Friday, May 01, 2009

Today In Useless Info: 'Oyster Crackers'

'Oyster crackers are small, salted, buttery crackers, typically hexagons about 0.59 in (15 mm) in diameter, although a slightly larger circular variety is also prevalent. They are popular in the northeastern USA, where they are served as an accompaniment to soup, and in the Cincinnati area, where they are frequently served with the city's distinctive chili.

In New England oyster crackers are served in oyster stew and chowders. Oyster crackers do not contain oysters. The origin of the name is unclear, but it may be that they were originally served with oyster stew or clam chowder or merely that their form (a vaguely round 'shell' that splits evenly into two parts) was suggestive of the shape of an oyster in its shell. According to the web site of the still-extant bakery discussed below, the crackers were so named because they were commonly served with oyster stew and other oyster dishes (at least on their early packages).

The oyster cracker was invented by Adam Exton, a baker in Trenton, New Jersey. He emigrated to America from Lancashire, England in 1842. [1] In Trenton, Exton opened a cake and cracker bakery with his brother-in-law, Richard Aspden in 1846. Although Aspden died the following year, Exton continued with the bakery (named the Exton Cracker Bakery or Adam Exton & Co.). He invented the oyster cracker along with a machine that rolled and docked pastry and solved the sanitary problems of hand-rolling crackers.

His oyster cracker was so popular that competitor bakeries "borrowed" his recipe and began producing them as well.

Westminster crackers still makes oyster crackers.

They are known for their tiny appearance. Also, they have a taste similar to saltine crackers.'

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