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Susan Suggests

If you’re looking for something interesting to make for the many celebrations ahead this spring, head to Feeding America library at the Michigan State University’s Website. There you’ll find 76 cookbooks spanning North American history, posted in readable formats. My favorite is Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Starting in the late 1800s, Miss Farmer introduced the nation to new concepts of cooking at home -weighing, measuring, and using calculations so every recipe turned out right. We found tempting delights– Boston Cream Pies, chocolates, and hard candies. Of course, there’s plenty more. My suggestion – check out the other fascinating cookbooks on the site, as well and don’t be intimated! The recipes are great and prove the point: everything old is new again.

Want to hear my interview on WBUR – Boston’s NPR affiliate – about Fanny Farmer? Head for my recent blog!



Fannie Farmer



Love Through the Ages – Three Romance Inspiring Cocktails Using Ancient Aphrodisiacs

Love Through the Ages – Three Romance Inspiring Cocktails Using Ancient Aphrodisiacs

When you think of aphrodisiacs, chocolate and oysters usually come to mind. While they are delicious, some of the true ancient aphrodisiacs might be surprising. Spices like clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger were held in high regard in Asia and the Middle East for their alluring properties. Sweet tasting strawberries, with their visible seeds, and tart pomegranates were ancient symbols of femininity. Planning a romantic evening? Here are three romance inspiring cocktails that look to the alluring flavors of the past.


Moscow Mule

Used medicinally in Europe and Asia, ginger was brought to the Americas by Europeans in the 16th century where it grew with ease in the Caribbean. But ginger has an ancient and alluring past. It was highly esteemed as an aphrodisiac in ancient Chinese, Arabic, and Indian herbal traditions. The Moscow Mule, first made in the late 1930s, is a delicious, spicy addition to any romantic evening. Our recipe uses ginger root tea with a candied ginger garnish.


6 oz. ginger tea

Honey or other sweetener

6 oz. sparkling water or tonic water

1 oz. lime juice

4 oz. vodka

Candied Ginger, mint leaves, lime wedge for garnish (optional)

Prepare tea by adding 1-2 teaspoons of ginger tea to 6 oz. of hot water. Let steep for 3-5 minutes. Sweeten with honey or desired sweetener. Allow to cool. Add ice to two glasses. In each glass, add half the tea, sparkling water, lime juice, and vodka. Stir gently. Garnish with mint leaves, a lime wedge on the rim of the glass, and candied ginger on top of the ice. Enjoy!


Spiced Strawberry Bellini 

Strawberries, cardamom, cinnamon, sage, honey. This deliciously sweet cocktail which includes our exclusive Aphrodisiac Tea Blend has all of these romance inspiring ingredients. In Ancient Rome, the strawberry was a symbol of Venus. Timeless cinnamon and cardamom, two wondrous warming spices, have long been appreciated as stimulating to the senses. We’ve added a spicy, botanical twist to the classically sweet bellini, which originated in the 1930s or 40s.






For the puree –

12 strawberries, quartered

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup strawberry sugar

1/2 cup water

For the cocktail – 

True Treats Aphrodisiac Tea Blend

1 bottle Prosecco

Cinnamon sticks to garnish (optional)

Combine strawberries, cinnamon, and sugar in a saucepan on medium heat and stir. Add water once mixture begins to bubble. Cook for 10 minutes then blend until smooth. Cool. Prepare Aphrodisiac Tea Blend by combining 2 teaspoons of loose tea with 1 cup hot water. Steep for 3-5 minutes. Cool. In a glass, combine one part tea, one part Prosecco, and one part strawberry cinnamon puree. Stir with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!


Beloved Hibiscus Sangria

Spicy cinnamon, sweet strawberries, timeless honey, and tart pomegranate all mingle together to make this seductive sangria. Two ancient feminine symbols, the strawberry and the pomegranate, meld with our Beloved Blend Tea – full of flavors mentioned in Song of Solomon, the beautiful and ancient poem of love. Sangria traces its history to Ancient Rome, where additives like fruit or mulling spices were commonly added to wine to make it more palatable and safer to drink. Enjoy this modern recipe full of romance inspiring ingredients.


