“Oyster Crackers” is Just Another Way to Say “Magic”

I grew up in the ridiculously tiny town of Lusby, in Southern Maryland. It’s an hour south of D.C., and a complete world away from civilization. (And called “Southern Maryland” just for its geographic location.) Growing up, I was never more than 20 minutes away from anyone in my mom’s family. My sister and I spent most of our time at Grannie’s house, which was literally across the field my great-aunt Verna’s house. Like literally, across the field. Grannie would send me over to Aunt Verna’s for random cooking ingredients, and once I got older, I got to go change out the crab pots–because Aunt Verna lived on the creek side of Olivet Road, which meant that she had a dock and we got to eat steamed hard crabs all summer.

My Aunt Verna was a tiny little lady who told dirty jokes and didn’t take shit from anybody. Whenever I went to Aunt Verna’s, she’d be watching some sort of random sporting event on TV (bull riding, golf, bowling, you name it), and she’d always offer me the same snack: a glass of Pepsi and a giant bowl of oyster crackers. And I’m not just talking about plain old crackers shaped like oysters. No, I’m talking about tasty little crackers seasoned with dill, garlic, and Hidden Valley ranch dressing, that just happen to be shaped like oysters. This is one of my favorite, and most addicting snacks, ever. Aunt Verna knew this, so she used to send me back to college with giant gallon-sized freezer bags full of oyster crackers.

In 2004, just before Aunt Verna died, she wrote out the oyster cracker recipe for me. I don’t make them too often, but when I do, I’m always sure to have a giant glass of Pepsi to drink. Just like when I was a kid.

So I decided to make a batch of oyster crackers last weekend.

I’ve already bemoaned my woefully tiny kitchen in a previous post, so I’ll spare you the kvetching again. Instead, I’ll just casually mention how happy I am that there are so few ingredients in oyster crackers.

Few ingredients, lots of taste

I was able to prep them in the living room while JT was hard at work in the kitchen making pear-gorgonzola grilled cheese for dinner.

This kitchen's not big enough for pear-gorgonzola grilled cheese *and* oyster crackers

I’m not going to write out the recipe for you; the recipe is ridiculously straightforward and it’s pretty impossible to mess up. Sadly enough, the measurements were If you mess up this recipe, you might as well just hang up your apron and resign yourself to a lifetime of Hungry Man dinners. Now then. The recipe:

Recipe for magic (Copyright Verna Ewing, 2004)

It’s possible to use very few dishes to make oyster crackers. I used one bowl, one measuring spoon, one measuring cup, one spoon, and one cookie sheet. Beats the hell out of a sink full of dishes later.

The less dishes to wash later, the happier I am

Pro tip: Just because the crackers are supposed to sit in the oil for an hour, doesn’t mean you should ignore them for an hour. At least stir them two or three times–that way the flavor is more even.

Sometimes it's good to stir the pot

So turn on that bull riding competition, pour a few glasses of ice cold Pepsi for yourself and friends/family, and snack on some oyster crackers between telling dirty jokes.



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