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Lemonade: The Ultimate Retro Drink

Lemonade: The Ultimate Retro Drink

Lemonade is more than a tasty summer drink…it’s a pinnacle of festive occasions. According to the Norfolk Virginian of July 9, 1904, “Fourth of July without lemonade would be like the play Hamlet with Hamlet left out.”

Lemonade: The Beginnings

True? Absolutely. Especially when you consider how versatile this fabulous drink really is. At its most fundamental, lemonade is lemon, water, and sugar, a combination going back to Medieval Egypt and a drink called “qatarmizat.”

Mid-17th century and lemonade arrived in Europe where it found acclaim, especially in Paris where street vendors sold lemonade by the cup. Eventually, lemonade wound up in North America where the lemon trade had taken root in Florida. Its popularity rose with the rise of cane sugar – this sweetener, which once grew with almost reckless abandon in Asia and India, grew from the “blood and sweat” of enslaved laborers in the U.S. Since then, lemonade has gone through numerous iterations without leaving its original state – until recently, that is.

 

Fresh Lemonade All the Time, ANY Time

Essentially, there were two kinds of lemonade: fresh lemons and dried lemons, or a version thereof. The dried lemons are available as lemon crystals – lemon with lemon juice and citric acid. Add water and sugar and you’re done.

Buy Lemon Crystals, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,

The lemon crystals have made numerous appearances over the years, including in the rations of World War II soldiers. True Treats sells the natural crystals – a good alternative for fresh lemons as they’re easy-to-carry, appropriately tart, and essentially spoil-free. Compare the ingredients with the current trend of quick n’ easy “lemonade” that contains the following: “Artificial color, calcium fumarate, magnesium oxide, maltodextrin, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium citrate, tocopherol and yellow 5 lake.”

Interestingly, a purer recipe for the crystals showed up as far back as 1864, in Dr. Chase’s book “Dr. Chase’s Recipes and Information for Everybody”. Dr. Chase wrote voraciously about health, well-being and just about everything else –his books sold more than any other at the time…including the Bible and carried over 800 recommendations. He wrote:

Recipe for Lemonade to Carry in the Pocket: Loaf Sugar – rub it down finely in a mortar and add citric acid ½ oz. (tartaric acid will do) and continue the trituration until all is intimately mixed and bottled for use…It is best to dry the powders.

A rounding tablespoon can be done up in a paper and carried conveniently in the pocket when persons are going into out-of-the-way places, and added to half pint of cold water when all the beauties of lemonade will stand before you waiting to be drank, not costing a penny a glass. This can be made sweeter, or more sour, if desired.

If you want to read Dr. Chase’s book, which literally includes everything from medicinal solutions to advice for harness-makers, go HERE

 

Lemonade: The Iterations

Of course, plenty of iterations on the lemonade theme have cropped up over time: Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife cookbook of 1824 included this recipe for lemon cream, a version of lemonade. It might be worth a try:

“Pare the rind very thin from four fresh lemons, squeeze the juice, and strain it put them both into a quart of water, sweeten it to your taste, [or use True Treats Lemon crystals, to taste] add the whites of six eggs, beat to a froth; set it over the fire, and keep stirring until it thickens, but do not let it boil then pour it in a bowl; when cold, strain it through a sieve, put it on the fire, and add the yelks of the eggs stir it till quite thick, and serve it in glasses.”

 

Other recipes, using traditional lemonade as a base, include this spirited one from Candy and Ice Cream Magazine of 1915:

“Use five lemons and one cup full of sugar to each quart of water [or 2-3 tablespoons of crystalized lemons] to make strong lemonade. Bruise fresh mint leaves and stalks and add to the lemonade. Then add an equal amount of ginger ale and a good size piece of ice. Let stand about half an hour before serving in order that the mint may flavor the drink.”

Perhaps my favorite lemonade recipes come from the New American Cookbook of 1941. These recipes are about as simple and surprising as any out there, while never leaving the fundamental lemon-sugar-water base. Here are a few of them:

 

“Egg Lemonade”

1 Egg

1-1/2 Tablespoons of sugar

½ Teaspoon of salt

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Beat egg thoroughly. Add other ingredients. Add one cup cold water slowly, stirring steadily. Serves one.”

