The story of the jelly bean is remarkable, spanning cultures and centuries, involving sultans and ancient apothecaries, wars and great literary figures. It began around 226-652 CE in the Persian Empire where the ruling power, the Sasanids, enjoyed a sweet called “abhisa” made of honey, fruit syrups, and starch.Read More
The Remarkable Life and Times of the Jelly Bean
The Return of Black Jack, Clove and Beeman’s Gum – But Returned from Where?
The iconic Black Jack, Clove and Beeman’s Gum have gone in and out of fashion for years. They left the market in 1978, returned in 1985 and, just a few years back, vanished again.Read More
Happy Birthday Robert Johnson!
Today is the birthday of Robert Johnson – the remarkable and legendary blues musician – born in 1911. The influence of just about any cultural effort affects so much in our culture, and Johnson’s influence on our cultural history and American music is profound.Read More
The Dumb in Dum Dum
I recently visited Cracker Barrel – a regular event for me, as the food chain has the broadest assortment of old time candy anywhere. Their offerings are a window into what’s next: they’re the first to get new old-time candies; they know what sells and doesn’t, creating a road map for other candy-seller’s decisions; and Read More
The Blues, Robert Johnson and the Hot Tamale Connection
The history of the blues, Robert Johnson, and the tamale are fascinating and interlocked. Let’s start with the blues – a uniquely American form of music that reflects personal longing and historic strife.Read More
Grandma’s Hard Candy: More than a Sweet Treat
Candy serves many purposes – a reward, pick-me-up, breath-freshener, and symbol such as the candy cane and Easter chocolate eggs. But none is so embedded with meaning on an everyday level as the hard candies that grandmothers’ kept in their candy bowls at home or their purses, dispensing them to children and, above all, grandchildren.Read More
Betty Boop: The International Sensation The animated Betty Boop began life in 1932 as a flapper, a relic of the gay ‘20s when women did as they pleased from the kitchen to the Speakeasy. Gradually Betty became more proper, due to the Hays Code, which restricted unseemly content in movies.Read More
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