True Treats Beloved Blend Tea

1 750ml bottle white wine of your choice

3 red plums

8-10 strawberries

4 oz pomegranate juice

1 cup sugar


Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add 3-4 tablespoons Beloved Blend Tea. Let steep for 5 minutes then strain. Cool. Cut up and lightly mash 6 strawberries and 2 red plums. Reserve remaining plums and strawberries for garnish. Add lightly mashed fruit to a pitcher with 1 cup sugar and stir. Pour 1 bottle of white wine, 4 oz of pomegranate juice, and 2 cups chilled tea on top of fruit and sugar mixture. Stir and refrigerate for at least two hours but preferably overnight. Serve over ice with cut fruit as garnish. Enjoy!

From The Colonial Apothecary to Your Kitchen – Four Recipes

From The Colonial Apothecary to Your Kitchen – Four Recipes

Colonial-era apothecaries – or pharmacists – filled their shops with a variety of concoctions, many of which were made using herbs, roots, flowers, and other botanicals that can still be found in herb gardens and in the wild. Spearmint and jasmine were combined to create a Calming Tea that doubled as a fragrant additive to bath water. Horehound, honey, and thyme were blended into a Cough and Cold Remedy Tea. Native American medicinal knowledge was combined with European tradition in North America, resulting in remedies for sore throats and upset stomachs using ginger root, dandelion, cherry bark, and chickweed. All represented in our Native American Blend. For headaches, apothecaries sold a mixture of rose flower, sage, lavender, and marjoram – the Colonial Headache Remedy Tea. All four of these authentic historical teas can be found in our Colonial Apothecary Box, and while they’re delicious on their own, here are four recipes you can make with these exclusive blends.



Blackberry Mint Jasmine Refresher

When colonists wanted to relax, they turned to this multi-purpose herbal remedy – our Colonial Calming Tea and Sweet Bath. A refreshing, revitalizing blend of spearmint and jasmine. Colonists used this herbal mixture two ways, either as a soothing tea or as a fragrant addition to bath water. A sweet, tart, and delicious fixture in the culinary world, blackberries have also been used medicinally in Europe and by Native Americans for centuries. Blackberry leaf was used to aid in stomach complaints while the fruit was used to make cordials. Blackberries, mint, and jasmine come together in the recipe below in the perfect refreshing drink that can easily become a cocktail with the addition of vodka or your favorite spirit.


In a saucepan or teapot, simmer water. Add 2 teaspoons Colonial Calming Tea & Sweet Bath. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes. Chill in refrigerator. Muddle 4-5 blackberries and add to the bottom of two glasses. Add ice to glasses, then the prepared chilled tea and vodka if desired. Top off with sparkling water and add mint leaves for garnish. Stir gently before drinking. Enjoy!

Horehound Hot Toddy

To fight colds in the 1700s, colonists turned to a mixture of horehound, honey, and thyme brewed together in a cough and cold remedy tea. The earliest record of a medicinal toddy, “a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices” is from 1786, although Robert Bentley Todd is credited with popularizing prescribing the hot toddy in the 1800s. Our recipe below marries these two remedy drinks.


In a saucepan or teapot, simmer water. Add 2 teaspoons Colonial Cough and Cold Remedy Tea. Allow to steep for 3 minutes. Pour tea into a mug, adding the whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. Add additional sweetener if desired. Stir with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

Native American Blend Maple Latte 

Looking for a new way to drink one of your old favorites? Try this easy latte recipe! One of our most popular teas, our

Native American Blend combines dandelion leaf, chickweed, ginger root, and cherry bark in an earthy brew. All valued medicinally and for flavor by the Native Americans. Native Americans used a variety of sugars – fruits, corn, and saps like maple before the introduction of cane sugar from Europe. Maple, of course, is still widely loved today.


