a place setting in time: caramel corn & cracker jack recipe
We aren’t baseball aficionados, but you don’t have to be to appreciate the subject of our Place in Time Post: “The Sultan of Swat”, otherwise known as “The Bambino” or “The Babe”, played his last game of baseball on May 30, 1935 and officially retired on June 2, 1935 after an amazing 22 season career. He played in 10 World Series and hit 714 home runs; a record that remained unbroken until 1974 when “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron hit his 715th home run on April 8th. The Babe hit 60 home runs in one season (1927) of 154 games. It wasn’t until 1961 that Roger Maris broke that record. (This record has always been controversial with fans as Maris played 162 games to The Babe’s 154.)The Sultan of Swat’s career batting percentage of .690 is still the highest in the history of the Major Leagues. In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame was inaugurated and George Herman Ruth, The Babe, was one of its first five inductees.
George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys which was run by the Roman Catholic Church. He learned to play baseball at this school and was an outstanding athlete. He was recruited by the Baltimore Orioles and then went to a minor league team for the Boston Red Sox. It is there that Ruth got his nickname “Babe”.
Babe Ruth was a left –handed pitcher and outfielder. He became a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, making his Major League debut in July 1914. In 1920 Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees, where he became a legend. The Boston Red Sox would rue the day that they let The Babe get away as his departure began “the curse of the Bambino”. The Red Sox did not win another World Series until 2004. The New York Yankees, because of their popularity due to the incredible talent on the team and the stardom of Babe Ruth, had to build a new stadium to accommodate the larger crowds. This stadium would be known as “The House That Ruth Built”.
There is no other baseball player, that when you utter his name to anyone in the USA, will be as recognizable. Say his name to the person most disinterested in baseball and they will tell you who he is and that is what makes a legend. George Herman Ruth left his mark on the game of baseball in a way that we have never seen before or after his career. He is still regarded as the best baseball player in history.
“Take me out to the ball game;
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”
-The chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by Jack Norworth
What do we love to eat at baseball games? Ok, besides hot dogs… caramel corn. We know it as Cracker Jack and we love it. So why not make your own?! You don’t have to love baseball to love caramel corn.
Fun Fact: Cracker Jack was named by “an enthusiastic sampler who remarked, “That’s crackerjack!” (a colloquialism meaning “of excellent quality)”
- 3 qts popped popcorn
- 3 cups unsalted mixed nuts (or peanuts)
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Spray large shallow roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine popcorn and nuts in pan; place in 250° oven while preparing syrup.
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, without stirring. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over warm popcorn mixture, stirring to coat thoroughly.
- Bake at 250° for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cool, break apart. Place in an air tight container to store.