Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Candy Persuasion"

On the goo-oo-ood ship Lollypop
It's a swee-ee-eet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay

At least I spared you the singing. Today, we are celebrating National Candy Month. Yes, that's what they tell me. June is National Candy Month. Oh, I forgot to mention where I got the cool title for this post. It just so happens, I was strolling around the Internet for some worthy information about C.I. Hood. Actually, his name was Charles I. Hood. Anyway, I ran across Kathy's blog over at Food Company Cookbooks where she had a post titled "Architectural Persuasion." In the post, she discusses one of the Hood's Cook Books and offers a wonderful description of the Laboratory of C. I. Hood & Co., which was/is in Lowell, Massachusetts. Well, it just so happens, that today, in honor of candy month, I am also going to post about one of the Hood's cook books. Actually, I'm going to share some candy recipes from the Hood's Book of Home Made Candies published by C.I. Hood in 1888.

Hood's Book of Home Made Candies | 1888

Charles I. Hood

From humble beginnings in Chelsea, Vermont in 1845, by the age of 14, Charles I. Hood was employed in an apothecary store as a pharmacist's apprentice. About five years after the Civil War, he established his own drugstore in Lowell Massachusetts with J. C. Ayer as his landlord. (Ayer also had a fascinating beginning) Unfortunately, there isn't much information about Charles I. Hood readily available on the internet but I did find two excellent articles which give much more insight into the man who was the founder of C. I. Hood & Company and that catchy advertising phrase (For That Tired Feeling Take Hood's) promoting Hood's Sarsaparilla. (not Sasparilla) I suppose as comfort to the purchaser's of his booklet, which could be sent for a 2 cent stamp, Charles Hood found it necessary to include his "credentials."

The head of the firm of C.I. Hood & Co. is a thoroughly competent and experienced pharmacist; he served an apprenticeship of five years with Dr. Samuel Kidder, for many years a leading pharmacist of Lowell, Mass., was then for five years prescription clerk with Theodore Metcalf & Co., Boston and in the fourteen years following was proprietor of leading pharmacy in Lowell, familiarly known as Hood's throughout that section of the state. He is also a member of the Massachusetts and American Pharmaceutical Associations and continues actively devoted to supervising the preparation of, and managing the business connected with, Hood's Sarsaparilla.

An article published in The New York Times in 1894 gives this account.

Mr. Hood started out in life without a dollar, and when fourteen years old he was employed in a drug store in Lowell. But here the field was too small for him, and he went to Boston, where he found employment in Theodore Metcalf & Co's establishment, the greatest retail drug store in the city. "I made up my mind I'd be partner in that house," said Mr. Hood, in telling of his experiences, "and I would have succeeded except for the fact that my health broke down. I had to go back to the farm at home. Afterward I tried it again but the work was to much for me, and I accepted an offer to go into partnership with a Lowell man who offered to put up the capital for a drug store if I would supply the experience. My partner did not treat me right, but when I protested he coolly told me if I did not like it I could go, after having worked three years to build up the business. Well, I did not propose to throw away three years work that way, so I held on, waiting for my opportunity. It came three years later.

The article in The Times is quite a lengthy one. It has information obtained by a reporter who attended a convention of the "patent-medicine kings" of the day. The convention took place at Delmonico's and was composed of the "Association of Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers in Proprietary Articles of the United States." The article introduces the "who's who" of household medicines. It is quite interesting. Charles Hood seems to have been born with a natural instinct for advertising. As the the originator of Hood’s Sarsaparilla, he used calendars, fans, colored trade cards, posters, puzzles, cook books and a tremendous amount of newspaper advertising to broadcast his message of the wondrous healing abilities of Hood's Sarsaparilla. Hood's Sarsaparilla and Hood's Tooth Powder were his most popular products. Hood's Sarsaparilla was a sweetened, carbonated beverage flavored with birch oil and sassafras. It claimed to cure most anything including Scrofula, Salt Rheum, Dyspepsia, Biliousness, Sick Headache, Indigestion, Catarrh, Rheumatism, Kidney or Liver Complaints, and That Tired Feeling. The article also gives an account of how he came up with that catchy phrase For That Tired Feeling Take Hood's

"The way I happened to hit that phrase was very simple," said Mr. Hood to a group of friends at the convention. "A lady came into my drug store at Lowell one day in the springtime, and said she wanted a bottle of my sarsaparilla. She added: "I have that extreme tired feeling, and I think the sarsaparilla will help me." It struck me at once that "that extreme tired feeling" would make a great line. But it was a little too long, and though extreme was a splendid word where it occurs, I had to sacrifice it.

There's also excellent information, colored photographs and a list of the ingredients found in Hood's Sarsaparilla found at this website titled "If Made By Hood It's Good."

March April and May are the months in which to purify the blood, for at no other season is the body to susceptible to benefit from medicine- The peculiar purifying and reviving qualities of Hood's Sarsaparilla are just what is needed to expel disease and fortify the system against the debilitating effects of mild weather. The blood at this season is loaded with impurities which are promptly and thoroughly removed by Hood's Sarsaparilla, and strength, health, vigor, and vitality succeed to weakness, debility, and that tired feeling. Hood's Sarsaparilla cures all blood diseases. American Primary Teacher (1897)

Hood's Candy Recipes

Pictures of smiling children have always been enticing images in advertisements, even for products with which children have no possible connection. The prime target of such booklets was, of course, the mother who would be expected to at least glance at the recorded testimonials. Hood's Book of Home Made Candies is no exception. From Kitchen Culture in America (2000) by Sherrie A. Inness.

