Bertha’s Rice Krispies Cheese Crackers

And a bit about La Leche League.

Compare this version from the November 14, 1978 edition of the Laurel (Mississippi) Leader-Call:

Rice Crispy
Cheese Treats

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (one 8 oz. pkg.)
2 sticks margarine, melted
2 cups flour
2 cups rice crispies
red pepper, season to taste

Mix ingredients together and chill slightly. Roll into tiny balls and press flat with fork, (like peanut butter cookies). Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Mrs. Sylvia B. Williams
12 Shady Lane
La Leche League

You might be wondering what “La Leche League” is — but probably not, unless you’re a single guy like myself. Obviously, I haven’t had much need to cross paths with the group, which offers information and support about breastfeeding.

There is an interesting food history tie-in, though. So while I wait for mothers to add to this post in the comments, here’s a bit about that.

When La Leche League was founded, only about one in five American others still breastfed their children. That has a lot to do with improvements in the dairy industry after World War I (which we talked about in the post for Yeast Rolls from Kent, Ohio), including pasteurization and surplus capacity at milk condensing plants that would lead to pre-mixed liquid formulas.

While breastfeeding had historically been the preference, there had always been a need for substitutes to breast milk, because not every mother produces enough milk (or any, in some cases) and babies would be separated from their mothers by death, enslavement, or other Bad Stuff. Until the mid-19th century, pap was the normal food: milk-soaked bits of bread spoon-fed to the infant with a tapered, sometimes covered, “pap spoon.” Powdered formula took over by the early decades of the 20th century, and liquid formula (helped by the surplus capacity at milk condensers) was introduced around 1950.

Keeping in mind that it was also fashionable around 1950 to eat prepared foods as a sign of affluence, infant formula went from a necessary backup to a first choice for a lot of families. So that’s what caused concerned mothers to form the League, and their work has turned the statistics on their head: in 2013, four out of five American mothers breastfed their babies at least some of the time.

Which doesn’t really have anything to do with these crackers. Just sayin’.

While this recipe seems to have emerged in in the late 1960s or early 1970s, Kellogg’s had always envisioned that Krispies would reach beyond the breakfast table. Consider this early advertisement from the July 20, 1928 edition of The San Antonio Light, from the first year of their launch, which suggests putting them in soup and eating them with butter and salt:

From a box sold in Warren, Michigan.

Rice Krispies Cheese Crackers (Bertha)

2 cups sharp cheese
2 sticks butter
2 cups regular flour
2 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Cream butter and cheese; add balance ingredients. Make small balls and cross tops with fork. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 10 to 15 minutes, 375 deg.

One Comment

  1. jean f wines

    EPIC FAIL! I don’t know what I did wrong but they turned out dry and crumbly. I tried with more butter and they just all melted together.

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