Then there’s this for the super-health inclined:

“Flaxseed Lemonade

2 Tablespoons Flaxseed

1 Cup Sugar

3 Lemons

[Or: 1 cup of True Treats’ lemon crystals with sugar.]

Pour 1quart boiling water over flaxseed. Simmer 45 minutes. Add sugar and rinds of the lemons (option: True Treats’ dried lemon peel if you’re using lemon crystals). Let stand 15 minutes. Add juice of lemons. Strain and serve hot or cold. Serves 2.”

 

If the last two recipes seem a bit challenging to the palate, try this one. It’s a winner!

“Grape Juice Lemonade”

Juice of 3 lemons

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups grape juice

Enough ice-water to make 1 quart

Combine ingredients in the order given. Chill for ½ hour. Serve in each glass a thin slice of lemon from which the seeds have been removed. [Optional. Another possibility is to use True Treats’ Fruit Slices. Daring, sweet with added value of fun.) This option will serve 6 water glasses or 18 punch glasses.”

 

AND, at last, this:

“Glorified Lemonade”

2 cups sugar

3 cups water

3 lemons, juice

2 limes, juice

2 cups orange or lemon carbonated beverage, or ginger ale

Boil sugar and water ten minutes. Cool. Add juice of lemons and lime, and the orange or lemon beverage, or ginger ale. Serves 6.”

 

For those of you who love lime but don’t have any readily at hand – no worries! True Treats can supply you with crystalized lime as well. Of course, you could always skip the lemon and replace and of these recipes with lime.

Lemonade Cocktails and Boozy Beverages

By now, you may be wondering about boozy lemonade. Before you think 1940s or ‘50s, step back a few centuries. Lemonade, spiked with alcohol, appeared during the reign of Genghis Khan in Mongolia. The mixture of “qatarmizat” aka lemonade and alcohol does not necessarily mean that early consumers were hanging out in a bar enjoying the combination – fermented drinks have long been used as a medicine as well as libation.

Lemons, if not lemonade, had a lead role in cocktails early on. An example is from Jerry Thomas’ Bar-tenders guide of 1862 – it’s one of many containing the lemon, water, and some variety of sugar:

“Gin Daisy

Take 3 or 4 dashes of Orgeat, or gum syrup.

3 dashes Maraschino.

The juice of half a small lemon.

1 wine-glass of Holland gin.

Fill glass 1/3 full of shaved ice.

Shake well, strain into a large cocktail glass, and fill with Seltzer or Apollinaris water.

 

To access the book get the online version for free HERE

Word of warning: The old-time cocktails make today’s selections look like soda pop.

Lemonade: The Un-Cocktail

In the 1870s prohibitionists espoused lemonade as an alternative to “evil” alcohol. First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes, a vehement prohibitionist, was nicknamed “Lemonade Lucy” by the more alcohol inclined.

What about Pink Lemonade?

How did pink lemonade come into existence? Here are the options:

  1. Folks were adding strawberries, watermelon, and other pink/red fruits to their lemonade. The color ran and pink lemonade began.
  2. A concession worker at a circus accidently dropped cinnamon candy into the lemonade in 1912. The pink sold better and pink lemonade became an item.
  3. A circus worker had washed his tights and the red color ran. In need of water for lemonade, the circus concession stand used his pink-hued laundry water. People loved the pink.

We at True Treats like the first idea best, then #2. So, we’ve added fruit sugar to our make-your-own lemonade stand kit for the perfect pink – plus cinnamon candies should you be so inclined. Either way, pink lemonade was jump-started (if not started) by the ever-popular traveling circuses of the 1800s / early 1900s…and lemonade got a boost at the same time with the availability of ice.!

Lemonade Stands!

Lemonade stands were said to begin in New York around 1879 and continued, gaining speed in New York City and most likely elsewhere in the heat. Kids started running their own stands around that time – either making money for themselves or for choice charities.

 

MAKE YOUR OWN – Lemonade-stand in your home with our lemonade kit. Add fruit sugar or red hots for color if you like pink, and enjoy some of the summertime sweets from when lemonade stands started.

