A reminder from my childhood

Published 10:00 am Monday, July 27, 2015

Peanut butter crackers is a snack my mom always had on hand. No matter where we were or what we were doing, Mom was always armed with peanut butter crackers.

In case of headache or hunger pains the crackers solved all aliments. The protein from the peanut butter was an energizer and it was enough to coat the stomach in case an aspirin was needed. It really was the Snickers of its generation.

So why am I talking about crackers?

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Well, one thing that makes me smile is the Mississippian usage of the term Nabs. Growing up, I can’t say I remember hearing anyone refer to peanut butter crackers as Nabs. However, I do know the term. The first time I heard it, years ago on a visit to see family, my mom was surprised I didn’t know its meaning. She said they always called them Nabs when she was younger and I always remembered that.

Since I’ve lived here I’ve heard a couple different people refer to Nabs and smiled each time. For whatever reason, I find it endearing and will probably incorporate it into my vocabulary.

I can’t say I know many people my age who just buy crackers for a snack. I began to wonder if the term was popular in the time frame my mom grew up, or if it is a regional term used only in certain areas.

It seems like the answer is a little of both. While Nabs seems to be a generally Southern term, they also were an actual product from the mid-twentieth century.

The term Nabs is a condensed version of the brand Nabisco which is already short for the National Biscuit Company. From a quick internet search, I have discovered that the actual Nab was discontinued by Nabisco, but has lived on, as peanut butter crackers, through other brands like Lance and Austin.

Then the name debate deepens with the question of peanut butter or cheese filling? The orange cracker or the tan cracker? Some say a true Nab is the peanut butter filled orange cracker. Personally, the thought of an orange cracker always seemed odd to me, but I eat them nonetheless.

I bought a pack of Nabs the other day from a vending machine at work when I didn’t feel well. They are a comforting snack and made me think of my mom.

I commend you Mississippi, and your usage of the term Nabs. It’s uniquely Southern, and I appreciate the retro connotation.

What’s in a name? In this case probably not much really, but I sure hope my mom stocks up her stash of Nabs when she comes to visit this week.