Serving crackers at the dinner table

schoolhouse_gwagain

Just thinking. If you were serving soup with your fancy dinner ware, and some people do like crackers in their soup, and it is not buffet style, how do you offer up the crackers? On a plate, in a bowl, the sleeve of crackers on the table, place a few on a plate under the bowl, or crush the crackers with your own hands and put in their bowls of soup before serving (LOL)? I'm sure the Victorians had a special dish for them but otherwise?

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Sammy

I would not offer crackers.

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Lucille

On a serving plate that matches your fancy dinner ware with small tongs so the the person getting the crackers would not have to touch the other crackers besides the ones he was taking for himself.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

I would buy some oyster crackers and put some in a bowl with a spoon for serving themselves.

I always only use oyster crackers in Chile. They are bite sized and you don't have to crush them giving you various sizes from chunks to dust. I believe they have a little less salt than regular saltines as an added bonus.

If you were talking about any other cracker varieties besides saltines...please disregard.

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Lukki Irish

I was going to suggest the same thing as LoneJack, that’s what oyster crackers are for.

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Fun2BHere

Another option would be to add bread plates to your table setting and put a few crackers on each bread plate.

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maifleur03

If formal no crackers at all. Less formal I have seen various methods including a dish with the large older 4 by saltines laid in a high bowl so that they appeared to be a flower passed by the base so people would not touch. If you can find or have one you could use one of the biscuit/cookie holders although most of those are round. I would use sugar tongs for people to remove the crackers without touching things.

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Elizabeth

If it was other than an oyster cracker, I serve them in a ramekin for each person.

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schoolhouse_gwagain

Thanks. Good suggestions.

Someone suggested to not offer crackers. Come to think of it I've never seen crackers on a dining table where soup is being served. If a person asked for them, I could bring he or she a few on a plate.

As a user of the crackers, should I break them up with my hands over my
bowl or put the whole crackers in the soup and crush with my spoon? In
the case of oyster crackers, there wouldn't be a problem tho.

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chisue

I've never seen anyone crumble crackers into a soup course in a formal setting.

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Elmer J Fudd

At our table it would be sliced crusty sourdough bread on a plate. We rarely have crackers in the house and wouldn't serve them in the setting described. To nibble on with cheese before dinner, maybe, but we'd have crusty bread for that too.

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patriciae_gw

The sorts of soupy things served with crackers are by their very nature not formal food. You wouldn't have Chili at a formal meal. Bread oddly enough used to be part of the place setting but people didn't normally eat it. If a person insisted on eating their bread it had to be torn apart in small bite sized bits. I cant imagine dunking. I dont think anyone is that formal these days. For a start you would have to know all that stuff. Who knows you dont eat the roll?

So we are not at a formal meal and you have a crowd over for Chili. I would set a few plates of crackers on the table with something to grab them with. Crushing up your crackers would never do in a formal meal but this isnt one. To break or crush would be a personal call depending on the people at the table.

I expect the habit of crushing crackers into soup came from when old bread or crackers were added to thicken soups. It could be one of the ingredients of pottage.

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maifleur03

Crushing crackers into soup was because of various things but most commonly the soup was thin and the only thing solid would be the crackers. Hardtack which is a type of cracker needed often to be soaked before it could even be eaten. Bread and/or crackers used to be called sops because the purpose was to sop up the soup to make it easier for invalids to eat. There are probably as many reasons given for putting crackers or bread in soup as there are soups. I am one of the barbarians who like my chili just a little runny so that I can put tiny bits of bread in it to soak up the liquid on top while the chili below cools enough not to burn the mouth.

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chisue

RE: Bread. DH and I ate in a small restaurant in Munich (late 1960's). At the end of the meal, we were surprised to see charge on the bill for 'bread'. We hadn't eaten any. It was on the table when we were seated. Because we didn't ask to have it removed...we were charged.

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schoolhouse_gwagain

I've never seen anyone crumble crackers into a soup course in a formal setting.

Reminds me of that commercial, "Please pass the jeailly" (jelly). ha ha

jelly

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arcy_gw

I am thinking a formal dinner would have bread and no one would express the desire for crackers instead.

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Lars

Here are some crackers/flatbread that I made to serve with a salmon salad as an appetizer. I tend to think of crackers as being used as appetizers rather than served in the main meal of a formal dinner, but I do like them arranged around a bowl on a plate, and this could be a bowl of soup.

It's a bit more formal if you make the crackers yourself. I made up the recipe for these crackers based on an ingredients list I found on a package of flatbread that I bought in Sonoma. They have yeast in them (which might not be necessary), which is why they puff up a bit. I bought a dough docker for making them.

Instead of calling them crackers, I would call them flatbread and serve them as I would bread. I would not serve commercial crackers, however.

If you want something resembling crackers in the soup, serve the soup with croutons.

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artemis_ma

crush the crackers with your own hands and put in their bowls of soup before serving

Hah! Won't even consider that one (as I loathe crackers (or croutons) of any type in my soup). I know you were joking. I guess the only soup acceptable with bread already in it is French Onion soup.

