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NCrackerAA: Finals
December 9, 2013

Triscuits (original)
Wheat Thins (original)
Cheez-Its (original)

Almost more notable for what isn't here -- Ritz; Saltines; any functionary of the Carr's empire -- than what is, the NCrackerAA final poses the question we so often face in the TN/Grub Report food brackets: do you vote on preference, or on general use? In the case of a cracker, do you favor it for its usefulness as a conveyor of cheese, charcuterie, etc.? Or must it hold its own as a discrete snack?

The original Triscuit is, in my opinion, the only cracker left that qualifies as both a cheese vehicle and a solo nibble, despite the valiant attempts of Wheat Thins' marketing over the years to convince me that cutting Muenster and pepperphony into minuscule star shapes is a good use of my nanoscopic free time -- with a single olive slice on the top, fuck's sake; we have jobs, you know! Yeah, you can futz a little floret of Easy Cheeze on a Cheez-It, and I have, but it's not the recommended usage.

Alas, of the three finalists, the Triscuit is my least favorite. I don't hate it, but as far as application of cheese, it's a little too big whole and a little too slender broken in half, and a little too shreddy overall. The Cheez-It is only technically a cracker -- good luck making an hors d'oeuvre out of a single It -- and doesn't have the childhood sentimental pull, for me, of a Wheat Thin…which you can also use as a chip substitute (and they hold up fabulously to a heavy seven-layer dip on game day).

A win for any of these wouldn't anger me, and I predict a win for the Triscuit, for the reasons I've discussed. But I'm voting Thins. -- Sarah D. Bunting


Triscuits are easily my favorite. They're my standard. My comfort. My companion in midnight snackery.

That said, I'm having a really hard time letting Ritz go. I can't believe they didn't make it to the finals. The only reason why I -- an avowed Ritz-lover -- don't stock them the way I stock Tricuits is because I know I can't control myself around them. As far as I'm concerned, you open a sleeve, you finish a sleeve, so what gives, people? Was it the mock apple pie recipe? I'll bet it was the mock apple pie recipe. You know, I really can't blame you for that. As much as I love Ritz, I never did get over that particular weirdness. At first I thought the "mock" of that recipe was Ritz standing in for the crust -- which, by the way, was weird enough, since Ritz have that fine sprinkling of salt that in a pre salted-caramel-on-everything world would have been very weird when mixed in with a dessert -- but then I learned that THERE WERE NO APPLES EITHER! That just blew my mind, and I really don't blame everyone who voted in the NCrackerAA for holding a grudge. The apple lobby has deep pockets.

I think I'm sort of bored by the actual finalists, to tell you the truth. I'll be voting Triscuits to be sure, but I'm not all that excited by it. I was kind of hoping there'd be some dark horse of an Ak-Mak or a flavored Kashi gumming up the works -- essentially the upstart cracker equivalent of Louisville taking it all the way. But as it is: boring. Come to think of it, crackers in general are pretty boring. They're mostly there to provide some crunch and snap to our snacks; simply a purveyor of flavor, not a usurper of the cheese slice, pâté smear, or dip sludge. Crackers play backup. They aren't attention whores like a plate of runny brie or a bowl of glistening purple tapenade. They make everything taste better just by providing support. Crackers are dependable and comforting. Boring? I think so, but that's why we love them. -- Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

Now go on over to Tomato Nation and register your vote in the NCrackerAA.

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Stephanie Vander Weide Lucianovic