The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine

The Joy of Ballpark Food Book Cover
During the 2014 baseball season, Bennett Jaconstein and his wife traveled to each of the major league stadiums to investigate the variety of food offerings. In January 2015, Bennett published The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine. It is available for sale on Amazon.

 

Synopsis:
Baseball is a game that is identified with food. We even sing about it at every ballpark during the seventh inning stretch: “….buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…” The famous song was written by Jack Norworth in 1908.
From the early part of the twentieth century until the 1980s, classic baseball fare consisted mostly of hot dogs, ice cream, peanuts, and Cracker Jack. Then ballparks slowly began to sell new items. A proliferation of new food offerings during the 1990s was fueled by the opening of twelve new major league ballparks.
Now, teams around the country sell a variety of exotic food. Some stadiums have gone all out to showcase unique, gourmet-style food. Many parks emphasize regional food as well as having offerings from well-known local restaurants. There are also several ballparks where retired ballplayers are shaping new careers as signature food purveyors. 
“The new food era has brought such a wonderful gustatory experience at the ballparks with chef-prepared masterpieces, vegetarian and kosher delights, as well as amped up riffs on the hot dog and sausage,” says Bennett.
The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine begins with the history of the first hot dog at a ball game and concludes with a culinary tour of all 30 major league ballparks.

 

Excerpt from The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine:
Along with hot dogs and peanuts, Cracker Jack popcorn is one of the early and traditional baseball foods. Although its famous connection with baseball through the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” did not occur until 1908, an 1896 scorecard for a game played in Atlantic City, New Jersey, between the Atlantic City Baseball Club and the Cuban Giants contained a Cracker Jack advertisement.
Frederick Rueckheim immigrated to Chicago from Germany in 1871. Frederick and his brother Louis sold popcorn from a cart in the streets of Chicago. Later they added a caramel coating and peanuts to create the popcorn candy which eventually was marketed as Cracker Jack.
It has been variously reported that the Rueckheims distributed their new product at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition. There is no record of the brothers having a stand at the Expo, but it is possible that they hawked their product on foot throughout the fair.
In the nineteenth century “crackerjack” was a slang expression that meant “something very pleasing or excellent.” The story goes that a customer, upon tasting the pop corn concoction, exclaimed “That’s crackerjack!” and the Rueckheims took that as the trade name. The Cracker Jack brand name was registered in 1896.
In 1912 toy surprises were first put into every Cracker Jack box. In 1914 and 1915 a baseball card was placed in each Cracker Jack box. Customers were unhappy because there was less space for the caramel corn, and the baseball card distribution was soon discontinued. However, a 1915 Ty Cobb card from a Cracker Jack box sold in 2005 for $94,709.
Each box of Cracker Jack has a picture of Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo. Sailor Jack was modeled after Robert Rueckheim, an eight-year-old nephew or grandson of Frederick (sources vary). Tragically, Robert died of pneumonia shortly after his image first appeared.
Cracker Jack remained a family business until it was sold to Borden Inc. in 1964. In 1997 ownership of the brand was transferred to Frito-Lay North America, Inc.
During the 1980s the New York Yankees hosted an Old-timers Game which was sponsored by the Cracker Jack brand. As part of the festivities, Cracker Jack was cooked on site for players and officials. According to game promoter Marty Appel, “The scent of hot Cracker Jack was almost indescribably wonderful. I’ll always associate Cracker Jack with baseball, and the smell of hot Cracker Jack with the fun of those old-timers games.”
In 2004 the New York Yankees decided to stop selling Cracker Jack and chose instead to offer another brand of caramel corn called Crunch ‘n Munch. The decision left fans stunned and upset. Several months later, the Yankees corrected their error and brought back Cracker Jack. The Yankees’ chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, gave the reason for the return of Cracker Jack: “The fans have spoken.” Cracker Jack is currently sold at almost all of the major league stadiums.
Much credit for the popularity of Cracker Jack at baseball games can be given to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” During the seventh inning of every baseball game across the country, fans are reminded of Cracker Jack. Although the Cracker Jack brand owes much of its success to the song, there is no evidence that songwriter Jack Norworth was ever compensated by the Rueckheims. Norworth was simply looking for a rhyme. If “back” did not rhyme with “jack,” who knows what kind of snack baseball fans would be eating today.

