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Monthly Archives: June 2014

  • A Few Facts You May Not Know About Taffy

    June is a month that means a lot of different things to different people. For some, June is the start of summer; for others, it's the end of the school year. For us, it's a month for celebration since June is National Taffy Month. The National Confectioners' Association has been making sure that the candy you eat is safe and tasty since 1884. Taffy is a candy that people seem to universally love, and that love is the strongest in our neck of the woods. Some of you reading this may wonder why anybody would want to devote a month to something as common as taffy, but if you knew taffy the way we do you'd understand. Did you know that . . .

    Image of salt water taffy

    Taffy used to be major entertainment

    In the 19th century, eating taffy was only half of the fun of having the treat. You see, in order for taffy to have that light and chewy consistency, it needs to be stretched and pulled to let air get into the mixture. Today that can easily be done with a machine, and some people do enjoy having some fun making their own taffy mixture to pull. In the past, if you wanted taffy you had to put some major muscle into it. People would gather together and have taffy pulling parties. Just like today, it was a great way to entertain kids and guests and to also have a treat.

    Image of salt water taffy pull

    Legend has it that Salt Water Taffy received its name by accident. A young candy merchant opened a taffy stand on the first Atlantic City Boardwalk – then just two steps above sea level. One night, a generous tide brought in a lively surf, which sprayed sea foam over his establishment and dampened his stock of candy. The next morning, the merchant was dismayed to find his merchandise wet and responded to a girl's request for taffy with a sarcastic, but witty, "you mean Salt Water Taffy." The name, stuck!

    The name salt water taffy started a legal battle

    Back in the early 1900s, there were two people who were big players in the Atlantic City salt water taffy game: Joseph Fralinger and Enoch James. Fralinger made the candy popular by boxing it and selling it as a souvenir, and James cut the candy into bite-sized pieces and made it less sticky and easier to unwrap.  In 1923, John Edmiston outdid them both by getting a trademark for the name "salt water taffy," and demanding a cut of profits for anyone that was selling "his" product. The Supreme Court ended up ruling that the candy had been around too long and been used by too many people to get royalties. Luckily, the name still stuck.

  • 5 Things You Didn't Know about Candy

    Did you know that June is National Candy Month? While it's unclear how or when it originated, we do know that celebrating candy goes as far back as the 9th century. Candy has quite the history! In honor of National Candy month, take some time to brush up on your history while enjoying your favorite candy bar. Here are five things you didn't know about candy to help you get started.

    1.  Rock candy dates back to the 9th century. Is rock candy the oldest form of candy still around today? Quite possibly. Historians have discovered 9th century Iranian writing that includes a process of rock candy making. However, it wasn't intended to be the sweet treat that it is today and was instead used for its medical healing powers. The idea of using rock candy as a form of medicine was later referenced by Shakespeare in his play Henry IV, when he mentioned using the sugary candy as a remedy for sore throats.

    2.  Cotton candy was co-invented by a dentist. When it comes to your dental health, cotton candy may be the worst possible food to consume. Ironically, it was co-invented by a dentist. Dr. William James Morrison co-invented it with John C. Wharton in 1897. At the time, it was called "Fairy Floss." Were they trying to make a nice treat for kids, or was it all just a clever dental marketing ploy? You decide.

    3.  Candy-corn is the best selling candy in America. Does this surprise you? Americans purchase approximately 20 million pounds of candy corn each year. It is also the most searched for candy term in Google's search engines. Alabama leads for the state with the most candy-corn searches.

    4.  Chocolate can heal a broken heart. Okay, so maybe this one hasn't exactly been scientifically proven. However, it was recommended by doctors back in the 1800s. Next time you find yourself suffering a bad break up, feel free to indulge in all of the chocolate your heart desires. After all, it's what the doctor ordered! 

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    5.  Salt water taffy was a happy accident that Joseph Fralinger took advantage of. The story goes that a taffy merchant with a booth on the A.C. boardwalk had his whole stock soaked with saltwater during a storm. When a little girl walked up to buy some taffy the next day, he jokingly offered her some "salt water taffy." She loved it and salt water taffy was born.

    While this story comes in several versions, we know that the sweet truly became a phenomenon when Joseph Fralinger took an interest in 1884. Already selling concessions on the boardwalk, he was asked to take over a taffy stand, and decided to create his own recipe; he introduced his molasses taffy by 1885. From there, Joseph Fralinger made the sweet popular across the nation by selling it as a boxed souvenir and by offering as many as 25 different flavors by the end of his career.

     

    It is clear that Americans, who consume an average of 25 pounds of candy annually (For Germans it may be up twice that amount!), love their candy! While we don't recommend eating 25 pounds of candy throughout the month of June, we do encourage you to indulge in your sweet tooth a bit in celebration. You can even try some sugar free candy for a healthier alternative with the same great taste.

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