Blog it and scarpa on 15th Nov 2021

Christmas Crackers?

What are those strange, over-sized candy-in-a-wrapper types things that you find, nestling between the cutlery and a drunken relative at the Christmas Dinner table?  They are part toilet roll, part glam rockstar and they make a snapping sound when pulled open (not the drunken relative).  Inside, you will find a paper crown, a dad joke, and a small novelty gift; nail clippers, a comb, the secret to eternal life.  Sometime, these little trinkets are actually better than the presents one has received earlier.  Crackers are pulled, toys fly everywhere.  A scramble erupts, lines are drawn, food gets forgotten.  A dog crises in the distance.

Once the family feuding dies down, the crowns are donned, the jokes are told, and peace prevails.

Dinner is taken, wounds are licked. A dog laughs in the distance.

Christmas Crackers were the brainchild of confectioner Tom Smith. He was a renowned master

candy maker and an award-winning wedding cake baker. He also had shares in the local dentist.

Times were sweet for Tom and in 1846 he travelled to Paris, where he came upon the bon bon, a

sugared almond wrapped in a twist of crumpled tissue paper. Unused, crumpled tissue paper one

would assume. Bringing the idea back to England, Tom’s own take of the French bon bon was a

boiled candy wrapped in decorative paper. Less classy, but still packing that cavity-inducing punch.

Unfortunately, a couple of years later, sales of Toms bon bons fell as quickly as the teeth in a childs

mouth, and Tom had to think. Fast. His first idea was to include love messages on the wrappers of

the sweets. Things like, ‘I love your toothless smile’, and ‘Is your father a magician ‘cos your teeth

have disappeared’. Then in 1849 he had the idea of replacing the bon bon with a trinket, and in 1860

he added the bang and snap element, having bought the design and formula from a chemist in

London (silver fulminate was discovered that made the noise. Its chemistry stuff; not massively

interesting or funny).

The size of the hand-made paper wrapper had to be increased to take the banger strip, so Tom

designed the cracker as we know it today. However, it wasn’t initially called a cracker. No. That came

later. The original name was The Bangs Of Expectation. That’s right. The Bangs Of Expectation. I think

we’ve all experienced one of those.

After Toms retirement, his son Walter took the Bang to a Higher Expectation. He included a toy, a

sweet, a joke and a paper crown. And from that day forward, family Christmas dinners were saved.

Why not save Christmas this year and drop into The Queens Pantry and on Christmas Day, at the

dinner table, you can pull your own crackers.

And example of the terrible kind of joke found in a Christmas Cracker....

What did Santa do when he went speed dating?

He pulled a cracker!