Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vermont Common Cracker Meat Loaf

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 eggs
1 minced garlic clove
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp bay leaf powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 finely chopped green pepper
3/4 cup Common Crackers crumbs
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 325°. Mix all ingredients and press into loaf pan for 1 1/2 hours. Serves 6-8.

Common Crackers
WHAT? The Green Mountain Ritz. Today uncommon is more like it, but for more than 150 years, they were so ubiquitous in New England that the cracker barrel--where the biscuits were kept in country stores--became part of the lexicon for informal, folksy gossip. According to some sources, common crackers were first produced in 1828 by the Cross brothers in Montpelier, Vermont. Shopkeepers gave them away to customers buying cheese; a barrel of 1,200 crackers provided a year's worth of snacks and meals for many a rural family; and generations of farmers supped on these crackers crumbled in a bowl of milk and served with a hunk of cheddar cheese. In 1948 Vermont Life magazine paid tribute to the common cracker in print: "In a changing and unstable world, these crackers are still made according to the original recipe and in the same shape. It is perhaps these little touches of memory, reinforced by the fact that one can still satisfy one's taste with precisely the same cracker that tickled the taste buds in one's youth that account for the popularity of this sound Vermont product."

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