Our Facebook Friends’ Favorites

The Web site abounds with other lemonade-based drinks. We asked our Facebook friends for their ideas. The overall winner is Arnold Palmer’s lemonade – ½ lemonade and ½ sweet tea or some variation of the theme. Their alcohol-related recommendations were pretty basic:

  • Add vodka
  • In whiskey Sours
  • With gin

All sound good.

A few friends reported in about the health benefits of lemonade. Paula Mallory told us – “I drink Arnold Palmers all day, everyday!!! After I had to have a kidney stone removed a few years ago the doctor told me to drink lemon water daily. I guess you could say I comprised by adding my unsweetened lemonade to my southern sweet tea.” Emily Williams said: “ I make it with raw honey and use it to help mitigate my summer allergies.”

Another interesting comment was from Jim Beaver. He said he uses “1 part pomegranate juice and 3 parts lemonade.” As pomegranate was prevalent in the Mediterranean and Middle East when lemonade originated, it’s likely the pomegranate was added to lemonade then, too.

Marshmallow Root: The Ultimate Tea

What does marshmallow root tea taste like?  

A sweet, woody flavor, the marshmallow root tea makes an interesting blend and is great on its own. I like to add a little sweetener, but that’s personal choice. The texture is smooth, as marshmallow has a high mucilage content, and thickens when cool.

 

What does the marshmallow plant look like?

The marshmallow plant, or Althaea officinalis, is a relative of the hollyhock, with pastel-colored, papery flowers. The plant, especially its roots, have a sticky substance that once gave the marshmallow its taste and texture. Today, the root is widely available as tea: the mucilage is like a syrup in hot water but thickens into a sweet gel when cool.

What does marshmallow for the body?

Marshmallows are no mere fun food but one of humanities’ earliest confections. They originated from the root of the marsh-mallow plant, an herb of the mallow family which, no surprise, grows in marshes. Ancient Egyptians boiled and mixed the root with honey to create a dense, cake-like confection reserved for the gods and royalty. But the true value of the marshmallow was its medicinal qualities. The root contains a gel-like mucilage that was said to soothe sore throats, gastrointestinal inflammation, stomach ulcers and, even, work as a laxative, among other qualities.

 

What don’t we use the marshmallow plant today?

As delicious as the marshmallow was as a confection, it was replaced by instant gelatin in the mid-1800s. The mucilage just made it too sticky and temperamental for people to make at home.

 

Marshmallow Tea Recipes

As a tea, the marshmallow lives on, enjoyed for its flavor, health benefits, and history. As a sweet – not so much, but we DO have vintage marshmallow recipes from Eleanor Parkinson’s book “The Complete Confectioner” published in in 1864 if you want to give it a try. PLEASE – let us know if you do!

For marshmallow tea, here’s the easy route:

  • Place one or two teaspoons of marshmallow root in a cup of hot water. Let steep about 10-minutes. Add sweetener and drink while warm. The tea will grow thicker when cooled.

Here’s Another Option – A Bit Harder:

Place the mixture in a covered jar and let sit overnight. Enjoy the drink with honey or other sweetener or as is.

 

Truly Old-Time Marshmallow Recipes

from Eleanor Parkinson in 1864

If you want to give this recipe a try, you may need to cut the quantities to size. Remember early cookbooks were written for domestics in the homes of the well-to-do or for the homemaker herself (aka “Woman of the House”) so she could manage the staff. The quantities might need to be adjusted for today’s smaller size of friends and family.

 

  • Marshmallow Lozenges. “Marshmallow roots in powder one pound, or slice the root and make a strong decoction, in which you dissolve the gum, fine sugar four pounds. Mix into a paste. If six drops of laudanum be added, with two ounces of liquorice, the pectoral quality of these lozenges will be improved. Good for obstinate coughs.”

 

  • Syrup of Marshmallows — Sirop de Guimauve “Fresh mallow roots eight ounces, water one quart, sugar three pounds. Cleanse the roots, and slice them; make a decoction (See Decoctions), boiling it a quarter of an hour, so as to obtain the mucilage of the root; strain, and finish as wormwood. One ounce of liquorice-root and one ounce of white maidenhair, with a few stoned raisins, may be added.”

