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Archive for April, 2017

PRODUCT: Good Zebra Gourmet Animal Crackers

Good Zebra Animal Crackers

Good Zebra Animal Crackers

Spirit animals await you, in chai, lemon and vanilla. Photos courtesy Good Zebra.


Good Zebra calls their animal crackers “spirit animal crackers.” That’s because their four varieties represent different spirit animals.

You can take the quiz to find your spirit animal—a totem representing you in the animal kingdom.

A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual.

Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides.

Cultures around the world consider their spirit animal to be an otherworldly guide, who appears during difficult times to offer love, healing and/or support.

It generally takes the form of an animal with which a person (or a clan) shares a certain set of characteristics, and thus a kinship.

The animal acts as a guide and protector for humans. In death, the humans’ spirits are absorbed into the animal. (Here’s more from The Atlantic.)

You don’t have to pursue your spirit animal in order to enjoy Good Zebra animal crackers, however.

We call Good Zebra gourmet animal crackers, because the sophisticated flavors taste so good—in chai, lemon and vanilla.

There are 11 different animal shapes*, inspired by original tattoo art, “each with a soul-touching message to enlighten, uplift and empower,” according to the producers.


Each 2-ounce resealable bag contains approximately 20 animal crackers, delivering 12 grams of protein.

The crackers are all natural, nothing processed or refined (they’re sweetened with honey and coconut sugar). Made with 70% organic ingredients, they’re certified kosher by OU.

You can buy 12 packages for $28 or four packages for $17.

Get yours at

If you’d prefer to bake your own animal crackers, here’s a recipe.


*We identified a butterfly, deer, fox, grizzly bear, kestrel, owl, peacock, turtle, unicorn, wolf, and of course, zebra. There is a Native American zodiac with additional animal symbols.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Animal Crackers

National Animal Crackers Day is celebrated on April 18th.

You’re never too adult to enjoy animal crackers..and since your palate is likely much evolved since childhood, to taste the superiority of homemade versions.

Any adult will smile at a plate of cookie nostalgia with a cup of coffee or tea (and listen to six-year-old Shirley Temple sing “Animal Crackers In My Soup”).

The standard-bearer, Barnum’s Animal Crackers, have far less sugar than other cookies. In fact, they’re barely sweet enough to be called a cookie.

So why are they called crackers?

Animal crackers originated in Britain in 1889, when P.T. Barnum toured with his circus. British manufacturers called them animal biscuits, biscuits being the British word for cookie.

The cookies were exported to the U.S. When American manufacturers made their own versions, they changed the word biscuit to cracker instead of cookie (we opine, because consumers would expect cookies to be sweeter).

Today, brands like Annie’s and Best Choice call their products animal cookies…and add a more sugar to the recipe.

Here’s more history of animal crackers.

This recipe, from King Arthur Flour, uses small (2” to 2¼”) spring-loaded plunger cutters. You can buy a set of four for $9.95: elephant, giraffe, lion and zebra. You plunge down, then pop the dough right out.

If you don’t want to buy the cutters, use whatever animal cookie cutters you have—even large ones.

This recipe, from King Arthur Flour, makes sweet, buttery cookies. It uses Princess Cake & Cookie Flavor, an extract that combines vanilla and lemon and emulates the flavor profile and aroma of Barnum’s Animal Crackers.

If you don’t want to purchase a bottle, you can substitute only vanilla extract, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract, almond extract, anise extract, other flavor of choice.

Prep time is 15 to 20 minutes; bake time is 8 to 10 minutes per sheet.

Ingredients For About 5 Dozen Cookies

  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, soft
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Princess Cake and Cookie Flavor (or substitute)
  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat flour or finely ground rolled oats

    Homemade Animal Cookies

    Animal Cookie Cutters

    Homemade Animal Crackers

    [1] Homemade animal cookies. [2] Make your own with these little plunger cookie cutters (photos #1 and #2 courtesy King Arthur Flour). [3] Here’s a vegan recipe from Dessert With Benefits.


    1. BEAT together the butter, sugar, honey, salt, baking soda, and flavor until well combined. Add the flour and oat flour, mixing to combine.

    2. DIVIDE the dough in half, flattening each half slightly to make a disk; then wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease several baking sheets, or line them with parchment.

    4. TAKE one piece of dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough 1/4″ thick.

    5. DIP the animal cookie cutters in flour (each time you cut), then use them to cut the dough. Using the cutters may take a little practice, not to mention patience making so many small cookies. Press the cutter down by the outside edges first, then use the plunger to emboss before picking up; and push the plunger again to release the cookie over the baking sheet.

