On Pausing at the Window of Ye Olde Candy Kitchen

October 11, 2013 at 11:17 am 2 comments

Today’s old fashioned candy kitchens attract customers by displaying the candy maker in action. We watch pimply faced minimum wage teens stirring the kettle or overseeing the mechanical puller, and think, “I can do that.” The Joy of Cooking still has recipes for pulling taffy and making fudge, the very kinds of candy you are most likely to find being made before your eyes at Ye Olde Candy Kitchen.

What we aren’t likely to realize is that these simple, transparent operations are the exception. Before mechanization and the de-luxurization of sugar, the art of the sugar boiler was secret and restricted to a very few. Modern candy after 1850 was a product of technological developments that quickly took candy out of home-style kitchens. The art of the candy maker was supplemented, and perhaps in our day supplanted, by  engineering.

But both art and engineering have removed candy from the realm of things we can easily comprehend and duplicate, from the days of the sugar plum through the zenith of American candy to our own globalized candy cornucopia. This is the miracle, and the marvel, of modern candy.

Entry filed under: Candy Nostalgia. Tags: .

Candy Corn-A-Palooza Happy Book Birth Day!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sheila mclean  |  October 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

    found a book at an antiques fair you might be interested in tracking down if you haven’t seen it. candies and bonbons and how to make them by marion h. neil.published in london by w.&r. chambers, ltd. in 1913

    Reply
    • 2. Candy Professor  |  October 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Sounds great. There is actually a whole chapter about home candy making in my book, and I discuss several of the candy making cook books that were published around that period. Thanks for the tip.

      Reply

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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

Samira Kawash, PhD
Professor Emerita,
Rutgers University

(C) Samira Kawash

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