Cracker Jack

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Cracker Jack, a confection made of popcorn, roasted peanuts, and molasses, was among the culinary wonders introduced at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, alongside Pabst beer and Juicy Fruit gum. By 1896 Frederick and Louis Rueckheim, brothers and German immigrants who had started a local popcorn and candy business in 1872, had perfected the recipe and called it Cracker Jack—slang for “excellent” or “first-rate.” They applied for a trademark on 17 February of that year, and it was issued 36 days later.