Bring water to a simmer in a teapot or saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons Native American Blend and steep for 3-5 minutes. In a saucepan, combine tea, milk and maple syrup. Simmer, but do not boil. When warm, froth using a frother or a whisk. Add more maple syrup if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Herb Garden Jelly with Rose, Lavender, Sage, and Marjoram

Colonists would have looked to their gardens not just for food but also for medicine. Our Colonial Headache Remedy Tea is a recreation of an herbal remedy tea originally made in the 1500s using flowers and herbs. The fragrant floral notes of the rose and lavender are grounded by the earthy and woody flavors of sage and marjoram. The recipe below puts those flavors to work in a new way – as a jelly!


In a saucepan, bring water to a simmer. Add Colonial Headache Remedy Tea. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and add sugar to brewed tea. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and add pectin. Boil for an additional minute. Skim off any foam. Pour hot jelly into jars and process for 20 minutes or freeze any extra jelly. Enjoy on toast, with biscuits, or as a filling for cakes or donuts.

History Is So Sweet – Featuring Susan Benjamin – MORNINGS WITH RAY AND BRIAN


Catch another “sweet” Halloween interview from Susan Benjamin right here! From Good & Plenty to Necco Wafers to Turkish Delight….She covers it all, just for you! Get in the spirit and listen in NOW!






🔹TURKISH DELIGH: Turkish Delight, 10 Piece – True Treats Historic Candy (


What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Featuring Susan Benjamin – Town Square with Ernie Manouse


Snickers. Jolly ranchers. Jelly beans. Gummi bears. What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Are you old school, and love candy corn and licorice? Or are you into extremely sour – or hot – candy? Today, as we continue our Halloween week, it’s all about candy, including the origins of trick-or-treating, retro candy and stories behind some of your favorites. A candy historian and an insider from the candy industry joins us with some “sweet” facts and to field your calls. What do you consider the best and worst candy? Got any favorite Halloween candy memories? Guest: Susan Benjamin: Candy historian Owner of True Treats Author of “Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America’s Favorite Pleasure” Town Square with Ernie Manouse is a gathering space for the community to come together and discuss the day’s most important and pressing issues.


Town Square with Ernie Manouse : NPR





🔹CHOCOLATE: Assorted chocolates through US History – Made in the USA (





Why Does Everyone Hate Candy Corn? An Inside Perspective By Susan Benjamin.

This Halloween, I was inundated with interviews about all aspects of candy, not just Trick o’ Treat. From the wildly different questions and comments came one theme: a contempt for Candy Corn. Personally, I don’t get it. Candy Corn is a harmless, gentle member of the candy family with not a ting of scandal unlike, say, the false razor-blade-in-apple-scandal.

Besides, history proves the magnificence, if not longevity, of Candy Corn. The yellow, orange and white pyramid candies began as “Chicken Feed” in 1888, made by the Wunderle Company, the candies were of the same marshmallow-ish texture of other popular sweets of the time – Circus Peanuts, Cream Candy, and Marshmallow Biscuits ie., caramel covered marshmallows, among them.

Candy Corn was unique, however, in its fall colors and corn-like look, helping it transition from an everyday candy to a Halloween extravaganza. The reason: early Halloweens, while ribboned with ghostly stories and wild pranks, were more like Harvest Festivals with sumptuous nuts, fruits, and other seasonal delights. The Candy Corn fit in.

True, for generations Candy Corn remained a penny candy mingling well with the jelly beans and gummies on the shelves beside it. Today, candy corn is primarily made by Brach’s Confections and Jelly Belly, with around nine billion pieces enjoyed (or not, as the case may be) each year, most of it during Halloween.

Guess what? NOW you can buy Candy Corn from us online right here: Candy Corn – True Treats Historic Candy (

LISTEN TO SUSAN’S OTHER HALLOWEEN CANDY INTERVIEWS ON OUR BLOG: Halloween Candy History with Susan Benjamin – 770 CHQR – The Drive – True Treats Historic Candy (

Halloween Candy History with Susan Benjamin – 770 CHQR – The Drive

Hey Everyone!

