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DOUG FORD: Cracker Jack of a column

Like most people, I have a comfort zone when it comes to food, and there are some things I’d rather not sample.

Guacamole comes immediately to mind, you know that greenish looking stuff you see at Mexican restaurants.

It may be appetizing, and it may even be healthy, but to me the color, texture and taste are turnoffs.

Same with tofu, it may be healthy, but again I wouldn’t make it part of my diet.

A meat and potatoes man at heart, I do have a taste for vegetables, particularly those of the homegrown variety.

Summer means garden fresh tomatoes, green beans, squash, melons and a variety of other things to tempt rural or urban palates.

Which brings me to the crux of this space, my endearing love for the classic Crackerjacks.

You know, “candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize.”

Although a bit downsized through the years – what isn’t – the all-American snack still tastes the same as it did when I was a youngster many moons ago.

Some would refer to it as junk food, but I honestly beg to differ.

The first lot of Cracker Jack was produced, and the name was registered in 1896, so the confection has been around a long time.

The song, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” released in 1908 makes reference, of course, to Cracker Jacks, and in 1918, mascots Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo, made it to the Cracker Jack box cover.

Of course, any kid or kid at heart also bought Cracker Jacks for the prize hidden in each box.

Prizes have been included in every box of Cracker Jacks since 1912, at first baseball cards, then trinkets or other toys, then paper prizes such as riddles and jokes.

Kids of my generation and before remember the feeling they had when opening the box and digging for the toy within, similar to unwrapping the little comic inside the Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrapper or the promotional prize inside cereal boxes.

The combination of candy-coated popcorn and peanuts still tastes the same, in my opinion, so that bit of Americana remains.

That’s a good thing, because we’re losing so much of it. 

Tradition still counts.