Sunday, May 31, 2015


I have been a fan of Cheez-Its since I was a kid. They were one of the few snacks that we had in the house when I was growing up. We didn't have potato chips or cookies around very often. Back in my youth there was not the plethora of snack foods that we have available today. Fewer choices was probably a good thing. The one snack choice I almost always had available was a handful of Cheez-Its. They were kept in the biggest of three glass canisters above the stove. The canister was big enough to hold a whole box so there was never an open box in the pantry. That also meant that I couldn't take the box to my room or couch. The canister was too big, heavy and breakable to lug around the house. That meant if you wanted some Cheez-Its you went to the kitchen and grabbed a handful or got a bowl and filled it. I was usually too lazy to do the bowl thing, so I consumed them a handful at a time. There was also another limiting factor and that would be Mom (and sometimes dad). The Cheez-Its were meant to be a treat, like ice cream or cookies or cake, and not a substitute meal. A few to tide you over until mealtime was OK, or a few after dinner and before bedtime. Funny, I have no memory what was in the other two canisters. Of course the picture below is all wrong. Everybody knows the largest jar belongs on the right and the small one on the left. 

In addition to the humans in the family, my dog's favorite treat was Cheez-Its, much preferred over dog biscuits. That glass canister that held the Cheez-Its was ground or sandblasted around the lid and rim of the jar. They were called ground glass canisters. It was almost impossible to remove the top silently. Every time anyone went for a snack my beloved dog was at the kitchen entrance looking very hungry and pleadingly. Believe me, she got her share. Cheez-Its were the reward my dad and I used to train her and teach her tricks. She learned quickly and well. She was my constant companion during my tween and teen years.  

Cheez-Its faded from my life after I left my parents home. They never left theirs. Anytime I went home there was that glass canister above the stove. Even when they finally moved into a retirement apartment the crackers were still there although the glass canister was gone. Both the grandsons had bowls of Cheez-Its served by Nana and Grandpa.

When my father lived with me in the last few years of his life I always had to make sure their were Cheez-Its in the cupboard. He didn't eat very many, but they had to be available when the urge struck. Once he was gone I stopped buying them on a regular basis. Maybe if I had a coupon or saw a new flavor I'd get a box. Often as not they would go stale before I finished the box. I'm not big on snack foods. I usually have some Triscuits and/or Wheat Thins around to eat with cheese dip. Sometimes I'll get a taste for chips and salsa or queso but not very often. The crackers and chips usually go stale before I reach the bottom of the box or bag. Thankfully I didn't inherit much of a snack or sweets gene.

So you ask, what brought this subject to mind? Well, Cheez-It has introduced a new line of snacks that are somewhere between the original cracker and chips. They are Cheez-It Crunch'd, a puffed version of the cracker. I had a coupon and they were on sale (my favorite combination) so I picked up a bag of the Hot & Spicy variety. They are in the chip section, not the cracker aisle. Well, these damn things are delicious. Flavorful, light, puffy, crunchy and just a tad spicy. I'm sure like most snacks I'll eat this bag and maybe buy one more. Then I will lose interest. That's my pattern. I'll see some new flavor of chips or crackers and give them a try. Even if I like them at first I'll grow tired of them or just not remember to buy them again. 

So, while I'm sure the new flavor and style of Cheez-Its will soon be gone from my pantry I'm glad it triggered some old and pleasant memories of that glass canister that sat on the shelf above the stove for all those years. I miss that glass jar full of crackers but mostly I miss the person who kept it full, my Mom.


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