Saudi Arabia: How About Cracker Barrel in the Kingdom?

Throughout most of the United States there is a restaurant chain called Crackle Barrel.  Crackle Barrel restaurants are known for their “down home” cooking and breakfast which can be served at anytime.  In addition, each Crackle Barrel restaurant has an extensive gift shop with unique gifts and gifts from America’s past.

When my Saudi family visited Abdullah and I when we lived in the States we took a road trip from Virginia to Florida.  It became a treat to watch the road signs advertising the next Crackle Barrel restaurant along our route.  My stepchildren enjoyed Crackle Barrel from the food, to the atmosphere, and to the unique gifts.

This is a chain that I believe could work in the Kingdom.  There would need to be some modifications with the menu such as removing pork items.  The drinks menu can remain intact.  Crackle Barrel does not sell alcohol and has a wide selection of tasty teas. The portions at Crackel Barrel are Saudi sized and one eats heartily.

Every Crackle Barrel is designed the same with a wide porch which has old fashioned rocking chairs facing each other up and down the porch.  These chairs are for purchase and also for the enjoyment of the customers.

Saudi Arabia has demonstrated it likes American restaurants.  I think Crackle Barrel is another one that should be considered.

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47 Responses

  1. Carol…

    I don’t know if you are making a joke but living in N.C. it is hard for me to believe that you don’t know that it is called “CRACKER Barrel” Not “Crackle Barrel”. Oh my, I love the food here and when I travel down south I always make a stop or two. True country (and southern cooking). You didn’t mention that everyone of the restaurants has a huge working real wood burning fireplace that runs in the fall and winter. Mmmm…love that smell. They also have all the old time candy and treats that are impossible to find nowadays. There is also a gift shop with old fashioned toys I remember as a kid and really lovely gift items if you are into platters, dishes and other country knick knacks (which my mom is!) They have a lending library via books on CD. You buy the CD and when you return it to any one of the Cracker Barrels (showing your receipt) they give you your money back…or you can get another. I have listened to some interesting books while driving that way!

    They sell the best peppermint sticks that melt in your mouth that I have not found elsewhere. And they make the best lemonade on the planet!!! Tart and sweet at the same time (fresh with some pulp in it) all served up in a frost covered glass to keep it cold while you drink every last drop!

    I am NOT getting paid by Cracker Barrel…I just love their restaurants and it is such a treat when we travel.

  2. It looks nice there! We don’t have it here in Scotland (or anywhere in Europe I guess?), actually the majority of restaurants except the obvious American chains like McDonalds are independent. But I bet it would do well anywhere 🙂

  3. We have two Cracker Barrels in my rather narrow county. They are only along interstates if I remember correctly so you won’t find them in out-of-the-way places.

    Did you know the early stores sold gasoline? And the first one was in Lebanon, Tennessee. I was just reading the history. 🙂

    http://www.crackerbarrel.com/about-us/~/link.aspx?_id=D8EB3781BA8C4BFB980E116ABE0035A2&_z=z

  4. Considering a large portion of the Cracker Barrel menu consists of smoke ham and sugar cured bacon, I’m thinking Cracker Barrel won’t fly in KSA. The beef strips and beef “ham” just don’t measure up to the real thing.

  5. @linda

    I agree that it would be difficult to find replacements for the pork/ham items on the Cracker Barrel menu.

  6. Yeah and even without the out and out pork menu items, Southerners (perhaps others too??) use pork to flavor a lot of vegetables (pinto beans, green beans). That’s what makes them so good! There would have to be a lot of tweaking to the way food is prepared as well as menu items to make it good enough for KSA. Perhaps they could replace all the pork items with lamb and camel.

  7. Oh no…pork! The ONE sin Saudi/Arabs/Muslims won’t touch. *serious snark here*

  8. Yeah, when I asked a friend about why Muslims go to the West and have unIslamic sexual encounters, but then refrain from pork like God hates that they ate a ham biscuit more than the fact they are living with girlfriends, he said “well, we aren’t tempted by pork, but women…”

    So I felt a little better that we women are better than pigs. 😉

  9. Oh my….I wrote this post shortly after returning home from having chemotherapy and see what I do! Yes; I sure know it is indeed Cracker Barrel and not Crackle Barrel.

