I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Firecrackers

We all have deep and personal food memories and cravings. Exotic, postcard moments in our life in food. Apricots still warm from the tree in France. Your first taste of fish cooked immediately after being pulled from the Indian Ocean.  Or cravings that seem to come deep from the soul, and out of the clear blue sky. The special multi-layered cake only your grandmother knew how to make.  Bread from the long-shuttered, family-owned neighborhood bakery.  Your mom’s homemade soup.

This recipe is none of those things.

It is not exotic, or distant, or impossible to duplicate.  But it is a good food memory for me, and I bet for a lot of folks.  I just know how to make these.  I didn’t invent them or innovate them or deconstruct or re-imagine.  These little crackers are just good, and simple, and everyone loves them.  I had an overwhelming craving for these recently, and they are the perfect snack to celebrate the Fourth of July.  And go ahead, share your memories of these little gems.

Firecrackers

I use mild chili powder and a small amount of chili flakes, but feel free to spice things up.

1 ½ cups canola oil

1 (1-ounce) package ranch dip mix

1 Tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons red chili flakes

1 (16-ounce) box saltine crackers

In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, ranch dip mix, chili powder and pepper flakes until thoroughly combined.  Unwrap the saltine and place in two 1-gallon ziptop bags, or a large flat airtight container, like you might store brownies in.  Pour over the oil and toss and shake well to coat.  Toss the bags or container every five minutes or so for about an hour, making sure the crackers are getting a thorough dose of seasoned oil.

Remove the crackers to one or two rimmed baking sheets and leave to dry for several hours.  Stored in an airtight container, these will last for a couple of weeks.   But I bet they don’t.

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