June 25, 2019

The Crackers in The Barrel

Posted By: Maggie Stamper June 25, 2019
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When I was a child, my mom used to take my sister and I out to eat at Cracker Barrel. I never turned down their biscuits and always ordered the same dish; Chicken and Dumplings, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Fast forward several years later, at the ripe age of thirty-nine, I still order the same dish. My children love eating there, and they love asking me about the things that are on the wall and on the ceiling. They love comparing Cracker Barrel's designs to the one we have at home.

The famous Cracker Barrel biscuits also strike up table conversations. My kids always critique their biscuits. We realized that each biscuit has its own different texture and taste, as we visit different Cracker Barrel locations. As my son always says, "Each biscuit has a different personality, mom."

If you haven't been in Cracker Barrel recently, you may have not seen the new cast iron skillet they have. Their new skillet is a celebration marker of their 50 years of country cooking. To commemorate 50 years of delicious homestyle food, I wanted to carry you on a little history lesson regarding Cracker Barrel.

Cracker Barrel has a soft spot in many a Tennessean's hearts. No, it's not the food. Well, maybe the food. But, Cracker Barrel started their first restaurant in Tennessee.

East of Nashville, off-highway 109, sits an abandoned store in the city of Lebanon. The abandoned store was the first Cracker Barrel location that opened up on September 19th, 1969. Not only is Cracker Barrel known for their biscuits, but the antiques that are displayed all over the walls and ceilings.

First location off highway 109, in Lebanon, Tennessee
Opened September 19, 1969
Waiting for our names to be called, as we wait on the patio.

In a 26,000 square foot warehouse in Lebanon, antiques are handpicked and stored by Larry Singleton and his family. Singleton's mom and dad, Don and Kathleen Singleton, appreciated the beauty and history of antiques. In fact, they were the decorators of the first Cracker Barrel location in Lebanon.

Today, Cracker Barrel has stretched out to 45 states, including California, at an astonishing 660 stores.

How did Cracker Barrel end up with it's iconic name? Look at the logo. The man pictured in the logo, is leaning against a barrel while sitting on a rocking chair. In 1916 country general stores would sale crackers in barrels. Customers would sit back and talk to other folks in town. Today, we don't socialize or gossip much over a barrel full of crackers for sale, but rather at the water dispenser. Which in term is called scuttlebutt. Conversations haven't changed, but where conversations are held, have.

But wait, it doesn't end there. We can't stop and not recognize Lodge's involvement with Cracker Barrel. Lodge manufactures its unique cast iron designs. Including the new 50th anniversary Cracker Barrel cast iron skillet. Lodge has been manufacturing Cracker Barrel cast iron skillets for 43 years. The first Cracker Barrel cast iron piece produced by Lodge, was a three notch, number three cast iron skillet.

Many collectors of cast iron have studied and collected all the pieces of Cracker Barrel cast iron. Including the Americana pieces produced yearly. The pieces that are produced by Lodge are for a limited time only, which will make these collectibles as time presses on.

Americana collection from Cracker Barrel.
The Midnight Ride
Manufactured by Lodge cast iron

For Cracker Barrel's 50th anniversary, they are releasing a 12 inch cast iron skillet for their significant milestone.

On the anniversary of Cracker Barrel's 50th year, there is also another celebration in our own little corner of the world. My "surprise" daughter, Emma Kate was welcomed into the world six years ago.

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Maggie Stamper, Old Time Cast Iron Restoration
Hey, ya'll! I'm Maggie Stamper founder and blogger of Old Time Cast Iron. Thanks for joining me and allowing me to share some of my favorite memories, recipes, and finds with you.

I'm a wife and mother to three children. Born and raised as a farm girl in the small town of Greenbrier, Tennessee, I loved spending time with Mammie (grandmother). That's where my love for cooking started, right at her farm table which launched into cast iron skillet cooking later as a young adult.

Today, I love to blog, restore, cook, and treasure hunt for cast iron skillets. Be sure to check back in often because you'll always find something new to enjoy!

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