That fun assortment of shapes, the soft vanilla scent, and that snappy texture that softens just so when soaked in milk. Are they crackers? Are they cookies? While that little tidbit is debatable, what’s not is that these distinctively packaged gems are a memorable part of life for millions of people around the world, and still continue to gain new fans. Animal Crackers originated in England at the end of the 19th century, but their popularity led to an expansion of factories around the world producing these animal shaped treats, including Mexico in the 1940s. They were originally sold in a box made to look like a traveling circus wagon transporting its animals. That box itself provided hours of fun for kids!
The Animal Crackers factories have been stamping out 54 different animal shapes to fill their circus-themed boxes. To date, we’ve counted tigers, cougars, camels, rhinoceroses, kangaroos, hippopotamuses, bison, lions, hyenas, zebras, elephants, sheep, bears, monkeys, seals, and giraffes. Have you found and sorted them all?
Animal cookies around the world
Currently, more than forty million packages of the little animals are sold each year in 17 different countries. The fascination with them is such that, in 2002, to celebrate the 100th anniversary, a vote was organized to incorporate a new animal, with a koala being chosen as the winner. And turning up the heat in the fever for these cookies, Mexico even has an official Animal Crackers Day. You read that right, every April 18, Mexico celebrates these characteristic delights.
But no need to wait for that date to roll around in order to enjoy them. Treat yourself to a trip back to childhood; you can eat them straight out of the box or like cereal soaked in milk. And if you have never tried them, I invite you not to let this day end without doing so. What are you waiting for? Join the circus!