Depends on the type of soup - for clam chowders I'd have some of those oyster crackers out for people to use tongs or whatever to select what and if they want. Not really sure it needs to be a thing with any other type of soup?

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patriciae_gw

I did think to wonder if soup is your dinner or a course in your dinner?

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schoolhouse_gwagain

Lars! yum.

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ci_lantro

Get a cracker tray or server.

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schoolhouse_gwagain

I have seen some really pretty cracker trays. In fact, a neighbor gave me a Christmas themed one as a gift one year.

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mama goose_gw zn6OH

If having something like chili, when one would expect crackers to be offered, I use a long narrow vintage dish, usually with several rows of different crackers overlapping, with a pair of small tongs at each end. One BIL will eat only a certain brand of round cracker, but my favorite for soups and chili is saltines, so it's nice to have a variety. Another option would be a silver bowl, lined with a napkin. It could do double duty for serving bread at a different meal or course, so not a waste of storage space. Even when I use my good china and silver, we aren't too formal, but with a soup course at a formal meal, I would not expect crackers.

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mdln


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ci_lantro

We never eat crackers with chili. Only Fritos (preferably) or tortilla chips if we're out of Fritos. Or freshly fried tortilla strips which I prefer to bagged tortilla chips.


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schoolhouse_gwagain

Mmmm, Fritos in chili. That's my favorite too ci_lantro. Sometimes I add grated cheddar cheese and then a dollop of sour cream. Other times I use saltines. Now I want chili.

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caroline94535

My special dishes are Royal Albert’s Old Country Roses bone china.

I have two of theses matching cracker trays. If crackers were wanted I would serve them in this.

( All the bread and cracker offerings here look so wonderful! )

My set of china include cream soup cups with handles with matching under trays, and the rimmed soup plates.

I would not hesitate to serve soup whether or not the meal was “formal,” (we don’t do anything really formal anyway.)

The tray holds more than a sleeve of crackers, especially since the sleeves have fewer and smaller crackers these days!


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Louiseab Ibbotson

Lars, I’d love to have the recipe for the flatbread, if you share.

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loonlakelaborcamp

I would use oyster crackers, but have now converted to Goldfish crackers! Life is to short not to have fun!

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schoolhouse_gwagain

caroline, I've collected Royal Albert tea cups for years and have quite a collection. They are just so beautiful.

I also collect pink Castle on The Lake vintage dishes and will look for a cracker tray.

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maifleur03

I grew up being told the handled bowls were for consomme and not cream soups. No one ever told me why they had handles. As a child I thought that meant you could pick them up and drink from them. Very, very bad idea.

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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Oh, LLL, goldfish crackers in cream of potato soup. Yum!

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Lars

I've posted my flatbread recipe before, but I don't think anyone has made, or if they did, they did not let me know. It's a bit involved and uses several ingredients that one does not normally have on hand, but they do contribute to the flavor and texture. If you do not have rice flour but have a Vitamix blender with a dry ingredients container, you can make your own rice flour. The rice flour makes the crackers crispier/crunchier, and so it definitely affects the texture. It is also important to use one cup total of bran, but you can substitute any bran you have for the oat and rice bran, but the flavor will be different. Toppings can be varied, and you don't need more than one type of seed on top at a time - I just included all the ones I use either on their one or in combination. You can vary the crackers in one batch by what you sprinkle on top.

Lars' Flatbread

1-1/3 cups water (lukewarm)
2 tbsp dried malt extract (or 1 tbsp sugar)
1 tbsp dry yeast (or one package)
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup rice bran
1/2 cup rice flour
1-2 tbsp canola or grape seed oil
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
2 tsp salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups unbleached flour

Toppings:
1 egg + 1 tbsp water (for brushing on top of dough)
garlic powder
onion granules
caraway seeds
poppy seeds
sesame seeds

Pour lukewarm water into a mixer bowl and add malt extract. If you use liquid extract, you will have to double the amount and use less water. Whisk in yeast until all is dissolved. Then stir in oat bran, rice bran, and rice flour.

Allow this mixture to rest for half an hour or more, and then add the oils. You can add less oil if you want a harder cracker. Then add 2 to 2-1/2 cups flour that has been sifted with the salt, and put the bowl in the machine with the dough hook. Mix at high speed (with the splash guard on) until blended.
Then add flour in small increments until the dough makes a ball that is not too sticky. Finish kneading by hand, or simply place in a bowl that is lightly greased with olive oil, and allow to rise for a couple of hours, or leave it in the refrigerator covered overnight.
I let my dough rise twice.