    I always go there prior to the holidays so I can get my son’s favorite “Goo Goo Clusters” and plenty of the stick candies for their stockings. This most recent visit I even found a hat for my Grandson which says “I want to go to Grandma’s House!” (couldn’t resist that)

    I’m glad folks are checking out the web site and learning more of the history of this fascinating restaurant and store.

  10. And how will segregation change the ‘flavour’ of the restaurant???

    Like many chains in ME countries pork will be replaced just as McDonalds had to drop beef and fries made with beef drippings in India.

  11. Part of the reason that pork is not eaten in certain areas of the world is that unless there are high food standards (such as those found in the US), there are certain bacteria that are found in pork products that have the potential to make a person seriously ill. So it’s not just religious- it’s also for health reasons.

    I honestly can’t stand the flavor of veggies that have bacon added to them for flavor (green beans in particular come to mind). I like my veggies plain with just a little salt and pepper. (Too much butter on veggies tastes nasty, too, in my opinion.) So leaving out the bacon flavoring in veggies sounds like an improvement in my mind!

    The chicken dumplings at Cracker Barrel are good, too.

    It would be interesting to see the menu changes. I am not sure how well it would do in KSA or the UAE, but it would also be interesting to see how well it performed in the UK. One problem would be finding people who knew how to cook the food properly, though. Ever try to find “biscuits and gravy” outside the southern US? It would be interesting to see how the formula changes when beef/lamb is used instead of pork for the sausage in the gravy.

    One of the coolest things about Cracker Barrel is being able to play checkers or the peg solitaire game while you’re waiting for your food. And of course, the best part is no one having to cook or clean the dishes at home for that meal! 😉

  12. I tried the Cracker Barrel once, and though the atmosphere was nice, I found the food blah and tasteless. You needed to add a lot of butter and salt to flavor it up. My husband just added a bottle of hot sauce to his meal. lol!

  13. Saudi’s wouldn’t eat here. The connection with pork is too strong and would get around. To be safe they would not chance it.

  14. This post inspired me to try a Cracker Barrel-ish dish would be like in the Middle East/Asia. I made smothered pork chops with with onions and mushrooms but I seasoned with some garam masala added to the coating/thickening flour and then baked over brown rice. OMG! Delicious!

  15. Strangeone -millions of people all over the world in third world countries eat pork without dying or getting sick from trichinosis. Most Asian and South American countries do not have the best health depts either. Beside if you cook pork correctly trichinosis isn’t a problem. The only reasons to not eat pork is religious reasons or personal dislike. The theory that God banned pork because it’s unhealthy or dangerous is BS imo.

  16. Maybe if the store flavored the food with alcohol Saudis wouldn’t mind trying it then. 😉

  17. “The theory that God banned pork because it’s unhealthy or dangerous is BS imo.”

    Well, onigirifb, label it what you want, but you are not going to convince me that you know better than Allah. Although not everything from Allah has a reasoning for us mere mortals behind it, Allah knows why He has prohibited something.

    Thank you, coolred, for not disappointing and being the first to take a stab at the “muslims.” We actually made it to 6 responses this time without the usual “muslim” hit. When are you going to place nice?

    Why do many of you insist that the prohibition of pork is awarded to us muslims? Some of you may need to reread your own holy books.
    Restrictions of pork exist in Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut), and in Muslim dietary laws (Halal), it originates first from the laws of the Hebrew Bible, and later reinforced for the Muslims in the Quran.

    Also among Christians, Seventh-day Adventists consider pork taboo, along with other foods forbidden by Jewish law. Many Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox groups also discourage pork consumption, although, with the exception of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the prescription is rarely enforced.

    Leviticus 11:7-8

    And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he [is] unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they [are] unclean to you.

    Deuteronomy 14:8

    And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it [is] unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.

    According to Jewish law, pork is one of a number of foods forbidden from consumption by Jews. These are of the known “non-kosher” foods. In order for a meat to be kosher, it must first come from a kosher animal. A kosher animal must be a ruminant and have split hooves – therefore cows, sheep, goats and deer are all kosher, whereas camels and pigs (having each only one sign of kashrut) are not kosher.

    The pig is the only common livestock animal that has split hooves but which is not a ruminant – its external aspect makes it appear kosher, while it is not.

    Cracker Barrel ain’t gonna happen here.

