Sunday mornings after church, Mom in an easy chair, a box of saltine crackers, brick of cream cheese, tomatoes and a knife; a simple snack began to take shape. She’d spread cream cheese on saltine crackers and sliced tomatoes to put on top. I gobbled these up from my seat at her feet on the floor while watching Sunday morning westerns. Sometimes if I remembered to grab the shaker, more salt was sprinkled on top. These could be open face or if we had extra crackers, sandwiches were nice too. As a child my mother did the same with her father, but instead of a television they sat in front of a radio and listened to westerns.
In college I ate these in my apartment while studying, not a single roommate ever stole these ingredients, my snack was safe. As I got older, I never made it for dinner parties and I never made them for my husband. At some point I even stopped making them for myself. I’m not sure why I stopped making them, maybe because they weren’t a fancy or elevated snack, not really something to brag about. There was a point in my life where I thought special meant complicated and expensive.
Recently I started to think about this snack again and made them for my husband. These ingredients have all been in our house before but had not come together in this way. He liked them so much he looked at our last cherry tomato and said we can’t just leave it alone, so we made four more crackers. Eating this snack together gave us both joy. For my husband he was surprised to have discovered a new snack to enjoy on a summer evening after work. For me it was the ability to share something from my past and have it appreciated by the one I love in the present.