Triscuit Mystery Solved!

Have you ever lain awake at night wondering where the name Triscuit came from and what could it possibly mean? No? Me either, but apparently some people have, at least a little, and now they can finally sleep easily. It seems that, due to some intrepid detective work (by a comedian), the mystery is solved. It wasn’t ghosts after all but the work of humans.

The punchline is that the name stands for “electric biscuit” — because back in the early 1900s, when Nabisco invented the Triscuit, electricity was a Big New Thing. Everyone was into it. So they presented biscuits baked to perfection using that new-fangled electricity stuff which was clearly superior to any old-fashioned source of heat.

And now, like Pringles and potato-chips in general, they come in lots of flavors and some variations. I don’t know if they’re still electric biscuits, though.

While I’m a big fan of good bread, I’ve never gotten that much into the world of crackers (let alone biscuits, although the buttermilk biscuits at Red Lobster are to die for).

You would never find Saltines in my cupboard, for example, although I do like crumbling them up over a chili or soup (along with some shredded sharp cheddar).

Since the 1970s, I used to buy these Stoned Wheat Thins crackers from Canada (to use over chili or soup), but they weren’t a product that moved quickly and a few times I got a box where the oil in the crackers had gone a bit rancid.

[There’s actually a story behind how I was introduced to the crackers. For now, suffice to say I was in college and someone who knew me thought I’d get a kick out of a cracker called “stoned” — which, of course, yes, totally.]

I suspect it has to do with where I live, a quiet suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, one skewed by a large retirement population. They don’t buy a lot of fancy crackers, is my point. (Not stoned ones, anyway.) When I lived in Los Angeles, although it’s further away from Canada, those crackers were always fresh. Even when I lived closer to town here I never got rancid crackers.

I stopped buying them a while ago. I don’t eat that much chili or soup anymore, anyway. One problem is that, even the smaller cans make a bit too much of a meal for one, especially after I throw on crackers and cheese. At this point in my life I’m not eating such big meals (that often 😉 ).


I do like Triscuits, always have, although I’m more a fan of their Wheat Thins.

In fact, at the moment I’m kinda gaga over the Sun-dried Tomato and Basil flavored Wheat Thins. Can’t keep my hands off them.

The whole grain part in both Triscuits and Wheat Thins allows for some rationalization (“fiber! they’re good for me!”) but the oil content has to give one pause.

When it comes to chips or crackers, try this experiment: Place some on a plain sheet of paper (or paper napkin or paper towel, but for some reason a sheet of paper seems to work best). Come back in 30 minutes or so. Observe how much oil has soaked into the paper. Remember that image.

Pringles will nearly soak the paper in oil. When you mash a bunch of those in your mouth, you can almost feel the oil squeeze out. Horrible things, Pringles. Cloned potato chips, stamped off a press and stacked in a can.

Potato chips should live wild and free in a bag.


It’s Friday, a day some publicists use for dumping news they hope people won’t notice, and a day other people go (or went) out drinking with co-workers.

I was quite a fan of the latter before I retired. I don’t practice the former, but I do sometimes do a rambling potpourri post of bits and ends (I mean odds and pieces) to knock a few notes off by board.

This is one of those.


This is the one!

I subscribed to Scientific American magazine somewhere back in the late 1960s.

A member of my dad’s church had given me a stack of SciAms from the 1950s and early 1960s.

(One of the more well-known issues from that era was the Hologram issue that reported about lasers and holograms. I had that issue! I was fascinated by lasers and holograms. I remember a long-ago science-tech expo where I was able to put my hand in an actual laser beam. Blew my mind.)

Anyway, I got tired of the magazine about a decade or so.

It was a combination of my own understanding of science moving on to more direct scientific sources, journals, papers, and other outlets intended for scientists (or people with the right background) and changes to the magazine.

Scientific American used to be more oriented to hard-core science readers. There was a time when just about any given article reached a point somewhere in the text where things got above my head. (But the diagrams looked cool.)

I think they began to seek a wider audience and therefore brought down the technical level. A lot. Between my growing education and their change in orientation, I found myself bored.

Upper right of below page.

And I’ve always been a bit askance at their advertisements policy. They seem to take ads from some questionable sources, especially considering their mission as a science magazine. I’ve never understood that.

I figured I wasn’t getting anything out of it, the issues just made more recycling, so I unsubscribed.

(And did they pester me for years to resubscribe? You bet they did.)

The point of all this is that I’ve been slowly throwing out my old issues of SciAm.

“Slowly” because, just for fun, I’m thumbing through each issue over breakfast. When I finish an issue, out to the recycle bin it goes.

Last week, I opened the November 2005 issue. I actually didn’t notice the banner at top. The cover story was about gravity, which caught my eye.

I paged through all the front columns, skipped the long advertising section, and got to the first main article of the issue:

Whoa! This looks familiar.

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming long ago.


So I was listening to ATC videos of “Kennedy Steve” at JFK. He’s famous for being kinda funny, and he’s a hoot to listen to. (The “videos” just consist of large captions across the screen.)

Since Steve works Ground Operations…

Large airports divide ATC operations between Arrivals, Departures, Tower, Ground, and Clearance Delivery.

The first two deal with aircraft approaching or departing the airport space, Tower handles runway operations (runways are legally separate spaces from the rest of the airport), Ground handles taxiing aircraft, and Clearance gives pilots clearance to fly their routes.