  18. It’s always made me wonder why God changed his mind about camels, lobster and shrimp being OK to eat now, but pigs remained the only food (as far as I know) from the list that Muslims consider taboo still. Hebrews were allowed alcohol so at least there is that.

    Makes me wonder if pigs have had a successful “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign from ancient times. That’s a play on Chick-fil-A’s cows in case they are not in your area. See photo here:

    http://blog.thelodgeoneldoradocamapts.com/around-town/get-a-free-breakfast-at-chick-fil-a-in-webster/

  19. robinrcks..I happen to know Saudis quite like alcohol…the number one reason they flock to Bahrain every weekend. I wasn’t being mean..just making an observation. And I did say Saudi’s…not muslims. There is a difference. 😉 Glad I didn’t disappoint.

    The reason pork is stilll prohibited is because whomever wrote those holy books didn’t care for it…and thus…nobody could have it.

  20. Coolred, reread your “saudis/arabs/muslims…”

    Not disputing SOME Saudis liking alcohol, unfortunately.

  21. Pork was banned for religious reasons back in the old days but it really was to protect the people from food-born illness. Pork and shellfish CAN be deadly if not cooked properly or in the case of shellfish, harvested at the wrong time. I even understand the Kosher kitchen as a means to avoiding food poisoning. I do not believe these ‘rules’ came from Allah but from whoever was writing books to keep people safe physically and spiritually. A few Muslims and Jews who understand the logic of the ban in the old days also understand these things are okay to eat now and will probably do so. Mormons have dietary restrictions that make sense to me if you want people to be healthy so I guess there are/were good intentions at one point that really do not apply now. I also understand that in a case where one might starve the poor pig is not safe even in the Muslim and Jewish worlds. 🙂

  22. Let’s see, Wendy:
    So there “are/were good intentions at one point that really do not apply now.”
    So, all the pretentious, food borne illnesses that are rampant TODAY are just “scare tactics?” What about the bacterium like Salmonella & E. Coli, Staph (exotoxin), Norovirus , and the rare, but potentially deadly Botulism, and a nasty amount of various worms? There are countless others, to be sure. Are those outdated as well? Do these not apply now?
    I have yet to meet a muslim that would violate the no pork code.

    But, yes, it IS allowed in the case of life or death and that being the only option. As is alchohol.

  23. ‘I have yet to meet a muslim that would violate the no pork code.’

    Perhaps they just don’t share that fact with you? Do the ones that drink alcohol share it with you?

    ‘Are those outdated as well? Do these not apply now?’

    Ummm, YES! Now that we’ve learned how to prepare, cook and store food safely AND wash our hands after using the bathroom etc. As a matter of fact, due to this new knowledge restaurants serving pork no longer require cooking to ‘well-done’. Was there ever a ‘biblical’ ban on Blow fish or was being ‘licensed to prepare it’ enough back then too?
    🙂

  24. Lynn, actually, lying about the alcohol is harder than you might think, so it has been blatantly put up front, so no need to TRY to hide it. In other words, YES, the fact is shared. As soon as they order it! It’s almost done in an I-dare-you-to-say-something fashion.

    Sorry, Lynn. I didn’t get your last paragraph.

  25. I agree with Wendy. I think that there was a logical reason that pork was banned..perhaps disease…and it was given the stamp of religiously banned by the writers of the Holy Books. Orthodox Jews need to keep Kosher avoiding mixing meat and milk. Why? I don’t know and my friend who grew up orthodox is not sure either, but in his family they had to keep totally separate so much so that there was an entire set of dishes and cooking utensils for meat and one set for milk. Most of the world does not do that today without adverse affects…there must have been a health reason for it that was given the stamp of religiously banned by God (really via the writers of the Old Testament.) I personally believe a lot of the bans came from a logical, health related reason rather than God deemed it so. There are a lot more disgusting things eaten on the face of the earth than pork none of which is banned.

  26. Imagine pork meat in that Saudi desert sun…of course it will make people sick on a regular basis without refrigeration. The next obvious step when you want people to do something without question (whether for their health or for your gain) is to forbid it according to god.

    The prophet said kill all black dogs as they have jinns in them…anyone want to argue that is a valid logical claim today?