    6. TRANSFER the cookies to the prepared baking sheets and freeze for 15 minutes. This help the cookies retain their shape and imprint.

    7. BAKE the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges (do not let the cookies brown). Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, or until set. Then transfer the cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

    Check ‘em out!


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    FOOD 101: The History Of 300+ Favorite Foods & Beverages

    Over the 13 years of publishing THE NIBBLE, we’ve explored quite a lot of history relating to the foods we cover.

    We’ve included it in our articles, and compiled the references below.

    Sometimes the history is at the top of an article, but often it is the last section. So if you don’t see “THE HISTORY OF…” immediately, scroll down.

    Some histories are just a paragraph or two; some are quite detailed.

    Here are 324 different food histories, with new ones added frequently.


    Foods and Beverages A (12)

    Absinthe History
    Agriculture History
    Alcohol Distillation
    Allsorts Liquorice History
    Amaretto Liqueur History
    Apple Brown Betty: see Brown Betty
    Angel Food Cake History
    Animal Crackers History
    Ants On A Log History
    Apple Butter History
    Asparagus History
    Avocado History
    Avocado Toast History

    Foods & Beverages B (34)

    Bacon History
    Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp History
    Bagels History
    Baklava History
    Balsamic Vinegar History
    Banana History
    Banana Cream Pie History
    Bananas Foster History
    Banana Split History
    Bánh Mì Sandwich History
    Beans History
    Beer History
    Beurre Blanc History
    Biscoff Spread/Cookie Butter/Cookie Spread/Speculoos Spread History
    Biscotti History
    Biscuit History
    Bitters History
    Black Forest Cake History
    Blood Orange History
    Bloody Mary History
    BLT Sandwich History
    Blueberry History
    Boxed Cereal History
    Bread History
    Breadsticks History
    Brioche History
    Brown Betty History
    Brownies History
    Brunch History
    Bubble Tea History
    Bundt Cake History
    Burrata Cheese History
    Burrito History
    Butter History

    Foods & Beverages C (55)

    Cachaça History
    Cacio e Pepe Pasta History
    Cake History
    Cake Pans History
    Canning History
    Caprese Salad
    Caramel History
    Carrot Cake History
    Caviar History
    Ceviche History
    Cheddar Cheese History
    Cheese Ball History
    Cheese History
    Cheese Fondue History
    Cheese Straws History
    Chicken History
    Chicken & Waffles History
    Chiffon Cake History
    Chilaquiles History
    Chile Pepper History
    Chinese Almond Cookie History
    Chocolate History
    Chocolate Bark History (Mendiants)
    Chocolate Chip Cookies History
    Chocolate Ganache History
    Chocolate Mousse History
    Chocolate Truffles History
    Chopped Liver History
    Chowder History
    Chutney History
    Cobb Salad History
    Coca Cola History
    Cocoa & Hot Chocolate History
    Coffee Cake History
    Coffee Grinder History
    Coffee History
    Cooked Fruit/Compote History
    Cookie History
    Cooking History
    Coquilles Saint Jacques History
    Cordon Bleu History
    Cornbread History
    Corn Chips History
    Cotton Candy History
    Cream Cheese History
    Creamsicle History
    Crêpes History
    Crêpes Suzette History
    Croissant History
    Crudités History
    Cupcake History
    Currants History
    Custard History

    Foods & Beverages D & E (18)
    Daiquiri History
    Danish Pastry & Viennoiserie History
    Delicata Squash History
    Deviled Eggs History
    Doggie Bag History
    Doughnut History
    Easter Egg History
    Easter Ham History
    Eclair History
    Edible Flowers History
    Egg Drop Soup History
    Egg Nog History
    Egg Roll History
    Egg Salad History
    English Muffin History
    Espresso History
    Evaporated Milk & Sweetened Condensed Milk
    Everything Bagel History

    Foods & Beverages F & G (16)

    Faludah – Faloodeh – Falooda History
    Fettucine Alfredo History
    Fluffernutter History
    Fortune Cookie History
    French Toast History
    Fried Rice History
    Frozen Custard History
    Frozen Yogurt History
    Fudge History
    German Chocolate Cake History
    Gingerbread Men History
    Graham Cracker History
    Granola History
    Grapefruit History
    Greek Salad History
    Gummy Candy History