To advertise the magical powers of sarsaparilla, C. I. Hood and Company published an eighteen-page candy recipe book in 1888. Each page of Hood's Book of Homemade Candies was divided in half with a line running down the middle. On one side the reader found candy recipes. On the opposite side was a list of diseases described in agonizing detail. Explicitly linking lemon taffy, vanilla cream sticks, and peppermint lozenges with the supposed medicinal and scientific properties of their product. Hood and Company advised readers to purchase candy making supplies from qualified druggists. Without the knowledge of science, domestic candy makers risked "considerable difficulty and perhaps even failure." Just like Hood's sarsaparilla, candy appeared to contain rejuvenating and mystical powers. More important, the sudden appearance of cookbooks such as Hood's served notice that candy was gaining acceptance in America. source

Without a doubt, there is definitely no shortage of candy recipes sweetening up this world wide web of ours. Candy recipes are everywhere! There's modern candy recipes, vintage candy recipes. Heck, there's even The Science of Candy which happens to be a very interesting website. Personally, I've never made candy. What I have attempted to do is weedle out some of the unusual candy recipes contained in this booklet. Mind you, it is no easy task. As I said, any candy recipes you may have a hankering for can be found literally right at your finger tips. Some of them I have scanned. Some of them may seem familiar to you but since I am no candy elf, they may seem odd to me. The scanned ones are, Cocoanut Taffy, Orange Rock Candy, Lemon Rock, Ginger Rock and Vanilla Cream Stick. I've also included a page which has the candy recipes on one side and the medical ailments on the other. And finally, the third scan includes Molasses Taffy, and a sweet called Everton Taffy which I had never heard of before.

Coconut Taffy, Ginger Rock, Vanilla Cream SticksFruit Candies, Cherry Rock

My contribution to National Candy Month comes from page nine, "To Make Food Coloring for Candy."

Cochineal: Powder one ounce of cochineal. Add an ounce of cream of tartar and two drachmas of alum. It is best to get the druggist to put these up for you as very little too much acid gives a common magenta shade. Boil the ingredients in half pint of water, until reduced to one half. Strain it through muslin, (add a few drops of alcohol or other liquid to prevent it spoiling if you wish to keep it) and bottle for use. A very few drops color a pound a candy. Ed Note: There seems to be a bit of a controversy over the use of cochineal even today. According to wikipedia, "Cochineal is the name of both crimson or carmine dye and the cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the dye is derived." Cochineal is a traditional ingredient used to achieve reds and pinks in cake, icing and dessert recipes. It gives a crimson type of red or pink color. I'm not quite sure how I feel about using insects as a way of dying food but it seems, if you followed any of the above links, it is used quite often today in juices and other products. Actually, if a manufacturer wants to tout their product as organic, cochineal squeezes right in. Michele, are you reading this?????? Just in case you're curious, here's a link that explains how to use cochineal as a food coloring. And you thought this post was just about candy:)
Yellow Coloring: Boil a quarter of an ounce of Spanish saffron in half a pint of water until it is a brownish orange, then strain through muslin and put in small bottle. It is well to add a few drops of liquor to prevent it molding.
Caramel Coloring: Put half pound of granulated sugar in a small saucepan with just enough water to dissolve it. Boil it till it gets dark brown and begins to turn black in the center. Have ready a half pint of hot water. Turn into the burning sugar and stir until it is a brown liquid like strong coffee. Boil down till thick as molasses and then bottle. This makes all shades of light brown and when mixed with red or yellow produces lovely tones. For example: cochineal and a very little caramel make many shades of ashes of roses, according as you use more or less of either. Saffron and cochineal make salmon and shrimp pink, and so on. Hood's Sarsaparilla overcomes that tired feeling

At a reception held in honor of Mrs. Grover Cleveland on November 12, 1886 these Langtry Bonbons were served. I had to include the recipe as it was the only page that actually came up with the name of these marshmallow like dainties. The recipe calls for marshmallow paste which I found here from Fannie Farmer. (it's much easier than including the recipe in the booklet) Here's the recipe for Langtry Bonbons:

These fashionable candies are easily made from marshmallow paste. Cut inch square pieces. Make some cream by using the white of an egg, the same quantity of water and as much confectioners' sugar as will make a thick icing. Color part of the icing brown with melted chocolate, leaving part white. Drop the pieces of marshmallows into the white candy, lift them out when well covered and turn them onto waxed paper to dry. If the coating does not dry quickly, stir in more sugar. Use chocolate icing in the same way.


  1. I have yet to experment with making candies and marshmallows. After reading this I might one day, Especially the last recipe. Great post as always. I find a piece of candy mis work day always lifts my spirits and energy levels.

  2. Hi glamah,
    Thanks for visiting. Oh yes, candy certainly lifts my energy level around 3:30 in the afternoon. I'll take a Reese's please!

    After writing this, I still don't think I'll ever make candy. Although, you just never know.

  3. What a great cookbook - that child certainly looks like they are getting their teeth into that candy (and I wish I was, too, but that's another matter)

    I reckon that the Langtry bonbons were originally in honor of Lillie Langtry? They sounds pretty good, too.

  4. I don't make too much homemade candy myself. I think I lack the patience it requires. I love reading about it, however, and your post is, as usual, so informative!

  5. Hi Lidian,
    You know I was thinking about saving those bonbons for a Lillie Langtry post but, I just couldn't wait.

    Hi Kathy,
    Thank you for the kind words. I too, lack the patience. I'm not much of a candy eater except for a few Reese's every now and again. I did purchase a candy thermometer though, just in case...


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise