Appetizers & Snacks | Recipes

Is This the Weirdest Snack Ever Invented?

Do you like Velveeta? How about Ritz crackers? How about Heinz ketchup?

How about eating all three together?

If I wrote about this in April, you’d dismiss it as a prank, something that I invented just to scandalize your tastebuds.

I assure you that this is not a joke. It’s not a seventh grade lunchroom double dare or a pantry challenge gone horribly wrong.

It’s a real family recipe and a true “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” experience.

velveeta, ketchup, ritz crackers

Unlike other curious childhood favorites like beet-pickled deviled eggs and sleeping bean salad, research turned up no provenance for this recipe.

Even my dad, a usually reliable source of food memories, can only recall that it was served to him as a completely normal don’t-bat-an-eye snack food in his youth.

He’s the one who passed this unholy alliance along to his cheese-loving daughters and left us to explain what the hell we were making to all roommates and husbands for the next 20 years.

Block Velveeta, not slices, were the norm for this dish, though I also remember a few instances where—and sensitive readers may want to leave the room for this sentence—spray cheese from a can was substituted for the Velveeta layer. Good parenting.

But here’s what I think happened. Velveeta was invented in 1928, Ritz Crackers were born in 1934, and we Pittsburghers all know that Heinz has been in the ketchup business since 1876.

velveeta cheese, junk food

Given the ingredients’ place on the food timeline and our country’s ongoing obsession with cheap, almost-instant edibles, I’m starting to believe this snack might have been a wartime leftover, kind of a poor man’s meatloaf.

Google (as well as your garden-variety community cookbooks and recipe exchanges) turns up a number of recipes for cheeseburger mac, cheesy skillets, bean dip, and meatloaf that involve ketchup, Velveeta, and ground beef.

Take out the expensive protein source, replace it with a cracker, and you’ve got a distinctly working class substitute, though I doubt Bruce Springsteen will ever write a song in this snack’s honor.

But the taste, Casey, the taste! Is it really edible, ’cause it sounds vile?

Despite each component sounding too cloying, too strongly identified with its own flavor profile on its own, something happens when you make a tiny tower of all three ingredients and throw it back for a one-bite adventure.

The ketchup’s sweetness mitigates that weird stick-in-the-back-of-the-throat Velveeta aftertaste, and the Ritz cracker mellows it all.

This could be a from-scratch challenge. I could make my own crackers, my own ketchup, even my own Velveeta with real cheddar cheese and build a completely wholesome version of this strange snack amalgam.

But in this case, and in the rare occasions that I indulge this little game of oddball nostalgia, making it healthier and less perverse seems beside the point.

I’m preserving this specific taste memory as is, letting its little freak-of-nature existence remain intact and celebrating it as a fun family curiosity.

I’m not even asking you to try it, but I do want to know: Is this the weirdest snack you’ve ever heard of?

velveeta, ketchup, ritz crackers

Velveeta Ketchup Crackes

Yield: more than you can eat
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Velveeta and Heinz ketchup on a Ritz cracker? Has anyone else ever tried this weird snack? Velveeta ketchup crackers are surprisingly tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 sleeve Ritz Crackers
  • 1 block Velveeta cheese
  • 1 bottle Heinz ketchup

Instructions

  1. Unwrap the sleeve of Ritz crackers and the block of Velveeta.
  2. Slice off a few pieces of Velveeta and cut into cubes.
  3. Place the cubes atop the Ritz crackers and squirt each with a dollop of Heinz ketchup.
  4. Eat until you start to feel queasy.

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18 Comments

  1. This is a good story, it’s just missing a food. I would do anything for food, but I won’t do that. – The Real Meatloaf.

  2. I grew up on Velveeta so I can understand how this could me your comfort snack. Me, as a kid I’d snack on the rectangular Keebler crackers and butter them, then squeeze the butter through the holes. Yeah, buttered butter crackers, probably not the healthiest…

  3. This unbelievable delicious snack was my main meal in college and grad school.
    I haven’t had it for a while, but I am going to go out and buy some velvetta cheese right now!!

  4. Umm. I don’t know why I’d have any of that stuff in the house, but if it was all I could find and I was really hungry, I might try it. And yeah when I was a kid I ate the Keebler clubhouse crackers, buttered.

    1. Speaking of buttered crackers, does anyone else love to spread salted butter all over matzo as a snack? I’m not even Jewish but I get SUPER excited for Passover because of the matzo-abundance.

  5. Oiy vey! First of all, probably the strangest. Secondly, butter on matzo! YES! But even better, chicken fat on Matzo. Gotta be salted matzo though which is getting more and more difficult to find.

    And while we’re on the Jewish food thing … the childhood dish I sometimes go-to and rarely tell people about — is something my dad liked and my mom rolled her eyes at. He calls it Kosher Spaghetti. It’s Muller’s Spaghetti with margarine, ketchup (Heinz’s, of course) and parm from a green can. I don’t know if he’s eaten it in decades, but I have — albeit with unsalted butter and freshly grated parmesan. Something about the ketchup and parm that really works.

  6. I believe this must come from the Barber side of the family [English]. I can remember visiting my Barber Grandparents in the 60’s, when they lived in California. They actually put ketchup on their pancakes for breakfast. So, putting ketchup on cheese and crakers, would be normal.

  7. What a cute post! I have some very disgusting snacking habits still lingering from youth. But it’s all good, there’s no shame in nostalgia!

    (Tortilla chips + shredded cheddar) x 25 seconds in the microwave + cheap salsa = best meal ever

    1. Dixie Caviar, have you ever done Triscuit Nachos with gruyere in the microwave! Upscale-downscale cheapo nachos. It’s been my dinner oh so many times.

  8. No velveeta in Australia, I’m assuming this would taste like a meatless cheeseburger. Delish.
    When i was a child, my mother would, as a treat, hand us an iceberg lettuce leaf, with raw sugar wrapped up in it. I remember loving the crunchiness of it, but also distinctly thinking my mother was weird, despite her protestations that it was normal when she was a kid.

    1. Pippa, you’re right – it IS kind of like a meatless cheeseburger! Add a pickle and you’re set. I’m intrigued by this sugar on lettuce idea and will have to give it a try. The combo of sweet, salty, and crunchy sounds like it just might work.

  9. hi casey~

    i am super excited to try this and add it to my “down home” appetizer repertoire!

    being from the south, i grew up eating all manner of things salty, sweet and saucy, and sometimes just plain wrong!

    off the top of my head are polski wyrob pickle spears wrapped in bologna and held in place with a toothpick—crunchy& salty& ohso yummy! (thanks granny!)

    daddy did me in with ritz crackers, cream cheese &pickapeppa sauce(http://www.pickapeppa.com/)—similar to your snack, except we doused the whole cream cheese log in this spicy sweet sauce, then spread it all over the ritz! deeelightful!
    another easy daddy snack was canned deviled ham on saltines. so good, but what WAS it??

    and last, but not least is something i picked up while living in cincinnati—-

    dry roasted peanuts mixed in a bowl with candy corn. when you grab a handful & pop it in your mouth, it tastes just like a baby ruth candy bar! go figure…

    thanks for the fun recipes and awesome information on your site~~~

    cheers!

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