What Are Water Crackers?

Triscuits, for my money, are the number one cracker in the game. A close second is the Ritz cracker, which is the best cracker according to Sporked. All the way down at the bottom of my personal ranking (which is robust, trust me) is the water cracker. The plain water cracker gives me flashbacks to weekly communion service at Catholic church because they have about as much flavor as a host wafer. But what are water crackers, exactly? And why are they called water crackers? Because that’s how bland they are? Let’s find out. 

What are water crackers?

Water crackers came into being when sailors were searching for foods that wouldn’t spoil on long trips across the Atlantic. So, right off the bat, these things are designed for longevity and not much else. They’re thin, very crispy, and often flavorless.

One of the most traditional sailor foods was hardtack, a painfully simple material made with water, flour, and salt (if you were lucky) that was used to feed soldiers throughout the many wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, both in America and Europe. Hardtack is the water cracker’s first cousin.

Somehow, the water cracker jumped ship and made it into home kitchens and onto charcuterie boards

Why are they called water crackers?

The name water crackers references one of their two traditional ingredients: water. Simply combining water and flour and baking it until it becomes crispy is all it takes to make historic water crackers.

Today’s commercial water cracker is a bit more complex, but the taste is still bland as ever. Sure, some brands try to fancy them up with added flavors like pepper, sesame, and even my favorite food addition of all time: rosemary. But at its core, the water cracker brings less than nothing to the table. Even saltines get a little creative with the addition of salt. 

What do you eat with water crackers?

If you eat water crackers right from the box, you should be committed. I beg you, please, put literally anything on them. It will make them edible. 

Let’s do a thought exercise. Will just butter make them better? Yes. The stinkiest cheese? Yes. Yes. Sardines? Yes. Deviled eggs? Yes. Cadbury eggs? Prosciutto you left open in the fridge so now it’s all dry and crunchy? Yes. Dish soap? Yes. 

I guess the only benefit of the water cracker is that it serves as a completely neutral base for whatever topping it holds, preserving the taste of said topping without adding anything else but texture. 

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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