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Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's National Candy Month; Let's Celebrate Denture Day!

It may seem rather risky celebrating both National Candy Month and Denture Day in the same post, but hey, it's my blog and I'll do what I want!!! And, anyway, I may just have the right stuff to put a spin on both; Fairy Floss. No not Fairy Gingerbread sillies, that was Gingerbread Day. Watch me sugar coat this one, ever so carefully...

On June 9, 1822, Charles Graham received the first patent for false teeth. His were not the first false teeth in use, however. In the Colonial years, rotten teeth were considered the root of many illnesses. The primary treatment for decay was extraction and different ways of replacing them were devised. George Washington had at least four sets of false teeth, none of which, contrary to popular myth, were wooden. His first dentures consisted of human teeth inserted into carved ivory. Another set, made by George Washington's dentist, Dr. John Greenwood of New York in 1789, were made of gold, hippo teeth, and hippo and elephant ivory. A hole was left for Washington's remaining tooth, a molar. (Today in Science)
...the most interesting part of the story about George’s teeth is the mechanism of their fabrication. The upper and lower gold plates were connected by springs which pushed the upper and lower plates against the upper and lower ridges of his mouth to hold them in place. Washington actually had to actively close his jaws together to make his teeth bite together. If he relaxed, his mouth would pop open. There is speculation that this is the reason that the Father of Our Country always looks so stern in his portraits. Take a look at a dollar bill. George isn’t upset - he’s just trying to keep his teeth in!!! (source)

Well, now that we know why our first President had such a frozen smile, let's talk about Fairy Floss. (you should really click that link, it may not be what you think but it is cute:) Not tooth floss, sillies. Fairy Floss, as in puffy billows of pink spun sugar; Cotton Candy!

I bet you didn't know that Cotton Candy, and the device that twirls it, was invented in 1897 by Dr. William Morrison, a dentist! A man by the name of John C. Wharton also assisted. Their device heated sugar in a spinning bowl that had tiny holes in it which lifted the spun sugar into strands of delight; Cotton Candy. The Tennessee inventors called their treat "Fairy Floss." They introduced it to the world at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. I didn't know any of this either until I did a post about it for National Cotton Candy Day way back in 2008 at my Tasteful Inventions blog. (It's rather interesting if I do say so myself:)

Were you surprised to discover a dentist, a purveyor of dentures, invented such a toothsome sweet? I sure was. Ironic, don't you think?

Now that I've managed to circumnavigate the whole It's National Candy Month; Let's Celebrate Denture Day dilemma, I deserve a treat. Let's see, my birthday is this month, perhaps a box of chocolates:) That reminds me, as I was enjoying a nibble at a wonderful book in my library, I came across the coolest secret chocolate code. It involves those little bundles of chocolate goodness found in chocolate "sampler" boxes that are popular for Valentine's Day.

Secret Chocolate Code
Do you know the secret chocolate code? Knowing the code is better than having X-ray vision. For you can look at an opened box of candy and tell, without pinching, squeezing, or tasting, which candies are vanilla creams, or strawberry., which are covered nuts, nougats, or caramels. Though different manufacturers sometimes use slightly different symbols, the careful sleuth knows chocolate-covered nuts are in the shape of the nut; caramels are square; nougats, oblong; and creams, dome-shaped. The swirls on top of the creams having meaning too. A "v" means vanilla; an "o," orange; and a "b" can hardly be anything but butter. Each swirl has a definite meaning.

So, there you have it, you now know the chocolate secret. Keep in mind though, this book was written in 1970. I did find an example image of Vanilla Creams here and Butter Creams here, courtesy of Kehr's Candies.

I have yet another surprise in store. Just check out this Popping-Candy Chocolate Cake recipe I found at The Chubby Cook. (It features Pop Rocks) Not only does the cake sound effervescent, chocolate devotees will enjoy the background story.

Truth be told, I'm not much of a candy muncher. Oh mind you, I adore my Kisses and Reese's. (Which is what I happen to be indulging on at the moment) However, I can pretty much take or leave candy per se. Fudge is a whole other story. I adore Fudge! Peanut Butter Fudge to be exact. Would you believe I never had Peanut Butter Fudge until I first made my way to Pennsylvania. It's very popular around here, as is Chocolate Cake with gooey Peanut Butter Frosting. My first bite and I was hooked, literally! I've even made Peanut Butter Fudge once or twice.