  27. ‘Sorry, Lynn. I didn’t get your last paragraph’

    It was in response to this: ‘So, all the pretentious, food borne illnesses that are rampant TODAY are just “scare tactics?” What about the bacterium like Salmonella & E. Coli, Staph (exotoxin), Norovirus , and the rare, but potentially deadly Botulism, and a nasty amount of various worms? There are countless others, to be sure. Are those outdated as well? ‘

    A LOT of things that we were taught to fear are taken out of the equation with education. There is NO way I would eat a blow fish that I prepared since I don’t understand the safety precautions necessary to avoid the deadly poison but there are people that are licensed to be able to prepare it safely so that I could eat it. (not that I would, 😉 but at least others are able to eat it safely) But seriously, how frequently do you hear about deadly food borne illnesses? Almost NEVER thanks to education and proper sanitation.

  28. Considering we have nearly 7 billion people on this planet…the occurences of food born diseases is less likely than car and airplane accidents. When it does happen, the media hypes it up and makes it sound like the apocolypse is coming,,,,meanwhile only a handful of people were affected. (not that that is acceptable but compared to the possibilities…its’ a drop in the ocean)

    Lynn, for some reason…hearing you and blowfish in the same sentence just make me giggle. 😉

  29. LOL

  30. Less likely than car and airplane accidents? Oh, I thought you guys were more aware than that.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs237/en/

    I would have pasted it for you, but its really too long.

  31. @robin -‘WHO is developing policies that will further promote the safety of food. These policies cover the entire food chain from production to consumption and will make use of different types of expertise.’

    THAT was what I was talking about, education and sanitation. Bans are NOT necessary. Too bad WHO wasn’t around in Mohammed’s days, eh?

  32. Weird how Allah didn’t see fit to ban eating monkeys (eaten by Africans as that’s the cause of AIDS and a whole bunch of other nasty diseases) or cows cause that causes mad cow disease or etc etc …..I think you get where I am going here. I think AIDS has probably killed more people then trichinosis. So Allah/G-d forgot to be omniscient and look at these times? Silly Allah.

  33. Oh and BTW Seven Day Adventist ban ALL meat.

  34. Vegetariian friends — go veg and all your problems religious and otherwise will be solved 🙂 just kidding,

    solved the problemin our house, F won’t need to pork and any otehr meat … solves everyone’s issues .

    i thnk Pork ban was more that Pigs usually wallow in filth ( or atleast hat’s the image) and i guess inthose days rather than risk filth in your food it was easier to say god said !!!!

    Now coming to alcohol, I love my weekend glass of wine and am a sucker for a good margharita .. 1/2 a glass is my limit .but F takes great pleasure in spiking my margharita …

    see now you people are making me want one and i’m at work… tsk tsk..

  35. @radhaa – ‘but F takes great pleasure in spiking my margharita …’

    TMI radhaa, T.M.I. ! 😉

  36. Oby,
    I can’t believe your orthodox Jewish friends don’t know, “thou shalt not boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk”. Exodus 23:19. All the dairy/meat laws are derived from that. Kid meaning a goat not a human of course. It was not a health based ruling at all.

    Coolred- I’d love to see your source where Muhammed said to kill all the black dogs. There was something about black dogs being Jinn, and something about killing dogs- but I don’ think they were at the same time. And there was a rabies outbreak when the order to kill dogs came out. It was a specific response to a situation- which morons have decided was a judgement on all dogs for all time.

    Onigiri,
    Muslims are not allowed to eat Monkeys. It just doesn’t come up often.

  37. Sandy….very very few muslims know that there was a rabies outbreak at that time…but whether or not that was the reason for ordering the killing of dogs is not clear. Im sure my sources are the same as yours…what difference does it make if the two go together or not…end result…lifelong need to torture and kill dogs merely for existing.

    Muslim Morons seem to have more control over Islam than the prophet or god ever did. 😉

  38. It seems like a pretty standard reason to kill the dogs. Muslims also don’t seem to notice that dogs are actually in the Quran and they are not viewed as evil creatures.

    Sadly, at least right now with regard to dogs- you’re right about the Muslim Morons 😦

  39. Well Sandy…

    He is not NOW an orthodox Jew so maybe he never knew…I don’t know, but that is what he told me. Maybe he didn’t understand it and I, having no idea didn’t question or contradict him because I knew less than he did about it. But I am glad to know where it comes from. But still for me that doesn’t change that I think there had to be some health related or other issue. WHY not to boil goat in milk? It had to come from somewhere and for a reason. And if it came from God in the first place why not in Christianity or Islam? Or is it in Islam? and if not why would God change his rules? Or maybe they (the rules) changed in response to it no longer being a need(if I knew why that rule came about in the first place.)

