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ANIMAL CRACKERS, SOMEWHERE, USA, 1961

Animal Crackers

Could this living room be more Early American? I don’t think so! Don’t you just love that big bow on that ruffled lampshade? How about the tweedy sofa and that mini surrey parked on a doily on top of the maple coffee table. The spittoon and spinning wheel must be just out of frame! This is the perfect place not to share your Animal Crackers.

The other day while on a Dippity-Doo run at Sav-on I got the munchies. So before I stood there and discreetly sped-read the Star and Enquirer cover-to-cover I paroozed the well-stocked aisles of familiar, brightly packaged, bite-size sweets and savories beckoning to be consumed. Without even thinking I went right for the most traditional of all the offerings, Animal Crackers. I chose them not because of the bland-but-still-somehow satisfying mass produced morsels inside, no; I chose them because of the cardboard circus wagon box that was intended to have after-cookie-life as a Christmas ornament. That’s what the string handle is for – to hang it on your tree.

Recalling my childhood Animal Cracker memories as I carefully opened the colorful container (god forbid I should rip it) and tore open the airtight mock wax paper housing what should be called Animal Cookies, I was hopelessly hypnotized as the first bite turned to mush in my mouth. When I came to the box was empty. I had eaten them all.

The National Biscuit Company has been manufacturing Barnum’s Animal Crackers, as they are officially called, and sending them to market in those wonderful little boxes since 1902. Over the past century there have been 54 different animals. Currently there are twenty two in the menagerie. The Koala is the newest. Ironically, circus promoter extraordinaire P.T. Barnum had a nothing to do with the animal crackers that bear his name.

Here’s to Early American Furniture, Animal Crackers and YOU!