Check out this awesome interview that Susan did about the history of Halloween Candy the other day on a Canadian radio station!

In the meantime, find everything she talks about right here on our online store! Links are below:







True Treats Tasters Results

Happy Friday! 😃 Thank you to all of our Tasters for getting back to us! We had some surprising and wonderful responses from our Historical Time Period group.

Here’s what we discovered:

•Most said they’d give Turkish Delight, Stain Glass, and Cream Filberts as gifts.

•100% of our participants said they were impressed with the freshness and potent flavor of the candies.

•Several said Black Jack Gum triggered fond childhood memories.

•Our stuffed dates were compared to coffee cake and cinnamon buns! Yum!!!

•Some were surprised at the taste of Sassafras…(It tastes similar to root beer!)


Are you curious now? Wanna try them for yourself? 🚨Buy NOW🚨at:

Links are below!

Buckle up, Chocolate Tasters! You’re NEXT!

Sweet Regards,

Your Friends at True Treats




SASSAFRAS STAIN GLASS: Hand-Made Stain Glass – Hard Sugar Candies (



Boozy Botanical Recipes

Marigold Mimosa 

You will need:

  • True Treats Marigold Tea
  • Orange Juice
  • Honey
  • 1 bottle Prosecco, champagne, or sparkling wine


  • Allow the marigold tea to steep in hot water for 5 minutes.
  • Sweeten to taste with honey. Chill.
  • Add Prosecco, Champagne, or your favorite sparkling wine to a glass.
  • Then equal parts chilled marigold tea and orange juice.

Honey Chamomile Latte

You will need:


  • Steep chamomile tea in hot water for 5 minutes.
  • While steeping tea, heat up your preferred milk in a saucepan.
  • When the milk is warm, add honey to taste and froth with a whisk for 1-2 minutes until foamy.
  • Mix in chamomile tea, froth again, and serve topped with cinnamon or nutmeg (or both!)

Hibiscus Rosé Sangria

You will need:

  • True Treats Hibiscus Tea 
  • 1 750ml bottle rosé
  • 3 red plums
  • 8-10 strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 4 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup sugar


  • Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add 1 cup True Treats Hibiscus Tea.
  • Let steep for 5 minutes then strain. Cool.
  • Cut up and lightly mash 6 strawberries, 2 red plums, and 3/4 cup raspberries. Reserve remaining plums, strawberries, and raspberries for garnish.
  • Add lightly mashed fruit to a pitcher with 1 cup sugar and stir.
  • Pour 1 bottle of rosé, 4 oz of pomegranate juice, and 4 cups chilled hibiscus tea on top of fruit and sugar mixture.
  • Stir and refrigerate for at least two hours but preferably overnight. Serve over ice with cut fruit as garnish.

Olive Leaf Watermelon Zinger

You will need:

  • True Treats Olive Leaf Tea
  • Honey or sugar
  • 1 small watermelon
  • Sparkling water
  • Vodka (optional)


  • Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add 1 cup True Treats Olive Leaf Tea.
  • Let steep for 5 minutes then strain.
  • Sweeten to taste with honey or sugar. Cool.
  • Cut up one small watermelon and pulse in blender until smooth. Strain out seeds.
  • Add ice to a glass, then pour in watermelon juice, chilled olive leaf tea, and sparkling water.
  • Add vodka for a unique cocktail or serve as is for a refreshing summertime drink.

SUMMER FUN with Popeye the Sailor Man!

This month, True Treats is celebrating SUMMER FUN! And, in a true historic tradition, summer fun includes MOVIES. And who better to feature than Popeye the Sailor Man who seems to appear in more beach scenes than any other old time character. It’s interesting to know that of all the characters in the Popeye series, Olive Oyl came first in print in 1919, with her true love  Harold Ham Gravy. No strongman, Gravy was replaced by Popeye in 1929, who was based on the real life Frank “Rocky” Fiegel. Fiegel, who Popeye creator E.C. Segar knew from his hometown of Chester, Illinois, was a one-eyed, one-time sailor, not-to-mention bartender and laborer with an expertise in fist fights. And, true to Popeye’s character, Fiegel had a soft spot for kids and a way of helping out when help was needed. It seems Segar regularly sent Fiegel money as a thank you for being his inspiration.

