Love this Halloween candy or loathe it? Or just want to learn about it? Read on
When I was growing up in Connecticut, my neighborhood included lots of regular-size homes and one true mansion — an imposing Italianate house located on the deepest part of a big triangular lot that tapered to a point on the other end where a small road came into the main one on a diagonal.
A big barn on the back of the lot housed a Bentley. We never saw much of the occupants, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, who either simply kept to themselves or were too good for the rest of us, but they welcomed children on Halloween. I grew up in a more innocent time, when packs of children roamed neighorhood streets by themselves after dark on October 31, with the bigger ones keeping tabs on the little ones. Parents stayed home to pass out goodies to other trick-or-treaters.
Mr. and Mrs. Murphy unlocked the big front door (or even left it open on a warm night) and set up card tables in the spacious foyer. No big candy bars at the Murphys’ but bowls and trays of sweet treats, including M&M’s, home-made popcorn balls, ribbon candy, gum drops, taffy, home-made brownie squares, Hershey’s Kisses and a very big bowl of candy corn. It was a world without hand sanitizers, and little hands reached into the bowls and grabbed as much as they wished. We all lived, and if anyone got sick, it was only from eating too much candy.
I only took enough candy corn to “be polite.” I thought that this popular confection was cute, but I wasn’t really crazy about it — not when there was lots of chocolate as well. How about you? Now, thanks to the magic of Twitter, @robinchocolates pointed me to a website with an online poll about candy corn. You can click on “love it,” “loathe it” or on “other.” I clicked and then learned that so far, “love it” wins by a landslide..
According to The Learning Channel’s page about candy corn, 35 million pounds of it are produced annually, 20 million pounds by Chicago’s Goelitz Confectionery Company, according to a segment on “Unwrapped.” Candy corn, those tri-color marshmallow-ish pointy triangles, was invented in the late 1890s and has been a Halloween tradition ever since. Candy corn is formed layer by layer in wooden trays. The process takes several days. The “secret ingredient” that provides the well-loved mouth feel is marshmallow, and each piece is coated with an edible wax and polished. The “Unwrapped” video shoes how it’s made.