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Pantry Staple: Ak-Mak Crackers

May 22, 2019

Great news! After ten days of medicating, cutting out coffee, reducing my alcohol consumption, eating more healthful foods, exercising a little bit, and monitoring my blood pressure, the train is back on its rails. I even dropped close to five pounds over that time. My doctor is thrilled.

What’s even more amazing is that I was able to do that while judging the Best Burger competition for the New York Beef Council and attending Saratoga Brewfest followed with a smorgasbord of delights at Mexican Restaurant El Cilantro.

My mantra has been “eat more oats” and I’ve been living on low fat yogurt, whole grains, green vegetables, beans, green tea, nuts, fruit, and dark chocolate for the past two weeks.

Yesterday I made perhaps the most intense heart healthy lunch to date. I pureed ramps, pistachios, mustard powder, chili flakes, and apple cider vinegar into a bright green pistou. And I spread that on ak-mak crackers. That served as a base for some brisling sardines, and the whole thing was topped with a sprinkling of sumac.

After posting a picture online, someone asked about the cracker. Well, where do I start?

It’s not easy being me. Most people walk into a supermarket and they are confronted with thousands upon thousands of choices about food they can eat. But my experience is significantly different, because I don’t really consider much of what’s on the shelf to be food. A surprising amount of it is candy, or alternatively just different combinations of white flour, salt, and fat. You know, or it’s pumped full of synthetic preservatives to extend its shelf life.

For those categories of food that I do think are actually food, like canned tomatoes or actual bread, I have very strong preferences and often won’t find my brands on the shelf.

When it comes to crackers though, I’m in luck.

The ak-mak sesame cracker is widely available, made from great ingredients, and is totally delicious. When you open a fresh box, these whole grain crackers are delightfully crisp and crunchy. They are what I find myself most often dragging through a plate of hummus. The sesame flavor pairs beautifully with the tahini enriched chickpea spread.

It’s rare to find a packaged cracker on a store shelf with so few ingredients, but there are simply made from organically grown whole wheat flour, clover honey, sesame oil, dairy butter, sesame seed, yeast, and salt. That’s seven ingredients. I suppose they must have some water in there too.

But even though honey is the second ingredient, and oil and butter are next in line, these are neither sweet nor fat filled. A serving is listed as five crackers, but I typically eat no more than three at a sitting. Still, the full serving is a mere 110 calories, with just 1g of total sugars and 2g of total fat. And with that, you get a whopping 3g of dietary fiber.

Because these crackers are organic, it means that the wheat wasn’t treated to a bath of synthetic desiccants in the field. I’d like to share this blurb from the back of the box:

Throughout the decades, we have been committed to making the best whole wheat sesame cracker possible. We begin with certified organic high-quality wheat, whole of the wheat, that is ground into flour; this flour, and only this flour, is used in manufacturing our excellent whole wheat sesame crackers.

The crackers are Armenian, but the company is American and has been here since 1893. So if these have been off your radar, despite the bright yellow box screaming out from the grocer’s shelf, now you know.

Perhaps some people expect these to be like Wasa crackers or RyKrisps. Maybe you like these brands which I think some people eat for health. But much like rice cakes, I’ve always assumed they are mostly used for self punishment. Ak-maks are different. These are delicious. Even my son eats them as a snack, sometimes simply unadorned. But he’s unusual in that regard.

Anyway, the cat is out of the bag. Get yourself a box. They’re only about $2 and they are even less if you pick them up at Trader Joe’s. Just make sure to leave me some.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. m. dave permalink
    May 22, 2019 1:53 pm

    Leave Wasa alone! I genuinely enjoy them and eat them often. Especially the ‘light n’ crisp’ ones. I tend to use them to consume soft cheeses or meat pastes. I like akmaks too, but they are a bit toothsome for certain purposes.

  2. Bob W. permalink
    May 22, 2019 3:42 pm

    That puree looks/sounds delicious. Any guidance on ingredient proportions?

  3. Gabby permalink
    May 22, 2019 4:04 pm

    Ryvita Fruit Crunch Fruit and Oats flavor is the perfect barely-sweet fiber cracker for those without a very sweet tooth. I put cheddar, cottage cheese, or cream cheese on them for dessert.

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