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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)