Okay. I want to show you something, but I don't want you to freak out. Control yourself. No gasping. No squealing. Definitely no screaming. Okay, fine, go ahead and scream. But not if the baby's sleeping. Or you're in a crowded elevator. Or you're in the passenger seat, and the driver's of the nervous persuasion, and he's apt to swerve and nearly roll the truck all because you screamed just the eensiest little bit while he happened to be merging onto the freeway. Please don't ask how I know about that.
Anyway, here goes.
I'd like you to meet Hugo.
I KNOW, RIGHT???
Actually, that's Hugo at eleven weeks. He's now 4 1/2 months. I've been holding out on you while we get to know each other. He looks more like this now.
And that Bumble there? He doesn't look the same either. He made it about eight seconds after this picture was taken. Puppy teeth are amazing, guys.
It turns out that there are a lot of things that are amazing about being a puppymomma. For instance, phrases that I never thought I'd hear myself saying keep pouring out of my mouth. Phrases like:
That's the third fox he's eaten this week. Maybe we should buy them in bulk.
Beds are not for humping!
It's not a glamorous life we lead.
But I've also developed a new respect for snacks of the pop-in-your-mouth crunchy variety. Being a sugar freak, chips and crackers have never had much of a draw for me to begin with. Why reach for a bag when there's a perfectly good pint of ice cream in the freezer?
But beyond general preferences, I've always had quality issues. Cool Ranch Doritos are neither cool nor ranch-flavored. Fred-and-Onion presents an obvious difficulty, and anything Cheese-Flavored seems to reek, not of cheese, but of some sort of "Hydrolyzed Powdered Cheez-Like Flavoring Byproduct." The result, to me, is musty, rank-smelling, and thoroughly inedible.
But Hugo, dear soul, seems to thrive on exactly the sorts of foods that give me the shudders. There's kibble (dry, crunchy, and mysteriously meat-flavored.), and then there are treats (crunchy or chewy, and equally mysteriously meat-flavored). And from the way he reacts when we open the pantry door, I have to assume that they're fairly delicious. Either that, or they're crack. Seriously. Boy loves his kibble.
Which leads me to wonder if my hatred isn't actually aimed at crackers and chips themselves, but at the shoddy way they, and a lot of the other foods I eat, are being made. A review of our grocery list seems to support my theory:
Pink-Tinted Valentine's Day Oreos
Blue Hawaii-Flavored Fruit Drink
Organic, Free-Range, Ethically Slaughtered Lamb Kibble with Magical Aminos and Vitamins
Some people in this house are clearly eating better than others.
Which leads us to these crackers: they're crisp, light as air, and actual-cheese-flavored. Unless your palate has been irreparably jaded by years of chemical approximations of your favorite flavors, you'll be amazed at how much better these taste than the ones that come in a box. I'd scratch at the pantry door for some. Snack on, my friends.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers
from Joy Wilson
at Joy the Baker
Unsalted Butter [ 4 tablespoons, at room temperature ]
Sharp Cheddar Cheese [ 8 ounces, finely grated ]
Salt [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Coarsely Ground Black Pepper [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Flour [ 1 cup ]
Water [ 2 tablespoons, cold ]
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer on Medium-High speed, mix Butter, Cheese, Salt, and Pepper until
mixture comes together in a blended ball.
2. On Low speed, slowly add in Flour.
3. One tablespoon at a time, add Water.
4. Beat until Mixture forms a moist, but not wet, ball; if necessary, add up to 1 teaspoon more of Water.
5. Divide Dough into two pieces; shape each piece into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until dough is chilled.
7. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
8. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
9. Lightly flour a flat work surface.
10. Roll 1 disk of Dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.
11. Cut out crackers with a cutter of your choosing - I used a scalloped aspic cutter.
12. Prick each cracker with the tines of a fork.
13. Place crackers fairly close to each other on the prepared sheet. Crackers do not expand much.
14. Bake until golden-brown, crisp, and well-scented. This will take 13-15 minutes.
15. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary.
Makes about 70 crackers, depending on the size of your cutters.