Preheat oven to 375°.
Pinch balls of dough about 2-1/2 to 3” diameter and roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangular shape as thin as possible. Prick the dough all over with a fork or docker and brush lightly with egg wash.
Dust very lightly with garlic powder and onion granules. Sprinkle caraway seeds (if desired), about two per square inch. You don’t need many of these, and it is easy for them to be overpowering. Then sprinkle poppy seeds evenly over, as desired and finish with the sesame seeds. It’s better not to overdo the seed toppings (especially the caraway), but I haven’t had a problem with the poppy seeds so far.

Pat the seeds into the dough with your fingers and then cut the dough into squares using a pizza cutter or ravioli cutter.

Transfer the dough, using a metal spatula, onto an ungreased baking sheet, and bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes, or until toasty in appearance. You will need to watch them closely towards the end, as they will burn easily, once they are done. I use a toaster oven for most of them, but sometimes I bake them in the regular oven until almost done and then finish the untoasted ones in a toaster oven at a lower temperature – about 350° for 2-5 minutes. You can always toast underdone ones later.

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Louiseab Ibbotson

Thank you Lars! Looks great. I don’t remember seeing the recipe before.

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Lars

I posted it 15 years ago on the Cooking Forum.

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elvis

LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

I would buy some oyster crackers and put some in a bowl with a spoon for serving themselves.

I always only use oyster crackers in Chile. They are bite sized and you don't have to crush them giving you various sizes from chunks to dust. I believe they have a little less salt than regular saltines as an added bonus.

If you were talking about any other cracker varieties besides saltines...please disregard.

You only use oyster crackers in Chile. What do you use in the US?

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antiquesilver

A Victorian (Oyster) Cracker Scoop, in sterling:


I have no idea what the crackers would have been served in but it must have been large since these scoops are usually over 8" long! Also, with that size, did one dump the crackers into their soup or put them on a plate? This thing holds a lot of crackers!

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patriciae_gw

Wow, I am impressed. Surely you would have a small bowl for the crackers? Normal manners would preclude dumping into the soup itself. A cracker bowl. I can see it.

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antiquesilver

Cracker bowls (serving & individual) make sense but I don't remember ever seeing either. Oyster/cream soup ladles (yes, there is such a thing) are smaller than soup ladles but larger than bouillon ladles so I assume oyster stew was served in the shallow bowls with handles, but a serving of crackers this size seems like it would have filled the bowl!


EDIT: I just remembered little, individual berry bowls which could have worked for crackers, as well. I think I have one, if I can remember where I put it!

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jemdandy

One way to handle the cracker situation is to serve oyster crackers instead of the regular square type. These little round crackers do not need crumbling. One merely puts in the soup as many crackers he wishes - no crushing, no crumbs.

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jmm1837

I've never seen crackers served with soup in a formal setting. Crackers go with the cheese and fruit at the end of the meal. Maybe as a base for canapes before the meal. At home, who cares? But a formal meal, no.

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Debby

Mom always put them on a plate and we helped ourselves. I just tossed the sleeve on the table (less dishes. ;) ). Now that it's just my husband and I, we don't set the table, we grab our food from the stove so the sleeve just sits on the countertop. hahaha

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Louiseab Ibbotson

I love my soups that I serve to my guests. Honestly I’d be a little offended if somebody felt the need to adorn my heartfelt effort with crackers. On the other hand, I always serve my soups with my homemade freshly baked bread on the side

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wednesday morning

For goodness sake, if you want crackers, put them on the table and just get on with enjoying your dinner and the fact that you are enjoying it with others, if that is what you are planning on doing.

Life is much too short and too serious to worry about the lack of formality associated with crackers. Just enjoy. No one is going to talk about you behind your back because of it.

If it concerns you still, buy some more fancy crackers rather than just saltines. Put them in a fancy bowl and just get on the enjoyment of eating and sharing.


Over these last few years, before Covid, I have encountered so many buffet tables at events where there was not even bread or crackers to have with the other tidbits. So many people have declared that they eat no gluten. I got to where I would either bring the bread for the table or bring my own small stash of crackers or bread. Bread has taken a bad rap over the last few years. It is my opinion that much of that is not really warranted. Who wants to eat hunks of cheese all by itself? Not I.

Just don't crush the crackers into the bowls before serving. Surely not. Breaking bread or crackers into your bowl is a personal thing to be customized.

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martinca_gw sunset zone 24

I enjoy *serving in courses. Properly or not, first comes a creamy soup, then salad, no bread, followed by entree...with bread. With chili or a hearty soup it’s crusty bread. I like saltines, tortilla chips, etc, with those. but only with family.

* not for the formality of it, but because dinner slows down, and anticipation is fun.

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maifleur03

In normal times people would bring someone home from a care center. Depending on the care center one of the things people who have difficulty eating are taught is to use a piece of bread as a stabilizer if they can not hold a knife to push food against. While this is not crackers it is something that people should be aware of. The rehab place my dad was sent to after his stroke taught him this.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

I have (somewhere) a small rectangular silver cracker serving basket. It is made to hold square crackers (like saltines), shaped so that the crackers sit in it with one point down, opposite corner up. I believe it originally had small tongs with which to serve oneself.

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