I've always wanted to try my hand at fondant too. I thought I would start small so I've had a Quick Fondant recipe, made with Marshmallow Cream, bookmarked in a recipe book for as long as I can remember. I'm going to note it here for both you and me. Perhaps if I see it in print, I'll tackle it one day. Perhaps, someone out there may try it too!!! If you would like a more modern microwave version, I've left a few links below. I' thinking this recipe is from the early 1930's.

Quick Fondant
1/4 cup Golden Rule Marshmallow Creme
2-1/2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 to 3 cups confectioner's sugar
Add water to marshmallow creme, beat in sugar a little at a time until the mixture is stiff enough to knead on a board. Dredge with the sugar.

What drew me to the recipe above, from The Golden Rule Way recipe book, was not the directions for the fondant. It was the suggested uses included with the recipe that caught my eye. Take this Fruit Paste recipe for example. All the ingredients feature Golden Rule products but if you ignore that, the recipe sounds rather curious to me.

Fruit Paste
To one-half the recipe for quick fondant add one cup of mixed Golden Rule Glace Cherries, Raisins, Candied Pineapple, and Candied Orange Peel, all of which should be put through the food chopper together (ie processor) Flavor with Golden Rule Orange Extract, toss on a board dredged with confectioner's sugar and roll out to one-fourth inch thickness. Let stand a few minutes, then stamp into rounds with a tiny cutter, or shape into squares with a sharp knife. Roll in confectioner's sugar.

I'm no wiz at candy making but I can just picture the goodness that would ooze from such a creation. This is one of those times a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Gee, I wish I had one:( Now, imagine all that candied fruit home made and wrapped and rolled in easy to prepare marshmallow cream home made fondant. Oh my goodness!!!

For those of you who would like a more traditional Fondant recipe, I've scanned a "cutie" for you from Sugar Spoon Recipes a counter top cookbook "from the Domino Sugar Bowl Kitchen." Enjoy:)

Resources
1. A History of Dentures
2. George Washington-A Dental Victim
3. History of Dentures (yet another:)
4. George Washington's False Teeth not Wooden
5. George Washington's False Teeth @ You Tube (I kid you not:)
6. Home Made Candy Recipes (1909, somethings change very little:)
7. How To Make Microwave Marshmallow Fondant
8. How to Make Marshmallow Fondant (Video)

27 Nibbles:

lisa is cooking said...

That's so cool that a dentist invented cotton candy! I'd love to try making it sometime. And, I'd love to try making fondant one of these days.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Too funny! A dentist gave us Cotton Candy! That makes me smile - appropriately! I've never made my own fondant - I'm a lazy baker, so I buy it in Michaels!

~~louise~~ said...

I thought so too, Lisa. I'll never look at Cotton Candy quite the same anymore:)

Welcome home, T.W!
Michaels!!! I know you must have Fluff in the cupboard. Aren't you a tiny bit curious:)

trashmaster46 said...

I don't know if they make it themselves or buy it from someone in town, but the gift shop at the zoo in town sells the best pumpkin fudge. It's amazing.

My Little Space said...

louise, Candy is the only goodies I haven't tried out so far. I think I should try it out some day. Thanks so much for your reminder. Hope you're having a great day, dear.
Blessings, Kristy

Rita said...

You're good; what a fun post!Learned so much about those dentures and I must say that cake relly sounds good,
Rita

SissySees said...

Interesting. Dentures do make candy more enjoyable!

yummychunklet said...

Fun! I made homemade fondant last month but used mini marshmallows as the base. I'll have to try this recipe next.

Barbara said...

Oddly, I'm not much of a candy eater either. I might like a caramel if I had any in the house, but that's about it.

I wonder if I'd like cotton candy anymore. I used to love it when I was a kid. Would I find it too sweet now? Be interesting to find out.

Gloria said...

