My dad was a sugar addict. I don't use the word "addict" lightly, but when it came to my dad and candy, addiction is the only way to describe it.
Daddy pretended he never ate candy. He hid his stash where he thought none of us would find it: the desk drawers and credenza in his office, the bathroom, the trunk of his car.
I think I was a teenager when the family finally caught on. We were sitting at the kitchen table after dinner craving a little something sweet. My mom, ever calorie-conscious, suggested an apple. Daddy went out the door to the garage and came back with jelly beans. "Where'd you get those?" my brother and I asked. "Doesn't matter," he replied with a smile, tossing them on the table. The next time I followed him out to the garage and found him rummaging in the back of his Corvette. I looked over his shoulder and saw his impressive stash - the Corvette's trunk isn't that big, but it holds quite a bit of candy when it's packed to the brim.
Daddy loved licorice all-sorts, jelly beans, Boston "baked beans," and Cracker Jack snacks, but he also kept lollipops and hard candies in a rainbow of flavors. I try not to eat a lot of candy now - my teeth, my waistline! - but sometimes, especially when I'm missing my father, a sweet treat is just the thing. When I do indulge, I always reach for my dad's favorites.
When the folks at the Cracker Jack brand asked if I'd be interested in trying some of their new flavors, I had to say yes. My dad passed away almost five years ago; their email felt like a sign. And when the samples came and I opened a bag and took my first bite, I started to cry. I ate the whole bag without stopping, thinking about the baseball games, fishing trips, and summer family dinners of my youth - many of which included Cracker Jack snacks.
Whether you buy original flavor Cracker Jack popcorn snacks or the delicious new Kettle Corn or Butter Toffee flavors, I bet many of you will experience the same rush of nostalgia I felt. The sweet crunch of the popcorn punctuated by the occasional salty peanut - Cracker Jack snack is one of the iconic tastes of my childhood.
I'm always happy to eat Cracker Jack snack on its own, but for a twist try tossing them on top of an ice cream sundae. This one has rum raisin ice cream because it was my father's favorite, although judging by how many stores I had to hit to find rum raisin, I'm guessing it's not such a popular flavor these days. If vanilla is more your style, go right ahead.
Note: The team at the Cracker Jack brand provided me with free samples of Cracker Jack snacks to use when writing this article. No other payment changed hands. All memories and opinions are, of course, my own.
Cracker Jack ice cream sundae
This ice cream sundae combines three of my dad's favorite sweet flavors: rum raisin ice cream, gooey caramel sauce and Cracker Jack snacks as a crunchy topping.
- 3 scoops rum raisin ice cream
- 2 Tablespoons caramel sauce (make your own or buy a bottled brand)
- 1/2 cup Cracker Jack snack (Original, Kettle Corn or Butter Toffee flavor)
Scoop the ice cream into a bowl. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the ice cream and top with the Cracker Jack snack. Serve immediately.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 serving