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We know many things about the candy that’s dropped into our children’s bags each year on Halloween. We know that it tastes great; we know that it’ll rot our teeth; and we know that, even so, it’ll be gone in less than two weeks.

But there’s a lot we don’t know about this candy. Namely, where did it come from? Factories, distribution specifics, and store locations don’t matter. This is about the birth of the idea. Whether it’s the Snickers bar you’re unwrapping as quietly as possible so your spouse doesn’t hear, or the red M&Ms that you’re hoarding for a later date, knowing the history of a candy can add a whole new level of satisfaction to your gluttony. So, here are the sugary-sweet stories of four of the most popular candies you might find in the bottom of your bag.

      Candy Corn
Few candies are as synonymous with a holiday as Candy Corn is with Halloween
Few candies are as synonymous with a holiday as Candy Corn is with Halloween. That’s probably why other seasonal Candy Corns (“Reindeer Corn” at Christmas; “Cupid’s Corn” at Valentine’s Day; and “Indian Corn” at...any major casino) never really caught on.

While it seems so simple, the tricolored confectionery was revolutionary
for its day. First produced by Goelitz Confectionery Company in the late 1800s, Candy Corn was difficult to make in an era lacking production lines and mechanization. It was manufactured by hand, and only between the months of March and November, when the candy was most popular. The ingredients--water, sugar, corn syrup, fondant, and marshmallow--were added to large kettles and whipped to a slurry, then poured into buckets called “runners”. These runners were taken by workers called “stringers” and subsequently poured into corn starch trays imprinted with kernel-shaped molds, one color at a time. It was the tricoloring that was so revolutionary, the first of its kind.

      Snickers Bars
While it might seem like the Snickers bar has an illustrious history rich with strange turns and near-death experiences, the truth is it’s rather tame.While it might seem like the Snickers bar has an illustrious history rich with strange turns and near-death experiences, the truth is it’s rather tame. Created by Frank and Ethel Mars, the same people who brought the world The Milky Way bar, Snickers took three years to develop, but quickly became another major success for the husband and wife duo. The only interesting thing to note is the name. “Snickers” was the name of the Mars’ favorite prize-winning racehorse. In homage to their champion, they made the candy bar of champions. Don’t worry, there’s no actual horse involved.

      M&Ms

Some of the greatest inventions have come out during times of war time.Some of the greatest inventions have come out during times of war. Tape recorders, nuclear energy, pinup girls: these are but a few. But perhaps one of the most surprising, and enjoyable, is the bite-sized candy that famously “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”. M&Ms inventor, Forrest Mars, Sr. was visiting Spain during in the Spanish Civil War when he noticed Spanish soldiers eating small, hard-shelled chocolate candies. He brought the idea home with him and patented it in 1941. Fun fact: Due to the rationing of chocolate and cocoa powder, M&Ms were first sold exclusively to GIs during WWII.

      Hershey’s Chocolate Bar
Milton Hershey, the man who singlehandedly changed the landscape of American chocolate in the 20th century, got his start in 1876 when at the age of eighteen, he opened a candy shop in Philadelphia.Milton Hershey, the man who singlehandedly changed the landscape of American chocolate in the 20th century, got his start in 1876 when at the age of eighteen, he opened a candy shop in Philadelphia. Six years later the shop closed and Hershey moved to Denver, Colorado, where he worked with a caramel manufacturer and began learning the trade of caramel-making.

It wasn’t until 1893, however, that the Hershey name we associate with milk chocolate delight was born. While visiting the Chicago International Exposition, Hershey bought German chocolate-making machines and began making chocolate-coated caramels. By 1900, Hershey’s chocolate had become such a successful business that he sold his caramel-making company and began focusing solely on chocolate. In 1903 he broke ground on what would become Hershey, PA--a model town designed to provide a happy life for his factory workers--and continued on to great success throughout the early twentieth century until his death in 1945.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 196 - December 9458
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