Candy: Taking the Guilt Out of Good

Candy… It’s More Important Than You Think!

To truly appreciate the importance – yes, importance – of candy, we have to look at the importance of fun. The idea of fun seems simple… we enjoy ourselves! And fun should be simple, but like everything else, it isn’t. Americans have a difficult time accepting and, even, enjoying fun without an overlay of guilt or the need to justify that having fun, in that particular instance, is okay. We compartmentalize fun in increments of time such as that paltry break, or vacation time, or the odd festive occasions such as a wedding.

Puritans – Our Anti-Fun Ancestors

This ethos is brought to you by the Puritan aka Protestant ethic from which our nation was founded: work, discipline, and adherence to strict laws of behavior were more than a good idea. They were the difference between the likelihood of being one of God’s Elect, meaning you would be gifted with eternal life, or not. Many consider capitalism, the bedrock of our economic system, a product of the Puritan work ethic: make money and reinvest the money you have made into making more money and – by the way – borrow money to make money which you pay back by making money to make more money…

All Work & No Play…

Of course, some fun events offer hard work-related perks. For kids, playing games such as soccer or baseball is fun and that’s the primary reason they do it. Other perks include a stronger, healthier body thanks to all that running around, and skills such as being a team-player or developing a competitive nature, both of which, I must add, make them better workers and make their parents ever happier that they’re doing it.

Conversely, many people have fun at work. But even these activities, aren’t fun per se. There’s a difference. We have fun doing them, yes, but we don’t do them just because they’re fun. These activities are justifiable and manageable, with an end-result which is not to have a great time.  Not that there’s anything wrong with these activities. I for one, can testify to their importance – I love work. Even writing this blog makes me happy!

So, What is Fun?

Fun, the opposite of work – it’s something we do simply because we enjoy it. Going to parties – fun. Going to plays, movies – fun. Carnivals and fairs – fun. The beach, a cabin in the woods, a vacation, any vacation, fun, fun, fun. Candy? Oh yeah, fun. The quintessential embodiment of fun. That being the case – when it comes to candy, we’re suspicious.

And Now… A Slice of Reality…

Here’s the reality: we need fun. Just about any health care worker from a massage therapist to a surgeon knows that a positive attitude, a sense of joy or well-being keeps the surgical knife away. And should the worst happen, it makes the bumpy road to recovery that much faster. The world of thinking, i.e., books, articles, and blogs, are avalanched with messages about the power of positive thinking, the importance of de-stressing, and thousands of ways to help yourself feel good.

Retro Hard CandiesAs for candy-fun, here are a few reality checks:

  • Depending on the source, candy accounts for roughly 10% of the calories and sugar we ingest. The rest comes from those other things we eat where we don’t feel guilty.
  • We know that candy is a fun-food and, like fun, we modulate. We enjoy it in predetermined quantities. No one actually eats a full meal of candy. No one. Even kids.
  • Candy contains sugar. We know this. That’s the problem with candy… we think. The problem isn’t sugar – it’s too much sugar. See above. THEN, see below.
  • Our bodies need sugar. Without sugar we die. The first taste we have as humans is mother’s milk and all its nourishing sugar. When babies are in pain, the get an IV or dropper of sugar to ease the pain. As people get older and head for natural death, the flavor they can taste as other flavors fade is sweetness. Hence their love of – yes – candy.
  • Candy benchmarks some of our happiest moments. Think Christmas. Think – Easter. Think birthday parties and birthday giftsgummies for kids, sumptuous truffles for the grown-ups. Think gifts of chocolate on how many other happy occasions?
  • Candy is a visceral holder of memories. I don’t have to tell you – those retro candies you love. The Bit O’ Honey, hard candies, chocolate bars, even jelly beans. Mostly everyone has a memory of the parent, teacher, grandparent, friend, who enjoyed them.
  • Candy gives us a break from the effort of hard work. THINK: candy bowls at work. You stop. Relax. Enjoy. Portions so small you don’t even feel guilty. LIFE IS GOOD!

Still Feel Bad About Feeling Good When It Comes to Candy?

