Cracker Jack History
Cracker Jack is a brand of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts that is known for its iconic packaging and the inclusion of a surprise toy or prize in each box. The history of Cracker Jack goes back to the late 1800s, when a man named Frederick William Rueckheim began selling a similar product called "Candied Popcorn and Peanuts" at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Rueckheim and his brother Louis soon refined the recipe for their snack, adding molasses to the caramel coating to create a unique flavor. They also came up with the name "Cracker Jack", which was a slang term at the time for something exceptional or first-rate.
The popularity of Cracker Jack continued to grow, and in 1908, the brand began including a small toy or prize in each box as a way to add extra value and encourage repeat purchases. These prizes ranged from small trinkets like miniature books and puzzles to more substantial items like metal toys and even diamond rings.
Cracker Jack's association with baseball also helped to boost its popularity. In 1908, the song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was written, featuring the now-famous line "buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack". This helped to cement Cracker Jack's status as a beloved American snack and a staple of ballparks and sporting events.
Today, Cracker Jack is owned by Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, and is still sold in the iconic red and white striped boxes with a surprise toy or prize inside. While the prizes have changed over the years to reflect changing tastes and trends, the tradition of the Cracker Jack surprise remains a beloved part of the brand's identity.
Cracker Jack Memories
When I think of my childhood and candy, the first thing I think of is cracker jacks! I used to beg for a box of cracker jacks every time we went to the store. They used to always have them by the checkout lanes. I loved the crunchy caramel popcorn, but the big excitement was the prize! How I loved seeing what little booklet of tattoos I got. I used to prolong the thrill by forcing myself not to dig for it. I'd make myself eat 'til I got to it. It is so sad that I never come across cracker jacks in the store anymore. I would love to introduce my young daughter to a favorite of my childhood. ~ Erika from Ohio