64. Nabs–The Protein Bar of the South

2 Feb

In most Southern households (at least the ones I’ve visited), you’ll find anywhere from two to a dozen packs of nabs, which is what we call any brand of individually wrapped cracker and cheese combos. I don’t know whether people buy them from the grocery store or if fairies deliver them at night, but they’re always there.

Nabs are what you eat when you’re kind of hungry, but not enough to eat an actual meal. Or if you ARE hungry enough to eat an actual meal, but the meal you’re fixin’ to eat isn’t fixed yet. What Southern child hasn’t heard his/her mother say, “Here, have some nabs” or more frequently, “Eat you some nabs”?

Back in the day, I used to like the kind with a cream cheese concoction on captain’s wafers, but peanut butter on cheese crackers would do in a pinch. I used to work with someone who said if you ate the latter variety while drinking a root beer, it tasted like oatmeal. Which begs the question, “Wouldn’t you be better off actually eating oatmeal?”

I hadn’t encountered nabs in years until my nephew Tray came out for a visit with a 12-pack of nabs in tow. He forgot to take them when he left, so they took up residence on the laundry table in the basement for months, till I finally tossed them. In retrospect, I probably should have stashed them in a box labeled “In Case of Apocalypse.” Most likely, they would still be good.

What kind of nabs do you like best?

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20 Responses to “64. Nabs–The Protein Bar of the South”

  1. Implore Vida February 2, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Love it! You can’t go anywhere in South Carolina that has a vending machine and n-o-t see those little packages… and I equate them to the crunchy Twinkies of the south as far as “In Case of Apocalypse” goes. LOL.

    • girloutofdixie February 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Maybe even more nutritional value than Twinkies, if you can imagine that!

  2. 2blu2btru February 2, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Ooh, I love these! My favorite, though, were called NeKot (sp) cookies–slightly sweet with peanut butter in the middle–although the cheese crackers with peanut butter would do in a pinch, as you say. There’s always a box of them in my aunt’s cupboard, although she doesn’t call them nabs, I don’t think (she’s very fancy and spent years up north ;-)).

    I’m really enjoying these posts.

    • girloutofdixie February 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

      I never had the P.B. cookie ones. Those do sound good. In my book “cookie” trumps “cracker” any day of the week.

      Love your north-living, fancy aunt!!

  3. h.abner@yahoo.com February 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Now this does bring back a special memory. I was raised in the deep south. Southeast Georgia. Not Atlanta — far more southern than that.
    I was over 25 years old though before I ever heard the term – “Nabs”. My company had sent me to work in a factory in Mississippi. In the break room I begin to hear comments that had the word in it. Eventually I gave in and asked someone what the hell a nab was. He looked at me funny and told me it was – “The crackers in the vending machine!” I bought some and they were made by the National Biscuit Company. Right or wrong I assumed that “Nab” was short for the biscuit company.
    Hugh

    • girloutofdixie February 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      Ok, I’ll admit I looked it up. You’re right! “Nabs” did originally stand for “Nabisco.”

      • Tegan February 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

        I like that “Nab” sounds like what you should do for these– snatch up some tasty cracker sandwiches! Nab yourself some Nabs NOW! Before they get away… Too funny.

  4. reneemason February 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    I swear to God I’ve been eating these things since childhood and I had no idea they were called that!

    • girloutofdixie February 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      It might be a regional thing. Until I started my blog, I thought calling 7/11 type stores “tote-sums” was Southern. While it IS Southern, it’s apparently specific to Jackson, MS, where there used to be a chain of stores called…wait for it…Tote Sum.

  5. lilzbear February 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I spotted a whole wheat, organic peanut butter variety of these the other day…

    • girloutofdixie February 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      People in Seattle might actually eat those! (myself included)

  6. jenniesisler February 3, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Hey there, I thought I was the only one who knew they were called Nabs:D My favorite were the cheese on cheese kind or the captain’s wafers. I usually just get the peanut butter ones now, but those were my favorite when I was a kid. And as for Nekots, I don’t think it would be physically possible to go to the beach without my father taking them in his cooler for the trip down.

    • girloutofdixie February 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      The last time I bought nabs was probably 7 years ago. I remember not being able to find anything other than the cheese cracker/peanut butter variety. That’s probably why I never looked for them again.

      However, when I was back in MS for Christmas, I was offered some nabs…

  7. cupofkris February 3, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Ah Yes the lovely Nabs!! They are the staple of Southern Life. From driving the tractor in the fields all day to going down to the “crik” to kill some time to just sittin on the porch on a Saturday contemplating which animal to grill for dinner/Supper (depends on which part of the south you are from) They are perfect to ease that craving, too bad they couldn’t have gotten Snickers campaign slogan….

    “hungry? why wait? Grab a pack of Nabs!!”

    • girloutofdixie February 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      Are there parts of the south where supper is called “dinner”? I thought “dinner” was reserved solely for the mid-day meal on Sunday and/or major holidays.

      I agree on Snickers vs. Nabs. I’ve always thought of Snickers as dessert.

      • cupofkris February 21, 2011 at 8:40 am #

        Why yes there is… Most of the time it just refers to any meal after noon…

  8. reelingintheyears.wordpress.com February 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    I do love me some Nekots! A family staple since 1956.

    • girloutofdixie February 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      How on earth did I miss out on all those Nekots y’all have been eating?

    • Rdjinx March 25, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      Yes. Necot is the best!!
      Almost as tasty ad pouring a bag of peanuts in one’s small coke.

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