Saturday, April 24, 2010

Strange Candy Bar Concepts

If you thought the Fat Emma, the Cherry Hump, and the Chicken Dinner were strange candy bar names, consider the Love Nest, which I have never heard of before now or I would have mentioned it in True Confections. What were they thinking?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Supreme Court Candy Moment

When you hear the words "Whitman's Sampler," what does it conjure up? A box of chocolates, designed to resemble a traditional stitched sampler to show its all-American goodness, often presented at holidays or other special occasions? Ever hear of the once-popular Whitman's Pickaninny Peppermints? Here's why not. In 1941 a certain NAACP lawyer named Thurgood Marshall published an article about Whitman's racial insensitivity in a journal called Afro-American. The Whitman's people tried to insist that the term "pickaninny" only meant "cute colored kid." (See Heide's "Black Kids" candy posted here on 03.06.10 -- perhaps that was somebody's idea of an updated and enlightened product name.) Not so coincidentally, after four years of defensive corporate correspondence with Marshall on this topic, Whitman's Pickaninny Peppermints were withdrawn. Thurgood Marshall, of course, went on to become the first African American (or Negro, as he was called at the time) to serve on the US Supreme Court. Today we have a president of color soon to make his second appointment to the Supreme Court bench. Yet another instance of racism and candy product marketing and history that would have been terrific grist for Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky's complex and conflicted mill in True Confections.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Building the Cinnamon Bomb

Nello Ferrara of the Ferrara Pan Candy family invented the Atomic FireBall in 1954, inspired by the postwar optimistic embrace of all things atomic. (Think of those George Nelson clocks.) A red hot candy that could blow your head off, great idea!

In True Confections, Little Sammies are panned for their thin hard-shell chocolate coating ("just a little more brittle than a Raisinet's, that gave them their signature sheen"), but a panned candy like the Atomic FireBall begins life as a grain of sugar to which liquid sugar is added gradually in the rotating drum (the "pan" in case you have never quite understood what the Ferrara Pan thing means and had visions of frying pans) in which the candies tumble for an astonishing two weeks as the microscopically thin layers of sugar build up on the original core grain. I wish I had devoted more attention to this peculiar process in True Confections.