One of the cost-saving decisions my family made a few years back was to cut the cable cord. We supplement basic channels with streaming and it seems to be enough. I don’t feel I miss much sans the umpteen-zillion channels we used to have. Except. I miss The Cooking Channel. I adored and followed so many shows and it was there that I first met Chuck Hughes.
It was love at first sight with Chef Hughes. My being married, his (gorgeous) girlfriend, and never having met him didn’t deter me in the least. I fell madly and deeply. This charming tattooed French-Canadian sweetheart of a restaurateur and chef (whew!) first starred in Chuck’s Day Off, following it up with Chuck’s Week Off and Chuck’s Eat the Street. He was always fun, kind, generous, humorous, and truly creative in his kitchen. He showed me how to make DIY ice cream cones. And Chocolate Stout Cakes. And Tequila Lemonade.
Chuck and I have since parted ways, though I remember his shows fondly. And when I realized we were out of saltine crackers–an essential for the (canned!) chicken noodle soup my youngest seems to live on–I remembered him having a recipe for DIY soda crackers. It was an easy enough dough to throw together, though the recommended 18-hour rise time meant I couldn’t bake them properly in time for that night’s supper. Instead, I baked up just one tray and let the remaining dough continue rising.
That first night’s batch overbrowned–my generous way of saying I burnt those crackers. What surprised me, though, was that every single (burnt) cracker was gobbled up. Containing only flour, salt, baking soda, water, and a brush of butter, the crackers had a simple and basic flavor, nearly identical to that of storebought saltines. Excited to see how they turned out when baked for the recommended amount of time, I rolled out the chilled dough the next night.
True to course, my crackers were a bit rustic in their appearance, none being the same shape or size. This gave them different doneness levels in the 12-minute bake time. (I found the 15 to 20 minutes recommended to be too long.) Some were crunchy and browned, some pillowy and much lighter in color.
But again, the crackers were devoured and I’m thrilled to have found another processed food that I can now bring in-house. Eternal gratitude to Chuck Hughes, my first TV chef crush.