I cant believe a dentist!!! he,he, maybe to have more work (Im kidding!))
Is a really lovely post! gloria

My Little Space said...

louise darling, I've an award for you. Please feel free to hop over to collect it.
Cheers, Kristy

Tiffanee said...

Very interesting! I really found the facts on George Washington's dentures really fascinating!! Thank you!!

Comfy Cook said...

You are entertaining and I thank you.

I must share with you that my husband's sister had a tooth fairy called Fairy Flossie. His was Jake the Flake. Egalitarian - no.

Janet Rudolph said...

I LOVE this post.. candy, close to my heart, and chocolate! You really find out some esoteric stuff, Louise! Now, a dentist inventing cotton candy? Wow! More business for him and future dentists. Thanks for this enlightening and sweet post!

Reeni said...

I think the dentist invented cotton candy so he could he could get more business! Tee-hee. I like the name fairy floss much better than cotton candy. That's so funny about George and his mouth! Sounds very uncomfortable.

Christine's Pantry said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing. Congrats on your award!

Lin Ann said...

That poor George Washington! I can't imagine what his mouth must have felt like. And that dentist . . . he knew how to bring in business! I'm glad to know the secrets - I won't have to poke holes in my boxed chocolates any more ;) That pop rock cake looks great but I wonder if it pops when you eat it. Those fondant balls are so cute! And Happy Birthday! Wow, what post. You do so much research. I must have taken you a long time to write it. Loved it!!!

Sonia said...

Hi There, This is looking Gorgeous. A very well made post with beautiful pictures. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Its always fun to see ur appetizing recipes.Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

Foodycat said...

I suppose the dentist was trying to drum up business? Fairy floss is very chic at the moment, it's turning up on all sorts of fancy menus!

I Wilkerson said...

The denture ice cube tray is too funny! If my memory holds up there may be one in someone's Christmas stocking this year.

~~louise~~ said...

Pumpkin Fudge? I tell you what, Wendy I'd be willing to give it a try and you don't even need to twist my arm:)

Candy is a definite must, Kristy. The choice is yours, but I'd go with something simple.

Glad you enjoyed it Rita. I don't think I will ever look at my dentist the same:)

Adorable new avatar, Chan.

I'm planning on making fondant when the kids come to visit, yummy. We'll see how that goes. My to do list for visiting grandchildren is growing as fast as they are!!!

I must admit, Barbara I was a bit hesitant to retry Cotton Candy when I took the kids to the Idaho State Fair one year. I was pleasantly surprised that I still enjoyed it just as much as ever. However, I haven't had it since:)

I couldn't believe it either Gloria when I first learned of it a few years back.

Oh what an honor Kristy. Thank you so much for this award.

I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit, Tiffanee. That's a tasty Brownie Crunch Cereal give-away you're having btw.

You are sweet, Chaya and I THANK You! Thanks for sharing...

I had a feeling you would enjoy this post Janet. It was fun to do!!!

I like the name "Fairy Floss" to, Reeni. I actually considered leaving the words "cotton candy" out all together. George was a toothing pioneer!!!

~~louise~~ said...

Thanks Christine. I'm thrilled to have gotten it.

I thought the secret code was quite valuable myself, Lin Ann. I'm always stabbing at those chocolate morsels to find the ones with the dripping cherry filling:) I have such a GREAT time doing posts like this. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!!

Thanks, Sonia. I do hope you will share:)

Chic Fairy Floss? Way cool...Thanks for sharing, Foodycat.

I just thought those denture ice cube trays were hilarious, Inger. Christmas stockings? Now there's an idea. You remind me and I'll try to remember to remind you!!!

Lucille from Learn French Online said...

I remember this particular date last year. My dentist wasn't particularly happy with most of her patients. Who could blame her. XD

~~louise~~ said...

I bet she isn't to fond of Bubble Bum Month either, Lucille. It's just around the corner in March!

southernutahdentists said...

This one of the most interesting celebration ever... Good luck!

Dentures in St George, Utah

~~louise~~ said...

Thank you, Dentures:) BTW, I love St. George, Utah!

Richard C. Lambert said...

No not Fairy Gingerbread sillies, that was Gingerbread Day. Watch me sugar coat this one, ever so carefully... snellville dentist