Thursday, January 14, 2010

I found a koala in my animal crackers

I bit its head off, of course, but not before thinking too much about animal crackers.

I have to thank The Food Librarian for asking the same question I did (and for taking the photo) -- there's a koala in the circus?  Wouldn't he sleep through the whole thing?

I bought a box of Barnum's for a recent plane ride.  It is not my usual plane snack, but I bore easily, they were a dollar, and I liked the idea of refusing the $6 almonds and popping open my little circus train in the middle seat of a full flight.  Perhaps I would even assemble the little boxcar.

And these are the things I needed to come home and find out, pretty much in the order they came to me:

Who assembles the shoestring in the top of the box?  And why?
Americans, by Gord.  I have to say I am surprised to know this.  The team in Fair Lawn are still assembling both cookies and box, though Fig Newtons have moved to Mexico.  "Fifteen thousand cartons and 300,000 crackers are produced in a single shift, using some thirty miles of string on the packages."  and "...the now-familiar box was designed for the Christmas season with the innovative idea of attaching a string to hang from the Christmas tree. " (

When did they stop making the box a convertible toy?  I am not making that up, am I?
Wikipedia confirms that the wheels were perforated, so you could punch them out, string your cars together, and make a train. You cut the clowns out of the boxtop to pose around the ring.  I guess, in case you didn't have a Christmas tree.

Why do we bite the heads off aninmal crackers?  spite.

Why do we call them crackers?  Might come from the Christmas association (Christmas crackers) but they were not served in a Cracker.  Might be the Shirley Temple song, but no one would put Barnum's in a soup.

Why Barnum?  A sucker might be born every minute, but I find no evidence that Barnum or Ringling get any cash from Nabisco, which has used the name since 1902.

Why haven't they tried to overwhelm us with chocolate, graham, pretzel, cheddar jack ranch flavors (I am talking to you, Cheez-It).
Nabisco is not Keebler.  Their idea of exotic is Chick in a Biskit, Double-Stuff, Virginia Slims

What is that flavor?  It's lemon.  A very quiet lemon.

Are they any good for you?  They won't hurt.

Why does US Air think it can charge $3 for Lays potato chips?
Because we still believe it is low-class to take food on a plane.

Where are the discontinued animals?  Who did koala bump?
Collectibles says that the dog and the jaguar have been retired.  Koala entered in 2002.  Cobra was rejected. (make your own here)  There is a marine collection (seahorses, whales, etc -- not a Marine collection)

Why did it take Betty so long to be a vitamin?
She was a Christian Scientist.  Stay on topic.

 bonus website I found while writing this

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