    Foods & Beverages H, I, J (33)
    Halloween History (also see Jack O’Lantern and Trick-Or-Treating)
    Halva History
    Hamburger History
    Hand Pie History
    Hoagie / Submarine Sandwich History
    Honey History
    Hong Kong (Chinese) Egg Tarts History
    Hot Buttered Rum
    Hot Cross Buns History
    Hot Dog History
    Hot Sauce History
    Hummus History
    Iceberg Lettuce History
    Ice Box Cake History
    Ice Cream History
    Ice Cream Cone History
    Ice Cream Freezer History
    Ice Cream Social History
    Ice Cream Soda & Ice Cream Sundae History
    Ice Cube Tray
    Iced Tea History
    Indian Pudding History
    Irish Coffee History
    Irish Soda Bread
    Jack O’Lantern History
    Jambalaya History
    Jelly Bean History
    Jam, Jelly & Preserves History
    Jell-O History
    Jell-O Shots History
    Jerky History
    Kefir History
    Ketchup History
    Key Lime Pie History
    Kouign Aman Pastry History

    Food & Beverages L, M, N, O (39)
    Lady Apples
    Lasagna History
    Layered Salad History
    Lemon History
    Lemon Meringue Pie History
    Licorice History
    Lime History
    Lollipop History
    Macaroni & Cheese History
    Macaroons & Macarons History
    Mai Tai History
    Mandoline History
    Marble Cake History
    Margarine History
    Margarita History
    Martini History
    Marshmallow Fluff / Marshmallow Cream History
    Marshmallow History
    Mascarpone History
    Mason Jar/Ball Jar History
    Mayonnaise History
    Meringue/Meringues History
    Mexican Cooking History
    Michelada History
    Milk Punch History
    Milkshake History
    Mint Julep History
    Mochi History
    Mojito History
    Moscato Wine History
    Moscow Mule History
    Mostarda History
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Mug Cakes
    Mustard History
    Napkins History
    ‘Nduja History
    Negroni Cocktail History
    Nougat (Torrone) History
    Oven Cooking History
    Oyster History

    Food & Beverages P (33)

    Paella History
    Pancake History
    Parfait History
    Panzanella (Bread Salad) History
    Pasta History
    Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
    Pastry History
    Pea History
    Peach History
    Peanut Butter History
    Peanut Butter Cup History
    Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich History
    Pecan Pie & Pecan Trees History
    Penuche Fudge
    Pesto History
    Pho Vietnamese Soup History
    Piave Vecchio Cheese
    Pierogy/Peirogi History
    Pickles History
    Pimento Cheese History
    Piña Colada History
    Pineapple Upside Down Cake History
    Pisco History
    Pizza History
    Popcorn History
    Popsicle History
    Portabella Mushroom History
    Potato Chips History
    Potato History
    Pot Pie History
    Praline History
    Preserving Food History
    Probiotics History
    Puff Pastry History

    Food & Beverages Q & R (9)

    Quesadilla History
    Quiche History
    Ramen Noodles History
    Ranch Dressing History
    Ravioli History
    Relish Tray & Crudités (counted under Crudités)
    Rhubarb History
    Rice History
    Rosé Wine
    Rum History

    Food & Beverages S (31)

    Saké History
    Salad History
    Salsa History
    Sandwich History
    Salt History
    Sangria History
    Scones History
    Sheet Pan History
    Shortbread History
    Shortcake History
    Shrubs (British Drink) History
    Smash Cocktail History
    Smoothie History
    S’mores History
    Snickerdoodle Cookies
    Snow Cone History
    Soup History
    Sourdough Bread History
    Spinach History
    Spinach & Artichoke Dip History
    Sponge Cake History
    Sponge Candy History
    Sriracha Sauce History
    Sticky Bun History
    Stout Beer History
    Strawberry History
    Sugar Cane History
    Surf & Turf History
    Sushi History
    Sweetened Condensed Milk History

    Food & Beverages T & U (22)

    Taco History
    Taffy & Salt Water Taffy History
    Tarte Tatin History
    Tea Bag History
    Tea History
    Tequila History
    Teriyaki History
    Thai Iced Tea & Iced Coffee
    Tiki Drinks & Tiki Bar History
    Tiradito History
    Tiramisu History
    Toffee History
    Tomato History
    Tortilla Chip History
    Tortilla History
    Trail Mix History
    Tres Leches Cake History
    Trick-Or-Treating History
    Truffles History
    Turkey History
    Turnover History
    TV Dinner History
    Upside-Down Cake History

    Food & Beverages V to Z (19)
    Vanilla History
    Vanilla Pudding History
    Vinegar History
    Vodka History
    Waffle History
    Vichyssoise History
    Waffles History
    Watermelon History
    Wedge Salad History
    Whipped Cream History
    Whiskey History
    Whiskey Sour History
    White Chocolate History
    Whole Grains History
    Whoopie Pies History
    Wiener Schnitzel History
    Yeast (Baker’s) History
    Yorkshire Pudding History
    Zucchini Bread History

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mini Cheese Balls For The Cheese Course

    Mini Cheese Balls

    Mini Cheese Balls

    Mini Cheese Balls

    Mini Cheese Balls

    Port Wine Cheddar

    [1] Mini cheese balls in phyllo cups. Here’s the recipe from A Spicy Perspective. [2] Stick a pretzel in it—or a carrot stick. Here’s the recipe from Five Heart Home. [3] Some like it hot. Here’s the recipe from Young Austinian. [4] Serve cheese balls with a green salad, combining the cheese course and the salad course. Here, the cheese balls are fried goat cheese. Get the recipe is from Anna Costa Food. [5] The granddaddy of cheese balls is cold pack cheese, which itself was inspired by Scadinavian potkäse.


