[ Halloween has a centuries’-long tradition of costumes and
scary stuff, but the door-to-door visitations for collecting candy
started after the end of WWII sugar rationing, in the late 1940s.]
[https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE CULTURE 

 THE SACCHARINE HISTORY OF CANDY CORN  
[https://portside.org/2019-10-28/saccharine-history-candy-corn] 

 

 Rebecca Rupp 
 October 27, 2019
National Geographic
[https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2015/10/27/the-saccharine-history-of-candy-corn/]


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 _ Halloween has a centuries’-long tradition of costumes and scary
stuff, but the door-to-door visitations for collecting candy started
after the end of WWII sugar rationing, in the late 1940s. _ 

 Americans eat a lot of sweet stuff around Halloween,
jeannetteferrary.photoshelter.com 

 

Candy corn has been around since the 1880s, and, though it
continually pops up on lists of worst Halloween candy ever, its story
is still one of perennial success. 

Moose A. Moose, the pint-sized yellow cartoon moose who starred on
Nick Jr.’s now-defunct children’s show, _Moose and Zee_, was known
for his Halloween song, I Don’t Like Candy Corn
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFMKy-PeX0w]. Moose says he would
rather eat his feet. And Moose is not alone. It turns out that lots of
people don’t like candy corn.

In fact, candy corn just might be the Halloween equivalent of
fruitcake: a holiday food that everybody has, but nobody actually
eats.

 Traditionally—though nobody knows for sure —candy corn is said
to have been invented in Philadelphia (home of the cheesesteak) by
candymaker George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company. In 1898,
George’s recipe was picked up by the Goelitz Confectionary Company,
which rapidly became the nation’s largest produce of fake corn. It
was marketed creatively as “Chicken Feed,” in a box with a rooster
on the front.

The original candy corn wasn’t targeted at trick-or-treaters. Though
Halloween has a centuries’-long tradition of costumes, pranks, and
treat-begging, in the United States the annual practice of trotting
from door to door collecting candy only took off in force in the late
1940s, with the lifting of World War II sugar rations. Instead, as
Chicken Feed, candy corn was intended to appeal to Americans’
largely agricultural roots. At the turn of the 20th century, the
country was still largely rural, and about half the nation’s labor
force lived on farms. Confectioners, hoping to tie in to the
farm-and-harvest spirit, also turned out candy pumpkins, turnips,
chestnuts, and clover leaves. The original candy corn was touted as a
treat to be eaten all year round.

 Today Goelitz, now the Jelly Belly Candy Company, continues to make
candy corn from the same cloying 19th-century recipe, though they’re
now better known for flavored jellybeans and Harry Potter Chocolate
Frogs. And despite its detractors, we continue to consume a lot of it.
According to the National Confectioners Association, over 35 million
pounds—that’s nine billion kernels—of the stuff will be produced
this year, much of it for the Halloween candy market.

 

The recipe, still pretty much what it was in the 1880s, is a mix of
sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla, and marshmallow creme, variously
colored yellow, orange, and white, and poured into kernel-shaped
molds. The kernels were once laboriously made by hand; today the
process is fully mechanized. (Check out the candy corn video segment
from the History Channel’s Modern Marvels.)

Of those who eat it, one poll showed that 43 percent of us nibble,
nipping off the narrow white end first; a contrarian 10 percent prefer
to start at the larger yellow end; and 47 percent simply pop the
things in their mouths and eat them whole. On the other hand,
according to a 2013 National Confectioners Association survey, when it
comes to Halloween treats, 72 percent of Americans much prefer
chocolate. Candy corn trailed behind in second place, the choice of a
mere 12 percent. Probably the people whose kids failed to come home
with Kit Kat bars.

Candy corn invariably pops up on lists of “Worst Halloween Candy,”
a shifting and sugary ranking that also, depending on the list,
features flavored Tootsie Rolls, bubblegum, Necco wafers, and pumpkin
Peeps. Smarties —described as tasting like chalk—appear regularly
among the rejects; so do Dots, a gumdrop-shaped chewy candy with a
consistency occasionally compared to rubber cement; and Circus
Peanuts, which have nothing to do with peanuts, but are made of
banana-flavored marshmallow, dyed orange.

 Still, candy corn remains a Halloween icon, as much a part of the
holiday as jack-o’-lanterns, pirate outfits, and hot cider. With the
help of some colorful tweaking, it’s even slowly expanding its range
to other seasons: we now have reindeer corn (red and green for
Christmas), cupid corn (red and pink for Valentine’s Day), bunny
corn (green, pink, and lavender for Easter), and even freedom corn
(red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July).

 

Rebecca Rupp
[https://www.nationalgeographic.com/content/contributors/en_US/r/rebecca-rupp.html]
has a Ph.D. in cell biology and biochemistry, and is the author of
more than 200 magazine articles and nearly two dozen books for
children and adults.

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