Rooting through my kitchen cupboards the other day, I found a long-lost packet of oyster crackers, manufactured by the Westminster Bakers Company and liberated from the world-famous Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant in New York.
The crackers have a literary connection. In the short story ‘007 in New York’, we learn that James Bond is fond of oyster stew accompanied by cream and crackers, while in the New York chapter of his Thrilling Cities volume, Ian Fleming considered that creamed oyster stew and crackers was the only dish that had maintained its integrity in the city. It’s likely that the crackers that Ian Fleming had with his stews (and the ones that he had in mind when writing about Bond’s reflections in New York) were the type produced by the Westminster Bakers Company.
The crackers themselves are traditionally the size and shape of buttons and are perfect for sprinkling on top of creamy chowders and, of course, oyster stew. They are made with wheat flour, baking powder, yeast, salt and sugar, and can be made quite easily at home. I’ve not tried them myself, but how about having a go at this recipe or this one here. Let me know how you get on! A recipe for oyster stew can be found in my cookbook.