As a kid, I loved to eat animal crackers because they came in the circus train boxes. It never occurred to me that they weren’t cookies, in spite of the name. Saltines are crackers; graham crackers are crackers; Ritz are crackers. Animal crackers are cookies, or are they?
Animal Crackers Are Crackers
In Shirley Temple’s song “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” they are clearly not cookies. The song takes place in an orphanage. One can hardly imagine that a place with a board of trustees as angry as they seem to be at the end of the video would allow the children something as frivolous as a cookie. Who would put cookies in soup? Crackers add texture and salt; cookies would make it too sweet – depending on the soup, of course. Don’t let their sweetness fool you, graham crackers are also sweet. Animal crackers are made from layered dough like crackers and unlike cookies. More importantly, it’s in the name – they’re called “animal crackers” not “animal cookies.”
Animal Crackers Are Cookies
When you bite into an animal cracker, it tastes like a shortbread cookie. The word “cracker” may be a remnant leftover from the time when they were cookies described as crackers. Additionally, people have a habit of using names haphazardly. When Shakespeare suggests that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, the same could be held true for animal crackers. A cookie by any other name tastes just as sweet. Iced animal crackers are called “animal cookies.”
What Are they?
Maybe it doesn’t matter if they are cookies or crackers. It only matters that they are delicious, educational, and as Paul Draper and Shirley Temple showed, entertaining. I, for one, will sanction their consumption on #CookieSaturday. Those who feel differently may leave their comments below. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Paul Draper’s animal cracker trick, you can join him on Patreon where he entertains his supporters with magic and more.
Participate in Cookie Saturday
Cookie Saturday was started by Checkers Penguin whose mom started making cookies on Saturday and shared them virtually on Instagram. You can participate in Cookie Saturday by getting your favorite plushie and sharing cookies with us and Checkers Penguin on Instagram. When you don’t have time to bake cookies, you might share photos with animal crackers, cookies from Ruby Snap or from the Honolulu Cookie Company. Get a handmade plushie penguin to be your Cookie Saturday companion.