Sunday, July 12, 2009

Little Things = Big Excitement

Crackers. I'm sure I've said plenty about all of the things I cannot find here - food stuff- that YOU take for granted because it is available to you any time, any where. Here? Not so much. Crackers are a very, very difficult item to come by. Which isn't to say that we don't have any crackers here, we do. Sometimes. But try - just try - finding something that doesn't resemble crunchy cardboard. I wish I would have bothered to scan or photograph every box and different variety of crackers that I've tried in the last six - going on seven - years! Who knew finding crackers was going to be so dayum difficult? Pepperidge Farm has absolutely NO idea of the market they are missing out on. None. Whatsoever.

Picture a party or a Holiday. You've got a magnificent cheese platter. Cheese from all around the world in nice little slices and wedges and cubes. Beautifully arranged in different patterns on a serving platter. What are you going to serve with that magnificent and beautifully arranged cheese platter? The only thing that you can find, here, that resembles real crackers. Ritz. And, that is what we all use to entertain with. Ritz crackers. How lame is that?!? Would you dare do such a thing in the States? Have a magnificent cheese [and pepperoni - if you can "smuggle" it in from Bahrain] platter and then serve it with Ritz crackers? No. I think not.

It is a sad day indeed when you get excited over Ritz crackers. Heck, we haven't even had decent saltines in eons. Someone must have decided
they are baked with the wrong ingredients or something. Who knows why we can't get them. No matter. Ritz will do. When you can get them.

We have some really "odd" crackers, here, an
d like I said, I've tried a several different kinds. As strange as it may sound, I will bring back several - like two dozen boxes - of different sorts of crackers in one of my suitcases when we come back from our next States trip. Trust me, much stranger things have been packed in our suitcases than crackers. The odds and ends you cannot find here. When we came back from Singapore I had a year's worth of butter in my suitcases - I saw the Lurpak that we like so much and bought the store out.

I took it to our friend's house, where we were staying, and put it in her freezer. Then on the day we left I put each stick in its own separate baggie, and then packed them all up in several big shoe boxes and they made it back to The Sandbox just fine. It was still cold when I took it out of the suitcases. So, bringing crackers back from the States is really not all that strange. I think I can freeze them. [I freeze everything! Butter... Velveeta cheese... Treats for The Kids...]

Ritz crackers. Yep. There they were. Stock
ed on the shelf at our Commissary last week. Grabbed enough boxes to hold DH over for a while. He likes crackers and tuna salad for lunch. And since crackers and tuna fish are a heck of a lot less expensive than pastrami... A couple days a week that is what he will make for himself for lunch if he wants just a light snack to hold him over until dinner. Today he had crackers and tuna salad. Ritz crackers and tuna salad.

Lest you think I am making this kind of thing up - that you can't find crackers, let alone crackers that actually taste like crackers, read this post by
a neighbor-blogger of mine. I have only just discovered her blog - and had no idea that we were neighbors until I started reading through many of her posts. She blogs about many of the same things that I blog about. [The difference is that I think she is a professional writer! Her blog is very well written. I guess I may as well just say good-bye to my regulars. All four of you. You know who you are. Once you start reading what she has to say at "Sand gets in my eyes," you will have no reason to return to "Stilettos in the Sand." I understand.]

On Ritz crackers... My neighbor goes on and on about how we have it so easy here - a cushy life - yada, yahda yahdda... [She's right.
We do. But I can always find something to not be happy about - and I don't have to be in The Sandbox - it can be anywhere. That is just my personality.] She tells of her experience a few years ago [you have to actually live here to understand this mentality - and I soooo understand!]:

Yesterday walking past the display – located between Coke Light and frozen tortillas, of course - I literally stopped in my tracks. Ritz crackers!

I looked around. Had anyone else noticed the two small flats of highly-prized crackers?

Slowly I put one box into the cart, then another. And another.

They looked so happy there next to the four canisters of marshmallow cream, I could have wept.

My daughter, of course, made terrific fun of me, asking what I planned on doing with three boxes of Ritz crackers and four canisters of marshmallow cream.

Oh my gosh. Don't I know that feeling! I'm not
quite sure I've ever been so happy I want to weep, but I DO understand exactly what she is talking about! I'm pretty sure that I will actually weep if I ever see English muffins again!

Oh, and if any of you are world traveler's and come across these crackers from Malaysia - don't bother. They say cheese crackers on the box. If there was any cheese in them, I sure couldn't detect it. They were nothing more th
an crunchy cardboard:

And, because I want to be fair, Tictac are decent crackers. I took a picture, but the camera - my camera - is acting up on me and has decided NOT to work. [New batteries. That isn't the problem. Something about a memory stick error. Oh no! Not MY camera!!!] They are not quite the Saltine's I grew up on, and they are not like crackers are when they break - if you are going to put them in tomato soup. These are crumbly - they don't break up into pieces - they are more "cakey" if that makes sense. They are softer than saltines, with a good buttery flavor. And, at least they are decent tasting as an alternative. That is, if you can't find Ritz.


  1. Now in Tabuk I can get Ritz crackers regularly. Thing is, very few Ritz crackers, LOTS of Ritz cracker bits and crumbs. Great for casserole topping. Not much good for a peanut butter or chesse and cracker snack.
    Ground coffee is another story. We have had no Maxwell House coffee since last October. Good thing I still have 3 cans.
    I don't freeze everything. Crackers, cereals and such go into gallon(or two gallon) Ziploc freezer bags (that I bring back from the States). Keeps it all fresh for just about forever, since we have very little humidity in Tabuk. I have a HUGE pantry cupboard that Hubby had made for me. It's sole purpose in Tabuk life is for storage of the "extras"

  2. We've been pretty lucky with the Ritz crackers, Linda. They come in a box of packets - all neatly wrapped in little rolls - enough for one or two people to eat crackers and cheese or crackers and peanut butter - or for one DH to eat crackers and tuna fish.

    Do you not have some of the wonderful coffee kiosks - Al-Mehbaj [Riyadh number] - the best coffee I've ever had - buy a kilo every other week - fresh ground French Roast. 48SR per kilogram. It is wonderful!

    I have the big XL Ziplocks that I keep The Kids dry food in. Could easily store crackers in those, too. Not much humidity here, either. Very little. I've brought back bags of Lime Chips [Tostitos] and stored them in plastic bags for six months at a time. They probably would have stored longer - they just don't last that long - hey, we bring 'em back to eat them, not store them! Space at this house is part of the problem. Just not enough of it. Such is life...

  3. Hi,
    I don't know if you can get to the website, but there are some recipes for homemade crackers, if you can't get them there...just a thought.

  4. Most EXCELLENT idea, mewolcott! 26 pages of them!!! Thank you. Appreciate it, very much!

  5. I feel so blessed to be here in the United States.

    I feel for you, Sabra.

  6. Thanks for the link and the kind words (blush).

    The funny thing is, this scenario happens over and over again around here - and most of us don't even think its odd anymore! Kraft caramels, Fritos, a favorite toothpaste or toilet paper. Hoarding becomes not only second nature, but a pretty fun little game as well!

    Thanks again!


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