These are crackers with a lot of history behind them. First off, they’re the oldest continuously manufactured food in the States, an anecdote with astounding resonance in these days of creative destruction. They’ve been made in the same place since 1828, and the machine that stamps the crackers is the “new model” from 1840. Imagine that—an American machine that’s lasted 169 years. Common crackers were also known as hard tack, and they’re behind the origin of the phrase “cracker barrel,” since that’s how people would store them in their homes, a barrel being a year’s supply.
You can still find a few Vermonters putting a handful of the two-inch crackers in a bowl of cold milk, eating them alongside a chunk of cheddar. For me, they make a simple side for cheese and an excellent alternative to oyster crackers.