 

Author Bennett JacobsteinAbout the Author:
Bennett Jacobstein lives in San Jose, CA. He is a retired librarian and publisher of demographic materials. He currently works during the baseball season in the concessions stand at Municipal Stadium, home of Minor League Baseball’s Class A Advanced San Jose Giants. Every minor leaguer dreams of making it to the big leagues. Bennett had his dream fulfilled when he worked as a concessions stand substitute at three Oakland Athletics games during the 2013 season.
He enjoys both baseball and food but considers himself a much better eater than ball player. He had a two-year Little League career in which he went two seasons without getting a hit. His only RBI was when he got hit by the pitch with the bases loaded. When not batting or sitting on the bench, he would be found in right field praying that the ball didn’t get hit to him.
The three greatest days of his life were the day he married his wife Debbie, the day his daughter Aviva was born, and the day he first successfully replaced the nachos cheese bag in the dispenser at the San Jose Giants’ concessions stand.
Bennett published The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine in January 2015. It is available for sale on Amazon. All of the royalties from the sale of The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine are being donated to Second Harvest Food Bank. To learn more, go to http://www.ballparkfood.org/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Bennett Jacobstein, contact Kelsey McBride at info@bookpublicityservices.com or (805) 807-9027.

Story of Heart Break, Faith, Failure and Triumph is Free on Amazon to Commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti

Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti EarthquakeJanuary 8, 2015 (LOS ANGELES, CA) – Monday, January 12th, marks the five-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, killing more than 250,000 people.
In recognition of the 5th anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake, the kindle version of Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti Earthquake will be available for free on Amazon until January 13, 2015.
Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti Earthquake is a book about Rene Steinhauer’s experience working as a nurse and disaster manager to help survivors of the Haiti Earthquake.
“Saving Jimani is so much more than the reporting of life and death in the Haiti earthquake. It is a story of raw human emotion, grappling with the reality of hundreds if not thousands of people with broken bodies and spirits seeking medical help in an area where there was none. It is the story of heart break, faith, failure and triumph,” says radio talk show host Leslie Carol Botha.
Rene Steinhauer RN, EMT-P, is an accomplished nurse with more than twenty years of skilled disaster experience. He has practiced medicine on all seven continents including working as a flight nurse in Antarctica, a combat medic in Iraq, and a disaster manager in Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami, Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, and the Haiti Earthquake. He most recently worked as a chief nurse in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia.
“It is my hope that during this time of reflection, that people read the book, understand what happened and how it relates not only to the people of Haiti, but to the people of the United States,” says Rene Steinhauer. “Readers will better understand what can really happen when the government is paralyzed by a disaster much greater than Hurricane Katrina. This book is relevant to the public discourse about better disaster preparedness.”
To learn more, go to www.renesteinhauer.com
For further information, to request a review copy of Saving Jimani, or to interview Rene Steinhauer, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.
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Honolulu Resident Released from 21 Day Ebola Quarantine

Rene Steinhauer RN EMT-PJanuary 6, 2015 (Honolulu, HI) – Local nurse and Honolulu resident, Rene Steinhauer, has just been released from a 21 day Ebola quarantine period that he completed at home in Honolulu after returning from working as a chief nurse in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia.
Rene Steinhauer spent six weeks working to set up an Ebola hospital in Buchanan, Liberia. In mid-December, he became ill with fever and multiple symptoms. He was immediately admitted to the Monrovia Medical Unit, an Ebola hospital set up to care for foreign healthcare workers providing Ebola healthcare. After four days in the hospital, he was found to be Ebola negative, but was treated for Malaria and he returned home to Honolulu where he spent the holiday season in quarantine and where his only visitors were from the State of Hawaii Department of Health.
Rene Steinhauer RN, EMT-P, is an accomplished nurse with more than twenty years of skilled disaster experience. He has practiced medicine on all seven continents including working as a flight nurse in Antarctica, a combat medic in Iraq and a disaster manager in Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami, the Haiti Earthquake, and Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Rene Steinhauer has spent much of the last twenty years as a disaster volunteer and continues to go where the need is greatest.
Rene Steinhauer recently published Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti Earthquake, a book about his experiences working as a nurse and disaster manager to help survivors of the Haiti Earthquake.
“Saving Jimani is so much more than the reporting of life and death in the Haiti earthquake. It is a story of raw human emotion, grappling with the reality of hundreds if not thousands of people with broken bodies and spirits seeking medical help in an area where there was none. It is the story of heart break, faith, failure and triumph,” says radio talk show host Leslie Carol Botha.
Saving Jimani is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
To learn more, go to www.renesteinhauer.com
For further information, to request a review copy of Saving Jimani, or to interview Rene Steinhauer, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.
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