The first Popeye film was created in 1932 where he appeared with another female cartoon star – Betty Boop. Like Olive Oyl, Betty was a strong, don’t-mess-with-me woman under the guise of being a ditsy dame. Regardless, the Popeye and Olive Oyl combination endured and a slew of cartoons in print and film followed.  At that time, candy was making a presence at movie theaters, where they generated a magical amount of revenue, and at home. Such treats as nonpareils, chocolate covered raisinsMilk Duds, Jujyfruits, Junior Mints, and Dots…among many others, became standard fare. So, it’s interesting that candy  spin-offs of the Popeye theme are few – Think Popeye Candy Cigarettes, now known as “Candy Sticks.” Never heard of them? Then you get my point.  Instead, Popeye culture focused on spinach and more spinach, creating an international demand….A good thing, all must agree.

DON’T WORRY:  As the number of movie theaters are dwindling, you can order movie favorites from old time to today’s Favs at True Treats – with the story of each on the label.

Popeye Creator: E.C. Segar


Popeye Inspiration: Frank “Rocky” Fiegel

True Treats Botanical Extravaganza!

Here are some news publications for our upcoming event Saturday, May 1st!

The Herald Mail Media –

The Frederick News Post-

Loudon Times-

The Journal-

News Break –

The Heart at the Heart of Valentine’s Day Candy

The Heart at the Heart of Valentine’s Day Candy

Yes, hearts are at the Heart of Valentine’s Day cards and candy.  Charming, yes, but the origin of the heart is intriguing and well-deserving of its place in Valentine’s Day today. In fact, the heart originated with the silphium plant used by the ancients as an aphrodisiac, medicine, spice and, even, birth control measure. The plant contained a heart-shaped flower and was so celebrated it appeared in artwork, including coins, such as this example dated 510-470 BCE.

and this coin from 550-500 BCE:

Unfortunately, the silphium was so popular the ancient Romans used it into extinction…but the image lived on, especially in the increasingly popular playing cards. These cards are from the Middle Ages:


Card Games of the Middle Ages

The heart also became a religious symbol:


Flemish Heart, “Trinity”, 17th Century


Flash forward to the mid-1800s and British candy-maker Richard Cadbury, of England’s esteemed Cadbury family, invented the first heart-shaped chocolate box.  Around that time in 1866, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, who spent her whole life single and living in her family home, created the first Valentine’s Day card in the U.S. Here’s an early version – it led to numerous others full of hearts:

Esther Howland, 1870s


Valentine’s Cupids with Hearts 1880s

In nearby Boston, Daniel Chase, brother of NECCO wafer inventor Oliver Chase, found a way to print sayings on candy rather than the more cumbersome alternative of the times  – wrap the candy in paper with the saying on it. A few decades later and the candy took on a heart-shape, known today as the “Sweetheart Candy.”

Sweetheart Candy – the Original

Eventually the playing cards, the hearts, and candy came together in a game called “Bridge” where players – usually two sets of couples – played for hours and hours and hours.. starting in the 1920s. So long were these games, the players had no time to eat. The candy bridge mix was one solution. Made of chocolate covered fruits and nuts, it allowed players to eat with one hand and hold the cards with the other including the subject of our Valentine’s Day discussion: the heart. Here’s one of our bridge mix selections:

The illustrious silphium became an image representing fun on greeting cards, boxes, and, of course, candy, its aphrodisiac origins lingering in suggestion only.

Valentines Day Card 1908


Sour Peach Hearts



Valentine for Kids 1950s


Sweetheart in a Box Fun for the Whole Family