Animal Crackers are a popular children's snack. They are are crackers in the shape of zoo animals packaged in a small box with a string handle.
The D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Company is credited with the production of the first Animal Crackers at their York, PA plant in 1871. They currently make crackers in the shape of 13 different animals... bear, buffalo, camel, cat, cow, donkey, elephant, goat, hippo, horse, lion, rhino and tiger. [more below]
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Barnum's Animal Crackers introduced the circus theme in the now-familiar box designed for the 1902 Christmas season with the innovative idea of attaching a string to hang the small box from a Christmas tree branch. Previously the small crackers were sold in bulk "cracker barrels."
I remember when I was little girl how I would gaze at the animal cracker display in the grocery store. At the end of the cookie aisle there was always a special display of animal cracker boxes stacked up one on top of the other like a pyramid.
I was fascinated by the little boxes of animal crackers, and they were especially unique because they had a little handle on top by which to carry the box. As I would stare at the boxes I would imagine myself at the school yard holding my animal cracker box by the handle so that it resembled a little lunchbox. What an amazing lunch it would have been! Fortunately, my mom always gave in to my school yard fantasy and allowed me to purchase a box whenever we went grocery shopping. I loved the light not too sugary taste as well as the cute little animal shapes of the crackers.
Even as an adult I still love to purchase a box of animal crackers and carry it by the handle, feeling like a kid again. ~ Indira from California