Psychology today offers up these additional advantages. This is but a summary – you can get the full story here: The Superpowers of Candy | Psychology Today

  1. People who regularly eat candy live longer than those who don’t according to a multi-decade study from the Harvard School of Public Health.
  2. A shot of sugar can restore your willpower. Studies show that consuming sugar makes people persevere longer on difficult task, better able to focus, and more likely to delay gratification.
  3. Chewing gum can improve your mood, reduce stress, increase your mental focus, and block pain. The act of repetitive chewing shifts the state of your brain… Areas related to attention and self-control become more active, while areas related to stress and pain processing become less active. Chewing gum also seems to increase serotonin levels… chewing Teaberry Gum, Black Jack Gum, or Beemans Gum can improve your mood!
  4. Chocolate may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study analyzed the chocolate habits of 4970 participants aged 25-93 years. Those who regularly consumed chocolate had a lower risk of heart disease, and higher “doses” resulted in greater protection. Those who ate chocolate five or more times a week were 60% less likely to have heart disease.
  5. Cotton candy can help you grow new blood vessels…. A finding of researchers at Cornell University and Cornell Medical Center. Amazing!

Need Help Finding the Candy That’s Right For You?

You know where to go! Tested and proven for thousands of years! Love retro? We’ve got you covered.

What’s Mom’s Favorite Old Time Candy? We Asked – Answered!

So, What Candies Do Mothers Really Want For Mother’s Day?

A good question seeing that just about all of us are buying or receiving Mother’s Day gifts now. Is candy among them? Should it be? If so, what kinds? Being a research-based candy company, we decided to dig deep. We looked up stats online, compared sales of clothes, flowers, jewelry and, of course, candy. The findings are clear – flowers, jewelry and candy are at the top. Of course, plenty of other favorites were in the mix… some not presents exactly, but ideas like time off! A day of freedom, as in time away from the kids. That came up a lot.

True Treats for Mother’s Day

For obvious reasons, we decided to focus on candy. So, we turned to our Facebook friends for the most reliable data possible about what their mothers’ favorites. Now remember – we didn’t ask our friends’ ages – or for that matter, their mothers’ ages which may have changed the response. We guessed, given the age of our average customer, their moms are likely in their 50s and 60s.

Regardless – the results were surprising to say the least. Here’s what we found…

retro good n plenty, vintage candy ad, old time good n plentyOur Favorite Response:

Our favorite response comes from David Mills who said: “She liked everything. Seriously, there was nothing that she didn’t like.” We love knowing that. Melanie Mills, a relative, weighed in, indicating David’s Mom was not only a candy lover, but a candy influencer. Melanie said: “She loved circus peanuts and she was the one who made me try black licorice. She even got my sister to like black licorice. She and my mom would share a box of, I think it was, Good and Plenty.” Hey David and Melanie – did you know Good n’ Plenty is the nation’s oldest brand, made in 1893?

Moms Love Old Time Licorice

Our friends’ list included lots of licorice – a total surprise as licorice isn’t on the horizon of most loved candies for anyone. Good n’ Plenty (circa 1893), as David and Mel told us, plus black jelly beans, general black licorice anything and Twizzlers. When you think about Twizzlers, you probably think 1970s. But this company outdates even Good n’ Plenty. It started in 1845!

Retro Candy – the Big Surprise!

We could have guessed Moms like retro candy – most people lean in that direction. But the kinds of retro were a surprise. For the most part, our friends’ mothers skewed old school. No late 1900s favorites such as Jelly Belly Beans, Zotz or even Gummies (only one mention of these). These Moms went 1800s including the most controversial candy ever – Circus Peanuts, made in the late 1800s for…you guessed it … circuses. Also – Candy Corn, which also started life in the late 1800s. Originally called Chicken Feed, it was a summertime snack at first – not made for Halloween! Gwen Wyttenbach told us her Mom would mix them in a dish with “Spanish” peanuts. Interesting.

What about CHOCOLATE for Mother’s Day?

