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National Candy Day

Posted in Food Safety on November 4, 2018

Halloween has come and gone, and as a parent, I now have loads of candy laying around my home. Trick or Treating, Halloween parties, relatives, etc. have blessed us with an abundance of sweets, and there is a special day to enjoy them just a little more than the rest of the year. November 4th gives us National Candy Day in all of its glory. So grab your toothbrush and let’s dig in.

I am a candy lover and fully believe in the art of the “candy tax” after my boys go out and get their trick or treat candy. They don’t like sweets much, but I find myself having a little afternoon craving for something sweet. I always wondered though where did candy come from? Have people always had a sweet tooth?

National Day Calendar gives us some fun candy facts:

It was in the late 13th century that the Middle English word candy began to be used, coming into English from the Old French cucre candi, derived in turn from Persian Qand and Qandi, cane sugar.

People use the term candy as a broad category that includes candy bars, chocolates, licorice, sour candies, salty candies, tart candies, hard candies, taffies, gumdrops, marshmallows and much more.

Way back in time, before sugar was readily available, candy was made from honey.  The honey was used to coat fruits and flowers to preserve them or to create forms of candy.  There is still candy that is served in this way today, but it is typically seen as a garnish.

Originally a form of medicine, candy calmed the digestive system or cooled a sore throat.  At this time, combined with spices and sugar, candy only appeared in the purses and the dishes of the wealthy.

It was in the 18th century that the first candy is believed to have come to America from Britain and France.  At this time, the simplest form of candy was Rock Candy made from crystallized sugar. However, even the basic form of sugar was considered a luxury and was only attainable by the wealthy.

Since 1979, the world has produced more sugar than can be sold, making it very attainable and cheap.

When the technological advances and the availability of sugar opened up the market in the 1830s, the candy business underwent a drastic change.  Candy was not only for the enjoyment of the well to do but the pleasure of everyone.  Penny candies became popular, targeting children.

Speaking of “penny candy” I recall my grandparents discussing that often. There were candies that were 2 for 1 cent! Can you even imagine if this was a thing today? The cheapest I ever remember candy being was 10 cents or taking a sample from the Brachs bin at the grocery store and leaving some change. I loved these nougat candies that had jelly fruits inside. I remember getting a little older and candy then being a quarter at some of the local dollar stores, the sample bins disappearing and of course these days it is hard to find much candy under a dollar. Time marches on.

  • 1847 – Invention of the candy press making it possible to produce multiple shapes and sizes of candy at one time.
  • 1851 – Confectioners began using a revolving steam pan to assist in boiling sugar.

The two top-selling candies in America have been:

  • M & M’S — M&M’s are milk chocolate drops with a colorful candy coating on the outside. The candies were first manufactured in 1941 and were given to American soldiers serving in the Second World War. M&M’s are produced by Mars Inc.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are round chocolate disks that are filled with a sweet, creamy peanut butter filling. The cups were first manufactured in 1928 by the Hershey’s company.

Mental Floss gives us some fun facts about candy and some will blow your mind–

  • A dentist invented cotton candy. In 1897, dentist William Morrison partnered with confectioner John C. Wharton to devise a machine that used centrifugal force to turn sugar into cotton-like strands. The result was cotton candy, but that name didn’t come until the 1920s. Morrison and Wharton called their treat “Fairy Floss.”
  • White chocolate isn’t even a real chocolate as it contains no cocoa. (I will continue to devour every piece I can get though.)
  • It has been determined that it takes 144-252 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.
  • Based on criteria including flavor, acidity, bitterness, and sweetness, wine experts recommend pairing Whoppers with Cabernet Sauvignon, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Sherry, and Hershey’s Kisses with Zinfandel.
  • Invented by anti-smoking advocate Eduard Haas III, PEZ were originally marketed as mints to help smokers kick the habit. The candy’s slogan in the 1920s? “Smoking prohibited, PEZing allowed.”
  • Snickers were not named after anything laughable. The popular candy bar was actually named after a race horse.
  • President Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans so much that Air Force One was equipped with special jelly bean holders so that during turbulence he wouldn’t “spill the beans”.
  • M&Ms have proven to be among the more popular candy requests for astronauts on space missions. Because they’re bite-sized and candy coated, they don’t make much of a mess.
  • The wrapper of the immortal Mary Jane candy has not changed in over 100 years.
  • DOTS are gluten free and vegan friendly.
  • M&Ms are made at a rate of 4 million per minute. That’s almost enough made each day to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which would need about 2.4 billion M&Ms in order to become a deliciously eccentric Olympic event.

How will you spend National Candy Day? I know I will most certainly indulge in something sweet and tasty, just not sure which one yet. Lately my favorites include snack size Twix bars as well as 3 Musketeers. This time of year I find myself looking at mallow pumpkins and candy corn as well.

Enjoy this year’s National Candy Day and be sure to have something sweet to celebrate this special day! Happy Sugar Rush!

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)