I got this recipe from good friend and fellow America’s Test Chicken, Cyndie Smith. She’s had it for years and was so right about how easy and how good they turn out. If you have some holiday tables to set, use these crackers. They are cheap and easy and so delicious. Your party guests will comment on them, for sure.
In writing up this recipe for the blog, I researched the history of saltines because I’ve always wondered why they were called saltines or soda crackers. Turns out they were invented in 1876 by the F.L. Sommer company in Missouri. They began with a really bland, thick, flat cracker called hardtack, which was good for sailors and others on long journeys, such as cowboys on the trail. However, it wasn’t so appetizing or easy to eat. Sommer used a much thinner cracker and added baking soda to it, hence the term ‘soda cracker’. The term ‘saltines’ was used because they also added salt.
Business boomed for Sommer and it eventually merged with other companies to become the American Biscuit Company in 1890. More mergers later, it became part of Nabisco in 1898.
Although we now use the terms generically, a company in Australia holds a trademark on ‘Saltine’ as a brand name for its crackers. Now you know.