So let's root, root, root for the Red Sox...
I have mentioned before that I'm from New England, so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who pays attention to sports at all to know that I probably at least distantly care about the World Series. To be honest, while I haven't been a religious follower of baseball since the Sox traded my favorite player back in 2004, I've been a member of the Church of Boston since infancy. My dad seriously considered naming me "Wade" if I was a boy after the Red Sox's then third baseman Wade Boggs, and apparently, the first baseball game I ever watched as an infant was a Red Sox versus Yankees game, and I started crying once the Yankees came out on the field.
There was a lot of debate over what I should make in honor of the Red Sox making it to the World Series for the third time in my lifetime, and although we talked about nachos and clam chowder and trying to recreate the sausage sandwiches my dad like getting when we're at Fenway, eventually, we decided to go with Cracker Jacks.
The Boston Red Sox were technically established in 1901, but did not adopt an official nickname until 1908. Until then, the American League Boston team was just known as the Americans. Although the Red Sox has always been home to a number of phenomenal baseball players, and won the 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918 World Series titles, they had not won a Series since trading Babe Ruth in 1919 to their rivals the New York Yankees. Although for most of their existence they have not had an official mascot, Wally the Green Monster (named after the famous wall in Fenway's outfield) was introduced in April of 1997, and has been somewhat reluctantly embraced by the Fenway Faithful.
(Seriously, I don't get passionate about much when it comes to sports, but if you say anything bad about Nomar, we will have a Discussion.)
Winning in 2004 was like an exorcism, and those four days in October were some of the most exciting I've ever lived through, and I'm honestly really not that into sports. It almost made me start to forgive them for stabbing me in the back and trading Nomar a couple months before the series started. They went on to win the series in 2007, and after preforming terribly last year, they're up against the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
To make the Cracker Jacks, we used one of my mom's best friend's recipes for caramel corn, which also includes peanuts to make it more authentically cracker jacks. I got to use our air popcorn maker for the first time tonight, and I'm not sure I'm a fan. It could do with an on/off switch, instead of just powering up the second you plug it in.
Dumping it over the popcorn and really getting it all mixed in was a little difficult though. The caramel started seizing up and getting stuck to the bottom of the bowl, which made it hard to get it on the popcorn that wasn't down there.
We flattened it out with spatulas and our (clean!) hands before incorporating some peanuts. No one in my house is that much of a fan of peanuts on caramel corn, but since we were going for Cracker Jacks, we couldn't just leave them out entirely.
We baked two trays worth in the oven for an hour, and then they were good to go!
As you can see in the second picture above this, we probably should have put parchment paper on the baking sheets, because some of the caramel got really, really stuck on it. It took a while to remove all of it from the sheets, but once we did, we were all excited to try it!
Now, I mostly picked Kailey to host this post because I wanted an opportunity to stick someone in the Red Sox shirt, and none of my other dolls are from Massachusetts anyway. (Not that Kailey is either; she's from California, and probably doesn't care that much about baseball considering her book focused more on bogey boarding and saving the ocean.) In reality, this post probably should have been hosted by Rebecca or Samantha, as Cracker Jacks were first produced in 1896, and are widely considered to be America's first junk food. In 1908, the treat was included in the lyrics of the popular song Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and has forevermore been linked to baseball. It's so iconic and popular that in 2004, when the New York Yankees tried to switch out Cracker Jacks with a similar but decidedly different treat, they were forced to almost immediately change back after extreme public outcry.
Unfortunately, as both Rebecca and Samantha are from New York and thus probably would be Yankees fans (Rebecca's older brother is, at least), I still decided to give this post to Kailey. They still got to reap the benefits of my cooking, though!