Industry experts all point to chocolate as women’s preferred flavor. Not so in our Mother’s Day findings. Of all 78 responses, less than half mentioned chocolate and of that number, only a few mentioned chocolate as the only, or most preferred, candy. Is that because chocolate has historically been a man’s food? Remember: chocolate originated as a drink, dating back to Mesoamerica where it was esteemed by men – namely soldiers and tyrannical leaders – who enjoyed the drink for virility and strength. Hmmmm…

ultimate old time chocolate, vintage chocolate, retro chocolateMothers Do Love Chocolate… But Not What You Might Think!

OK – we expected to hear a lot about fancy chocolates – the type that started in the late 1800s when eating chocolate became quite the thing. This line-up includes sumptuous truffles, creams, and other varieties still around today. But our Facebook friends told us about classic candy bars, which got their start as energy bars and part of the first rations in World War I. Among the names named – Snickers, Rocky Road, 1000 Grand, and Almond Roca. Several did mention Cherry Cordials – made popular by the now defunct Brach’s in the early 1930s and chocolate covered raisins, a favorite of yours truly, and a hit in the early movie theater concession stands.

Lots o’ Outliers, TOO!!

We love outliers and are happy to say these included sea foam (from Lucile Allen, a True Treats alumni) and chocolate covered honeycomb – another version of sea foam; halva (we carry this – ancient and Middle Eastern); the gummy-esque Wisconsin Raisins from, that’s right, Wisconsin, little known but shouldn’t be; and my friend and neighbor Karen McMullen’s mom’s favorite – Bit O’ Honey from the 1920s.

vintage candy, old time nougat candy, retro candy

Our Facebook friend Peg Norton Foster told us about “…white nougat things with little pieces of gumdrops in them. Peg added: “I know mom had them around a lot in the late 50s and 60s. I am a chocolate freak so she got them mostly to herself.” Peg – we actually carry your Mom’s favorite, although the gum drops have been replaced by it’s candy cousin, jelly beans!

 

 

We Asked Some of Our True Treats Employees… What’s Mom’s Favorite Candy? 

Susan Benjamin, True Treats President – “My mother actually didn’t like candy! But if I had to pick, I’d say the peanut butter cup. She ate one maybe every other year!”

Alvino Sandoval, Web & Distribution Manager – “Peppermint patties and Rolos. My grandma loves butterscotch hard candies and starlight mints… typical grandmother!”

David Bussard, Strategic & Creative Director – “Dark chocolate nonpareils and three color coconut bars.”

MaryAnn Fisher, Social Media & Outreach Coordinator- “Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars!”

Jackie Woods, Packer – “My mother’s a donut and cookie person… but I’m a momma and I love anything chocolate or All-American Caramel.”

Pam, Packer – “Hershey kisses, Hershey with almond… Always Hershey. My favorite candy is Payday, but I love Mounds too.”

Jess, Packer – “Peanut M&M’s and that’s about it!”

Here’s the Full List of Mother’s Day Favorites From Facebook

THANKS EVERONE!! We LOVE your Feedback. And Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!!

