I can clearly divide my life into two time periods. There was the time before I knew how to properly eat a Triscuit and then there was the time after.
A Triscuit, just in case you’re somehow not familiar, is a square cracker made of shredded wheat. They’re actually pretty healthy for you, with six of the crackers providing three grams of fiber for 120 calories and no sugar, which crackers tend to have a lot of for whatever reason. Triscuits taste great with a sharp Cheddar and good mustard like Alstertor beer mustard, which I’ve always considered to be the Charlize Theron of mustards: smooth, yet not without an edge.
But enough about mustard, you’re here to satisfy your Triscuit curiosity.
The date was April 24, 2014, give or take a year (I’m not great with dates). My wife and I were in our kitchen, stress-eating our usual post-work, pre-dinner “snack” of Triscuits and cheese.
I say “snack” because my wife can eat an impressive amount of Triscuits and cheese, so impressive that sometimes it’s stultifying, and she ends up not being able to finish her dinner because, “Man, I ate a lot of cheese.”
Regardless of the exact date, I remember it being a evening where I was especially clear-headed because I was paying close attention to my wife. Don’t rush to mischaracterize me. I’m not one of those dolts who doesn’t listen to every detail my wife’s workday regarding what Kris said or what Mike’s new assistant did or whatever the heck Donna is up to. I do care. It’s just that some nights I’m cooking or hangry or “cohangry,” which is a near-deadly combination of cooking while hangry. Yeah, it’s bad.
So I had finished cooking dinner and I wasn’t hangry and I was paying close attention to my wife and I notice that she’s doing something strange as she’s eating her Triscuits.
Before eating each Triscuit, she is licking them.
Actually, maybe “licking” isn’t the right word. The movement is more of a subtle protrusion of the tongue that she then dabs onto the flat-side (not the edge) of the Triscuit.
“Did you just lick the cracker?” I asked.
“Yeah?” She responded. Her tone was similar to when I once asked her if she really wanted a bologna hoagie out of all the other hoagies she could order. Her tone was one that implied you should already know the answer to this.
I hesitated, still thinking that my next question was viable: “Okay. But why did you lick the cracker?”
She hesitated, thinking that my question wasn’t viable: “Because there’s a side that’s salty and there’s a side that isn’t salty and the Triscuit tastes better when you put it in your mouth salty-side down.”
I think she may have also said “What? You didn’t know that?” but I’m not sure. My world had entirely blown open. Whatever the tiny mechanism within my inner ear that regulates balance had been disrupted to the extent that I didn’t know if I was standing, sitting, laying on the kitchen floor, or pinwheeling through a wormhole in the time-space continuum.
Who was I? Who was this woman? Is the sky still blue? What is gravity? What, even, is what? If I never knew how to eat a Triscuit the right way then how can I trust that I know anything about anything?
After regaining consciousness, I think I muttered something like “No, I did not know that,” and then I began making the most rudimentary of connections.
I had remembered spending a day with a competition barbecue team, the head of which told me that he always seasons underside of his chicken thighs with a little extra rub because that’s the part that hits the judges’ tongue first. The extra salt opens up the taste buds to the rest of the flavors.
“It’s not just Triscuits,” I whispered to myself.
“Are you okay?” My wife said. Licking another Triscuit, topping it with cheese on the non-salted side, and putting it into her mouth.
Eating and/or seasoning foods with a little extra something so that the flavor side hits your tongue first is actually a really great tip. From that date on, I began to toast the outside of the bottom of burger buns in salted butter, give my homemade pizza crusts a little extra char, and dust the underside of my BBQ ribs with a little cayenne before serving.
And I always—always—lick my Triscuits before I eat them.
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