    National Cheese Ball Day is April 17th. But if you’re not having a party—home of the cheese ball—you can turn that hefty cheese ball mini cheese balls.

    Serve them:

  • As appetizers.
  • With the salad course.
  • As dessert (sweet cheese balls).
  • As a fancy snack.
    A few different recipes will enhance the experience.

    If you don’t have your own favorite recipes, check the recipes in the photo captions.


    The cheese ball is rooted cold-pack cheese, also known as club cheese or crock cheese, which began as a snack in Wisconsin taverns and supper clubs around the turn of the last century.

    Cold pack cheese originated in Wisconsin (we’ll get to that in a few paragraphs).

    In our youth, a crock of port wine cheddar was considered sophisticated party fare, served with party pumpernickel slices or fancy crackers (in those days, Stoned Wheat Thins and Carr’s Water Biscuits) or (never everyday crackers such as saltines, Ritz crackers, Town House or Uneeda Biscuits).

    According to the New York Times, the tradition derived from Scandinavia, where cooks would grind odd bits of cheese with seasonings and often a bit of alcohol, and pack the resulting spread into jars or crocks, with a top layer of butter to preserve it.

    It spread (no pun intended) to Britain, and then turned up in the U.S.

    At taverns and private clubs, sharp cheese and cream cheese were blended into a spread that went well with beer and drinks. The crock engendered cheese balls and cheese logs, coated with herbs and/or nuts.

    Cream cheese is an American invention from 1872 in New York State. It began to get wider distribution in 1880 (history).

    At Wisconsin taverns in the early 1900s (including Milwaukee’s Pabst Brewery), mixed bits of different cheeses were turned into a snack for customers that became known as pub cheese—a term that still survives, but is know better known in stores as cold pack cheese.

    The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison proposes that cold pack began as a type of dip or spread made from older cheeses that were beginning to dry out.

    Potkäse, a similar potted cheese recipe from Sweden and Denmark, would have been well-known to the many families of Swedish immigrants in the Midwest.

    According to the CDR, as reported in Edible Milwaukee, a beer depot operator named Hubert Fassbender began giving homemade cold pack cheese to his best customers in 1933.

    Customers started asking for the cheese without the beer. Fassbender created the Fassbender’s Kaukauna* Klub brand, making him the first manufacturer of cold pack cheese.

    The following year, in 1934, Armin Herke formed the Calumet Cheese Company, and used surplus cuts of cheese to produce cold pack. The brand later became known as WisPride and remains popular today (it is now owned by Bel Brands).

    A trend was born.

    It was just a jump from cold pack to cheese logs and cheese balls.

    A classic cheese ball combines shredded sharp cheese like cheddar or blue, blended with cream cheese (sometimes also with butter) for spreadability. Popular seasonings include chile, chives/onion, garlic and herbs.

    Chopped vegetables can be mixed in. The ball is then rolled in nuts and/or herbs.

    Sweet cheese balls evolved with time: fruit, sugar and cream cheese, cocoa, sugar and cream cheese, etc., mixed with anything from mini chocolate chips to cookie bits, and rolled in Oreo (or other cookie) crumbs, pomegranate arils, toffee bits or other sweet ingredient.

    They can be served as snacks or as dessert.

    From Wisconsin, the mighty cheese ball spread across the nation.

    Is there a part of the U.S. that doesn’t know about cheese balls?

    If so, let us know: We’ll clue them in.


    *Kaukauna is a Wisconsin city situated on the Fox River, approximately 100 miles north of Milwaukee. The name is a Native American word for “place where pickerel [pike] are caught.”



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    The tulips in the garden
    Are wearing yellow hats;
    The pussywillows by the brook
    Have fur like any cats’.
    The bee is honey hunting;
    The robin’s chirp is gay;
    And all the world is singing,
    “Oh, happy Easter Day!”

    –Author Unknown
    Wishing all celebrants a joyous and delicous Easter.


    Gourmet Peeps

    Photo courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery.



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