THE HISTORY OF CANDY: A MINI-SERIES BY CARL ANDREWS
(A not particularly accurate or even truthful look at candy products through history)
EPISODE 1 – CANDY AND EARLY MANKIND
Candy, as we now know it, began being manufactured in the 19th century but it is thought that some resourceful early cavemen would dry drops of honey on a rock to be used as a treat. The invention of candy was just slightly predated by what we now call the “apology”.
Early cave drawings show Neanderthal men bringing treats home after having stayed out later than necessary with the other tribesmen after the hunt. They would try to sneak in without disturbing their female cave dwelling mate, only to trip over a rock (which, let’s face it, was pretty predictable in a cave, right?) or step on a sharp stick (The equivalent of Lego’s at the time) left carelessly by little Ogg (their son) while playing on the cave floor.
These forward thinking early men found that by going out and gathering honey the next day, drying it on a hot rock, and then presenting it to his mate as a gift, it would sometimes persuade her to lessen the amount of time she made him spend picking up Mastadon droppings and sleeping near the Hyena pit.
Thus the “apology” was born.
Episode 2 – The Incas of Machu Picchu
The ancient Incan Civilization of Peru, centered around Machu Picchu, used chocolate in many of their ceremonies, grinding the cocoa beans into a fine powder, mixing it with sugar & spring water, then heating it in large golden cauldrons over open fires. It was presented in goblets resembling llama skulls, sprinkled with tiny marshmallows, and served at ceremonial gatherings. (Historians drew a correlation between this and the opening of an early version of a food court which was discovered after finding dried cocoa residue and abandoned Panda Express napkins.)
Since the Inca’s were not believed to have perfected marshmallow technology at that time, some conspiracy theorists feel that aliens had brought and shared this knowledge, along with aqueducts, ball bearings, and a rudimentary version of foosball.
HISTORY OF CANDY – EPISODE 3
“THE GREEKS SHALL INHERIT THE MIRTH”
The ancient Greeks ushered humankind into a Golden Age of reason, deep thinking, and a continued resurgence of open toed footwear.
Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, among others, brought new levels of intellect to bear on society, invented government, founded schools of thought that are still being debated today, and, more importantly, figured out how to make yogurt thicker and clumpier. (At That time this was deemed of at least equal importance to the discovery of how to get fig stains out of white robes. The previous method, handed down from the Tibetan inventors of yogurt, involved mixing in a live frog so, really, any other method was probably going to be an improvement.)
I think it was Empedocles who said it best at the Tuesday Night Philosophers Wrestling League when he arose from his seat at the dais suddenly and exclaimed, “Hey! This would be great on a pretzel!” The debate would rage well into the morning hours.
The Greeks also have a dessert called “Galaktoboureko”, which loosely translates to “We Really Can’t Think Of A Shorter Name?” I guess Pi was already taken.
The rest of the Greek candies and sweets were made with either flaky phillo dough or Ouzo added to just about anything.
The History Of Candy – Episode 4
Candy In Space!
Do you sometimes find yourself staring out at midnight into the vast expanse of the heavens and wondering where you fit into whatever cosmic plan is in the process of unfolding? If so, don’t you think you should go inside and go to bed? It’s the middle of the night, for crying out loud!
As previously mentioned in these pages, there is a theory that some early earth civilizations may have been gifted with alien technologies far beyond our understanding. Some of these, of course, would logically have to do with candy. I think it’s obvious that, subconsciously, there was an astronomic connection in the naming of candy products over the years. Mars Bars, Orbit Gum, Milky Way Bars, Starburst and, of course, “Buzz” Aldrin Special Brownies & Roger B Chaffee Laughy Taffy.
The early space programs of the late 50’s and early 60’s presented many challenges, not the least of which was trying to find the silliest possible name for the first satellite, with the Russians finally settling on “Sputnik”. Once the race was on, it became apparent that even though the Russians made it to space first, our candy technology would be vastly superior. Soviet Astronaut Yuri Gagarin was blasted into space with only a pouch of borscht and a small foil packet of the leading Russian treat at the time, Uncle Nikita’s Beet Nibbles. U.S. scientists were not to be outdone and outfitted USA pilot Alan Shepard’s Mercury capsule with a hearty supply of Mike & Ike’s (with all the Mike’s removed) and Nixon Nougat Nuggets (which had to be kept refrigerated due to their tendency to sweat profusely).
As the spacecraft became more sophisticated, so did the candy choices. Once the Apollo missions were underway there was experimentation with different types of treats, with varying degrees of success. One candy, famously advertised to “melt in your mouth, not in your hand”, seemed perfect for the crew until it was found to also melt quite easily in the lunar lander guidance system.
With the advent of joint missions with international crews, it’s become increasingly difficult to satisfy everyone’s taste. The International Space Station is currently stocked with a vast cross-section of treats from across the globe. The Russians seem to prefer the Jell-O Putin Pops, while the Americans tend toward simple treats like Tootsie Rolls and Milk Duds, which, while tasty, can also come in handy to plug those occasional pesky leaks in the stations outer skin. Modern astronauts, however, all seem in agreement that the weightless environment is ideal for maximum candy consumption.