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Biting the head off the lion

Posted Apr 18 2012 8:28am
The little circus train box with it's string handle is the perfect size for little hands. I loved that little box, still do, I have to admit. It evokes such fun memories. 

This morning when I told Greg that today is National Animal Crackers Day, he told me that his grandma used to buy him a box as soon as they'd get into the grocery store. It would keep him occupied through the whole shopping trip, and the first thing he'd do is bite the head off the too! Did everybody do that? I wonder what kind of psychobabble would be said about that these days? Small children taking out their aggression on a helpless lion?

My Swiss cheese brain can't remember if I bought a box for my kids, it seems I did, but then I'm told my memories of my kids' childhood is vastly different from theirs. I do know, however, I'm going to make sure I do it for my grandsons.

According to a few different websites, these fun little cookies came about in the late 1800s, and in 1902 officially became Barnum's Animals. I can remember lining up the animals, led by the headless lion (hmm, maybe I was a nutter even then), and marching them in and out of the box...and then marching straight into my mouth (definitely a nutter).

Moms today use them on cupcakes, make cookie sandwiches, decorate cakes, and do all kinds of clever mom-things with them. A web search will bring you a plethora of images, recipes, and videos. Some of which are quite bizarre.

I don't remember when it happened, but sometime over the years I discovered these little beauties, and animal crackers were never the same for me again. Barnum's will always be my first love, but these sugar-coma inducing cookies are now my favorites. A bag is not safe around me, I've been known to eat the whole damn thing in one sitting.

Run out to the grocery store, buy several boxes of animal crackers, and have a parade of train cars in honor of National Animal Crackers day (and it's ok if you buy a bag of the frosted ones as well-have one for me!). Let me know your animal cracker memories.

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