Photo: Kate Bernot
Rec RoomHearty recommendations from The Takeout staff.  

Just like there’s always money in the banana stand, there’s always cheese in the Bernot fridge. Slices, wedges, bricks—if it’s not a hunk leftover after grating it for a recipe, it’s an impulse-bought, ash-ripened goat cheese that called to me from the specialty food store. And ever since Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuits entered my life, those cheeses have finally met their perfect vehicle.

I’ve always liked Triscuits’ heftier texture as compared to other crackers, which makes them an equal partner to the generous widths of my cheese slices. I think I may have first bought the Cracked Pepper And Olive Oil flavor by accident, or otherwise I was just feeling especially daring on a particular grocery run. After discovering the crackers’ piquant pepperiness and initial zing of garlic powder, I’ve stopped buying any other flavor. Pepper and olive oil are this variety’s touted flavors, but the olive oil doesn’t much come into play. Instead, it’s all about the serious dose of pepper—I could imagine a kid declaring these crackers “too spicy”—and the sneaky dusting of garlic and onion powder that I referred to as a certain je ne sais quoi until I simply read the ingredients label.

A cheesemonger might chide me for introducing additional flavors to the cheese-eating process—maybe a tasteless water cracker would be a purist’s choice—but I am a cheese libertarian and I snack as I please. During warmer months, my pantry tends to also include homemade summer sausage from one of my boyfriend’s hunter friends. Slap a slice of that on the cheese-topped crackers and I’ve created cheap charcuterie nirvana. I pack the cheese, meat, and crackers for summer picnics, and I look forward to that snack more than any other in our lineup. Other crackers’ thinner texture and lack of flavors just don’t stand a chance against a pile of half-inch slices of encased meat and cheese.

If you like your cheese snacks piled high, I challenge you to find a more delicious serving vessel.