It doesn’t get more American than food and baseball. So, in honor of America’s birthday, we give you the “5 Most American Foods at the Ballpark:”
5. Cracker Jack
Considered the first “junk food” by some, the Cracker Jack consists of molasses-flavored candy-coated popcorn and peanuts. The first box was produced more than 100 years ago, and the “food” was woven into baseball lore with the famous line “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack” in the 1908 song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
4. Cotton Candy
This form of spun sugar technically started in Europe in the 18th Century, but c’mon, we celebrate National Cotton Candy Day on Dec. 7! Cotton candy is a staple at carnivals, circuses and baseball games.
3. (Cheap, But Expensive) Beer
A $9 beverage is worthy of being considered a “food” for purposes of this list. And as you might have guessed, beer was the first “consumable to appear in a ballpark,” according to Sports Library’s Roger Weber. Fun Fact: In the early 20th Century, beer would often cause “rowdiness” (Shocker) — so they banned it during “Ladies Night.”
If you want to roll your eyes, fine — but there’s history as to how this Mexican dish became part of America’s pastime. It was introduced at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 1978, and became a favorite of legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell. From there, it was everywhere, and at most ballparks. Read more from the Smithsonian.
1. Hot Dogs
The origin of “hot dogs” is wildly debated, but one thing is certain: “Cooked sausages” were popularized in the United States. It’s believed the association (and fascination) between hot dogs and baseball began in the 1890s with a German immigrant who owned the St. Louis Browns and an amusement park.
In 2013, it’s estimated Americans spent $2.5 billion on hot dogs.
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