JFK Airport in New York

…As I said, Steve works ground — he deals with taxiing aircraft, and as I also said, he’s a hoot to listen to. Since he’s giving instructions about taxiing, it’s helpful to have an airport diagram labeling all the taxiways.

They’re readily available online. See iFlightPlanner, for example.

I wanted a clearer idea of the terminals and roads and such, so I went to Google Earth to get a satellite view of JFK:

JFK in early 2020!

It took a moment to notice, but when I zoomed in… no planes!

The satellite image of my airport, MSP, was the same. LAX has a bunch of planes. JFK and MSP are handling traffic, so I suppose the satellite photos were taken at the height of the shutdown.


That’s all I got for today. It was mainly about the Triscuits.

I don’t know why the article caught my fancy, but it did. I’d never thought about the name until it was brought up, but then I’m like, yeah, what the heck is a Triscuit?

Now we know.

Stay crackers, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

12 responses to “Triscuit Mystery Solved!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    To commemorate John Conway, I’ve been working on my own version of Life…

  • rung2diotimasladder

    I always thought Triscuits were biscuits (what the British call crackers) with three layers. Hm.

    interesting find in Sci. Am. They predicted what’s going on now, but I bet they never imagined Trump being president!

    I’m noticing a lot of planes in the sky now. I miss the quiet.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Electric Biscuits. I think that’s a hoot! It’s so totally an early 1900s thing to do. It’s kind of like that astronaut freeze-dried “ice cream” — and almost science fiction-y product you can buy. I do eat a lot of Triscuits, and they definitely have two layers, a definite front and back piece joined at the edges — I sometimes find a separate front (or back, who can tell). The thing is, those broken-off pieces seem too thin to be half the biscuit, so you might be right there’s a third layer or filling lurking inside. Never thought about it until you said it, and then I realized those side pieces are really thin… Hm, indeed.

      You know who did predict Trump? Mike Judge. Ever seen the movie Idiocracy? President Comocho and that POS in the WH have a lot in common (starting with stunning ignorance).

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I’ve recently rediscovered Triscuits. We had some flavored version sitting around…absolutely disgusting. But the plain ones are good. That said, I tend to like the classic version of things, especially when it comes to junk food.

        No I haven’t seen that movie, but I’ll look into it since I’m looking for something to watch. I hope it’s on Netflix!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I don’t care for most of the flavors, but the Fire Roasted Tomato is okay. They’re a lot better with something on them. Cream cheese works well, maybe a bit of salami or ham. As I said in the post, I much prefer their Wheat Thins.

        Unfortunately, Idiocracy doesn’t seem to be on Netflix. Hulu has it, I think. Amazon Prime might.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oops, hit [Send] too quickly. The planes. Yeah, things are starting up again. People have gotten restless. It’s probably a bad idea; this isn’t over.

      It’s kinda cool how pollution went down (think that’s a lesson we’ll remember?) and how the animals have free reign of the parks now. It would be nice to think this ends up being a wake-up call and we actually learn and progress from it…

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Yeah, it would be nice if we learned…but there’s no sign of learning happening where I’m at. Cases are going up here, but we’re opening for business. I dunno. It could work if people would actually stay six feet apart and wear masks and so on, but you can’t count on people doing the right thing. Not here. I didn’t see much of a drop in traffic even when things were shut down. People just went to the grocery store to hang out…bringing with them their entire families. I get the sense from talking to some people that they are thisclose to saying coronavirus doesn’t exist.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Now I’m wondering if I’m just unaware or if we have a different mood up here. Traffic went pretty dead for several weeks, although it’s been picking up lately. The stores all have stickers on the ground to show people where to stand, and they’ve installed plastic shields in front of cashiers. And they usually have to wipe down stuff before the next person comes through.

        I do read about places where people are actively protesting, though. If some are right, the truth is going to come out in a brutal and very real way.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Yeah, the stores here are doing the same things. They kind of have to, or risk losing business. It’s really the people shopping that don’t seem to have a clue.

        And yeah, Arizona is one of those places where people are protesting, although that’s more in Phoenix. Some Republicans are listening to Trump, others aren’t. I guess I should be glad some aren’t.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Ever since you talked about this I’ve been paying more attention, and I see it is going on in nearby Wisconsin, for instance. I think there are “out state” (as we say) people here involved in some of that, too.

        “Out state” refers to the regional and political divide. The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) are strongly liberal and democratic. To the dismay of the more conservative rural folks, the population in the cities is enough to make the state lean blue. (Those rural folks often call us city dwellers “citiots” because of it.)

        Somehow it always surprised me Arizona leaned so far right. I tend to think of the Southwest as liberal, so it always causes me a moment of frisson when I encounter how Republican the state is. (We should take the Grand Canyon away from the state, give it to New Mexico, maybe. 😀 )

      • rung2diotimasladder

        It is interesting the way NM is liberal, but AZ is conservative. I have no idea why that is. I’d love to just blame Phoenix, as usual, but even here in liberal Tucson it feels like a pretty evenly mixed bag. I like that no one can make political assumptions about you; keeps us on our toes!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Maybe it’s because it’s a retirement destination, lots of older folks?

        I somehow feel like Florida should be a liberal state (maybe due to the Spring Break stuff?), but it’s very conservative even though it’s not really “The South.”

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