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The History of Saltine Crackers

These crackers started out as a humble combination of water and flour. Then in 1876, baking soda was added to the dough. Baking soda was a new mining byproduct at the time and it turned out that adding it to the cracker recipe was quite impactful. The new ingredient introduced tiny bubbles into the dough that when cooked, resulted in a remarkably light, crispy cracker. These new “soda crackers” became quite popular, but it wasn’t until the very end of the 19th century that Saltines were officially created. In 1898, the New York Biscuit Company and the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company merged to form the National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco. The newly merged company refined the soda cracker and released Premium Saltine Crackers (often known more casually as “Saltines”). Contrary to popular opinion, the name is not based on the sprinkle of salt you’ll find on top of the crackers, but rather, it is an homage to the baking soda (which was sometimes called baking salt back then) used in the recipe. Over time, the crackers became a popular accompaniment to a variety of dishes, particularly soups and spreads, as well as a common food to eat when sick. Today, they are known as Nabisco Original Premium Saltine Crackers and remain a beloved staple in many homes and on store shelves.

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