Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Too Pretty to Eat!


  by Cindy Regnier

Anybody familiar with old-fashioned ribbon candy? It’s usually about an inch wide and curled in swoops like strands of ribbon. I loved looking at it as a child, but eating it - not so much. Had a strange taste to my palate. But something so pretty and colorful must surely be complicated to make. How and when did ribbon candy come into being? Let’s find out.

Though some evidence exists that a similar sweet may have been developed centuries ago in China, most of those who study such things place the candy’s origins in Europe in the 1800s.

Candy makers first developed ribbon candy for Christmas, and it was mostly in the colors of red and white. Keep in mind this was the pre-machine era so it was all done by hand. Usually, the maker shaped the candy around his or her thumb to create the waves.

But then, a dentist named Dr. Philip Benjamin Laskey invented the first mechanical candy crimper in Massachusetts in 1886. It was a hand-cranked device that let candy makers produce more ribbons without losing the ribbon shape. 

Laskey patented the device, and his son manufactured them. Ribbon candy became a little more plentiful after that invention. (And no doubt it increased his dentistry business as well!)

With confectioners now able to buy their own crimper, the candy’s popularity exploded. It was still a somewhat complicated process to create the candy because the maker had to make the base in different colors, feed it manually into the crimper, then turn the crimper crank by hand. When completed, it was cut to desired lengths by scissors.

Because the process was still very labor intensive, ribbon candies remained somewhat uncommon despite its popularity. Then in the 1940s a spinner was created. An automated spinning machine did the job of spinning the colored candy that was crimped and then pieced with an air-activated cutter. Good-bye sticky scissors. That’s essentially the method that’s still used today

Next time you enjoy a piece of ribbon candy, give a thought to how difficult it would be to make without modern machinery and appreciate all the confectioners of the past that made it an art form. What’s your opinion? Do you like to eat ribbon candy or do you prefer to just look at it? I’d love to read your comments

   Rand isn't looking for love. He'd ridden that trail. What he needs is a wife to care for his orphan nieces. Desperate, he places an advertisement and hopes for the best.
   Fleeing her employer who would use her to further his unlawful acts, hiding herself on a Kansas cattle ranch seems like the perfect escape to Carly.
    But its sanctuary comes with a husband. While marrying a man she doesn't know or love means sacrificing her dreams, it's better than being caught by the law.
    Or is it?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today. Happy New Year to you and your family. I like ribbon candy but haven't bought it for years! Sometimes you can find a clove flavored one that I really enjoy, but I like the peppermint ones as well. They can be a bit sharp, literally, in your mouth so that can make it difficult to eat.