Do you like crackers? Yeah, you like crackers. They’re delicious. They’re crispy and salty and you can put things on them and then EAT THEM. Crackers are great!
But there are crackers, and then there are Triscuits. It’s a shame, really, to mention the two in the same sentence, because they are worlds apart. Saying “crackers” and “Triscuits” with some sort of implied equivalency is like talking about prime rib and cat food as equals, simply because both are meat-based and are excellent sources of protein.
Triscuits are awesome, and in this brief photo essay, I will demonstrate this using science. You cannot argue with science. It is empirical, as is the following collection of photos and observations.
Here are Triscuits, in their natural habitat (box):
Someone less properly trained in the scientific and artistic disciplines might miss this, but look closely at the “dots” over the two “i”s in the name. They are the exact same shape as the cracker itself. That is, square. This rabbit hole goes deep, and I pray that you’re equal to the journey.
Here are four Triscuits, on a plate.
Not much to say here. Like an autumn sunset or the laugh of a child, some things simply speak for themselves.
Let’s take that box-cover “serving suggestion” literally and put some cheese on the aforementioned plated Triscuits:
Lovely! Here we have an extra-sharp Vermont white cheddar. None of that “cheese food” crap for these Triscuits. No! A magnificent palette demands the proper paints! But let’s take it one step further … atop these piles of starch, salt and fat, let us now add the following:
My friends, does life get more lovely? We have added seared flank steak, seasoned with coarse sea salt and sliced on a bias, with a few paper-thin shavings of cherry tomato. The weight and the heat of the steak melts the cheese ever-so-slightly. Again, my point in all of this – and you can’t argue with science – is that it’s not the steak that is making the Triscuits better. It is the Triscuits that are making the steak better.
So far, we have encountered the obvious. Triscuits are salty, so they lend themselves to savory toppings and accoutrements. But stretch your thinking, and you’ll find that they work just as well for sweet delights. Have you ever had banana on a Triscuit? No? Just look and see how delicious this looks:
Now, let’s take a pause from the very basics, back up a step or two, and enter the realm of the theoretical. Please consider this book, and its implications for the times that we all live in:
This is a brand-new translation of “Roadside Picnic,” a legendary masterpiece of Soviet science fiction written in 1972 by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Among other things, it was the inspiration for the film “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky (also known for “Solaris” and “Andrei Rublev”). The story concerns the aftermath of a brief alien visit to the planet Earth, an aftermath which leaves a number of poisonous “Zones” across the globe, Zones that are perilous to enter but now contain objects imbued with near-magical properties. A black market immediately springs up to facilitate the trade of these objects – mundane things that suddenly possess miraculous features, such as perpetual motion – and the story focuses on the “stalkers,” men who risk their lives to go into the Zones to retrieve and later sell those items.
“Roadside Picnic” has become one of the iconic novels of the sci-fi genre, universally respected for not only its bleak tone and unflinching portrayal of the lengths that people will go to provide for themselves and the ones they love, but also for its view on the intense insecurity and loneliness that human beings often encounter when faced with something that is bigger than them – aliens? mortality? God? – something that brings possible salvation but also inescapable confusion and, at times, terror. It is a book about what it means to feel alone in a universe that is impossibly big.
Now, consider this:
Look at that sumbitch now! Existential dread much?
Oh, but it’s not just literature that benefits from Triscuit-based juxtaposition. Here we have “Valtari,” the latest CD from the ambient rock band Sigur Ros:
It’s really great! Put on the headphones or lay down on the floor with your head squarely between the speakers, and you can almost feel your body slowly lift up off the ground, the sinusoidal waves of ooommmmm and eeeaaahhhh and vvvvvvv washing over your essence like fingertips of angels, gently fanning you skyward.
And then, this happens:
… and the Klieg lights suddenly turn themselves on all around you and you are in the center of a massive porcelain theater, a million glistening cherubs smiling upon you as they hover just slightly above the ground, and all you can hear is a low and rumbling baying sound, like every trumpet in the world beginning to sing out all at once, singing out your name, with an inflection more beautiful than anything you’ve ever heard, a still, small susurrus that is whispering to you, only to you.
It’s exactly like that. Really.
So, science has demonstrated that Triscuits are awesome. No room for debate here. Saltines are good. Goldfish crackers are whimsical and cheeky and come with their own delights. Club crackers rule, melba toast is fun with cocktails, and I still don’t know whether I think Chicken in a Biskit is awesome or gross. Time will tell.
All these crackers are yours, except Triscuits. Attempt no landing there. And for the love of God, don’t ever attempt this:
It’s a Triscuit on a Triscuit, and it hurts my eyes just to look at it, for all of its meta-recursive horror. Please, one Triscuit at a time, people, and try not to let them touch one another.
(Full disclosure: I have no business relationship with the Triscuit. However, if you’re an intrepid marketing executive for Nabisco, I’ll just leave this lying here.)