  40. Oby and Sandy, I see that meat and milk thing as being along the same lines of ‘halal’ slaughter rules against letting that which is about to be slaughtered witness the slaughter of another. Seems to me to be just another example of how a rule made for compassion’s sake being taken to an extreme.

  41. It would be cruel to boil a kid in it’s own mothers milk. That is the original issue. Avoiding a cruel act. Jewish scholars derived all the milk/meat rules from thar. It is one of the examples , to me, where clergy way overcomplicate something God said and make it very complex. Clergy in all faiths in my opinion, often do that.

  42. Exactly Lynn. I agree- though I’m not sure how the halal slaughter rule you mention has been taken to extreme. It just seems humane to me.

  43. Sandy. Look up bush meat and see the prevelance among Africans (many who are Muslims) that have caused nasty diseases. My point is that if the belief is that if Allah banned pork for health reason he would have served humanity a lot better if he had also banned other animals. The banning pork for health reasons is just modern people trying to make religion logical or justify their BELIEF/FAITH.

    Mormons do it too. Hot drinks are banned by God and people assume it’s because there is caffeine in hot (coffee and tea) drinks therefore soda with caffeine is a sin to drink too. *roll eyes*

  44. As for the alcohol question, one of my muslim friends once told me that in the Q’ran, there are three different places where it mentions alcohol. One mentions not to drink it before prayer times, one mentions drinking it sparingly, and another mentions not drinking it at all or something like that. Since Muslims are supposed to think for themselves and use their best judgement, it is up to the individual how they choose to interpret this. Please correct me if I’m wrong; this is more or less what I was told by one of my more moderate Muslim friends.

    Most of the Muslims I know take this to mean that they aren’t supposed to drink at all while others believe that drinking in moderation is okay. However, I know quite a few that do choose to drink -whether or not they think it’s wrong spiritually- and they don’t usually hide it from their friends (although parents and family are another matter). The ones I know who smoke also usually will not do so in front of their families, even if their father smokes.

    The pork issue, however, is another matter. I know very few who eat pork, and usually when they do it is by mistake or accident. I honestly do not care for pork much at all because the flavor isn’t all that great compared with other meats IMO. I can easily see how someone who didn’t grow up with it on the menu would find it distasteful as far as how it tastes, particularly if they already are predisposed to dislike it.

    As for pork possibly causing illnesses elsewhere in the world these days due to lax meat processing regulations, I will have to double check my sources.

    Interestingly, one Muslim I know doesn’t like to eat meat and drink milk at the same time.

    @Radhaa,
    “Now coming to alcohol, I love my weekend glass of wine and am a sucker for a good margharita .. 1/2 a glass is my limit .but F takes great pleasure in spiking my margharita …
    see now you people are making me want one and i’m at work… tsk tsk..”

    I ❤ your sense of humor! LOL.

  45. Sandy, I didn’t mean to imply that the halal slaughter rule was extreme (but I think you know I can tell you of examples of halal extremism) but I think that the cheeseburger one is. The halal one has a live animal with ‘potential’ feelings and the other is ‘dead meat’ and if it has feelings then I’m DONE with eating meat!!

  46. Sandy…

    Thanks for your response. I can see how that would make sense, I guess, if a goat could think rationally like humans…but I see how it would make humans feel better as they might project those feelings of humanity onto an animal…though I wouldn’t have thought that people of that time would be that sentimental. Kind of like how farmers view their livestock as potential food.

    Lynn…your point is well taken too. I actually read somewhere once that slaughtering beef, they start at the back of the herd and work forward so that the ones in front can’t see the ones behind falling thereby panicking them. Don’t know if it is true but it seemed like it might work.

  47. Oby, I don’t think about the slaughter. I don’t care HOW it is carried out but if I think about it I can’t eat it. My husband and kids used to mess with me at dinner all the time and try to bring up thoughts of whatever it was we were eating as a living thing just to try to get to me. Yeah, if I was a such a horrible mother then I’d say they DESERVED it for all they put ME through!! LOL

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