden. Serve warm. Cut into 6 to 8 slices.
– Found lurking on a Ritz Crackers box


Yes this! I remember this.

As a kid I was all “whoa! an apple pie… WITHOUT APPLES! HOLY SHIT!”

As an adult reminiscing on that, I just have to ask … WHY? Were apple allergies a thing? Were apples so much more expensive? Were there people at Nabisco who simply HATED apples?

I never actually got to try mock apple pie, and I kinda don’t wanna. So…



This kind of recipe is straight up 1940s/1950s cooking, stuff my grandmother would make, that was shaped in part by the dearth caused by the great depression… I have not gotten a copy of this, but I heard about it when it came out, and it discusses this very thing:

It was a way of having the taste of things you couldn’t really get. This sort of cooking hung around well into the late 70s/early80s, when I was a kid, especially in working class families or families with two working parents…

Which makes me wonder what some of the long term impacts will be on our eating habits of the pandemic? :thinking:


I saved it from a fortune cookie file. Either Coherent or Slackware 1.2, so it probably goes back quite far into UNIX history.

I think it was a good way to make people use up a box of Ritz crackers just to try it.


We were definitely a “eggs or waffles for dinner”, casserole, or chicken-fried steak family. Chicken-fried steak was the way you dressed up poor cuts of skirt steak in the south. That’s what white sauce was for.


favorite from my childhood - pile of cottage cheese small enough to stay on the cracker, then a lttle dollop of jam/jelly/what have you on top large enough to feel just a little guilty. (I prefer danish orchards seedless strawberry)

Perhaps distantly related to the family tradition of fresh buttered biscuits with sugary strawberries all on top. (the strawberries were sliced and frozen in season and some are pulled out for breakfast almost every time relatives stay the night)


I recently got a Kindle version of M.F.K Fisher’s “How to Cook a Wolf” (1942), as it was mentioned recently in The New Yorker. The strange name doesn’t have anything to do with eating canines, but is a combination memoir/cookbook about cooking during WWII rationing and how to make do without all the ingredients you wish you had but didn’t.

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As a non-American I’ve always wondered what “chicken fried” actually meant. Help?

You dip the skirt steak in breading and flour the way you would chicken before frying it in the pan. The remaining breading is used as the starter for the white sauce, or what many southerners call it, white gravy (as compared to brown gravy – which is usually served with a poultry meal like roast turkey but sometimes with pot roast).


Back when I was a kid, flank steak was one of the cheapest cuts you could get, because it was one of the leanest. Now it’s one of the more expensive cuts, for the same reason.


Now I’m starting to think of a Ritz cracker breading alternative, like a weird sort of Panko.


Yep. We just made a recipe last night that’s a casserole involving Ritz crackers as a stretcher for yellow squash as well as a crust on the top. Ours had sour cream and cheese, but wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a version that’s cream of mushroom soup or similar.


What’s really wild is making “Apple Pie” with Zucchini!

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