French gums, gummy hearts, chocolate covered raisins, and halva. – Andrea Blavat
She liked everything. Seriously, there was nothing that she didn’t like. Hilarious… she loved circus peanuts and she was the one who made me try black licorice. She even got my sister to like black licorice. Her and my mom would share a box of I think it was good and plenty, and I always got the good and fruity for at the drive in. – Melanie Mills
Believe it or not … circus peanuts! – Jennie Gist
My mother’s favorite “of all things” … Candy Corn at Halloween! – Gwen Wyttenbach
My mom would mix them in a dish with “Spanish” peanuts (in reference to candy corn) – Jan Rayl Kierstead
It’s candy raisins from Wisconsin and I’m blessed that she’s still around! – Jennifer Wyatt
Caramels and those white nougat things with little pieces of gumdrops in them. – Peg Norton Foster
Almond Joy – Denise Braithwaite
10000 Grand candy bars. – Laura Lee Bear Lemmon
Probably those cream drops, my mother loved them – Angela Zimmerman
Moth balls (cream filberts) and Opera Creams  – Claire Mojave
Black Licorice – Dwayne Richards
Godiva. If they weren’t available Hershey Special Dark. She was a dark chocolate fiend.- Krissi Bainbridge
Almond Joys and chocolate – Heidi Rohrer
Russel Stovers Caramels in particular – Suzanne Healy Barnhart
Black licorice – Mary T
Coconut cream egg – Shelly Williams
Lemon drops and chocolate covered raisins. – Nell McCollum Tedder
Bit o Honey – Cathy Kisovec Rodgers
Chocolate. Just, all of the chocolate. – Crystal Cruz
I still get her dark chocolate and heath bars – Jennifer Bortman
My mom wasn’t a candy person. Black licorice, I suppose, or Coffee Nips. My dad had the sweet tooth. – Amy Wax Storyteller
Chocolate covered cherries – Josephine Ann Calderone
Black Licorice and black jellybeans! – Brenda Sue Payne
Peanut Brittle – Tabitha Falls
Almond Joy maybe – Kelly Preziosi
Black licorice – Rick Doty
Almond Roca – Randy Hanenburg
Chocolate, peppermint, & lemon drops.- Sandra Lewis
Chocolate-covered cherries and sea foam – Lucile Allen
Snickers candy bars was her favorite. She’s not really a candy fan. Ice cream is where it’s at – Elizabeth Bennett
Snickers but can’t eat them unless it sugar free which I don’t they have it n take one if sugar low due to I am a diabetic – Selina Dion
Black licorice – Marylouise McKillip
Fannie Mae turtles – Anne Marie Trumbla
Chocolate covered cherries. – Karen McMullen
Mary Janes and Fannie May turtles. – Allison May
Rocky road or those mountain bars if she could find them – Jaye Ahkinga
Heath bars… black jelly beans – Patricia Smith Violett
Almond Roca – Linda Mitchell
Black Jelly beans – Francine Rybarczyk Clouse
Almond Roca – Debbie Coman
I don’t think she has a favorite- Matthew Ryan Neely
Coconut watermelon slices. – Carla Johnson Kanthak
Chocolate fudge – Karen Schultz
Candy corn and cinnamon gummy bears – Dana Perkins
Whitman’s cream filled candies – Marilyn Hennessey
Chocolate gingers and cherry cordials – Elizabeth Ford
Starlight mints – Julie Burke
Chocolate covered honeycomb – Bella Kittrell
Hard candy – Betty Jagodzinski Rybarczyk
Baby Ruth – Larry Berkman
Circus marshmallows – Natalie Kreitzman
Chocolate covered cherries, marshmallow peanuts, creme drops, and orange slices – Mary Earp
Chocolates! – Pam Howard
Butterfinger – Marchia Kirkland
Reese’s peanut butter cups – Victoria Ordonez
Butterfinger – Debra Hatcher
Orange slices – Patsy Dickson
Anything Fannie May – Dave Mead
Three Musketeer Bar – Lia Rock-Wright
Butterscotch – Libby Wilson
Reese’s Peanut butter cups – Nancy Shaffer Thiele
Caramels with white filling! (Goetze’s Caramel Creams!) – Rodney Thomas
Everything – Linnet Guidry Lewis
Malted Milk Balls – Karen Lynne
Mike & Ike – Lee Andrews Lawson
Satellite wafers – Sarah Côté
Nestle crunch – Peggy Lynch Verville
Cordial – Amber Nichole
Scorched peanuts – Gail Hart
Wintergreen – Elaine Moore
She is alive, and at last check, a big fan of Whitmans Samplers. – Jasmyn Dawn
Orange Slices – Donnette Sligar Sibille
Hershey bar – Jeannie Clement
Cherry cordials – Donna Marie Reynolds
Twizzlers – Ellen Patterson
Fudge – Martha D Clark Balser

The Remarkable Story of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day – most certainly not the commercial Hallmark event most people think. It’s about history, controversy, war and peace – and women’s role in all of it. It also underscores the reality of women and, in particular, mothers, as more integral and significant to our nation’s history, whether in the home or on-the-road, than women get credit for.

Grafton, West Virginia – Birthplace of Mother’s Day

The story began for me years ago, when I traveled to Grafton, West Virginia, the home of Mother’s Day. I took a stomach-flipping albeit beautiful mountainous road to get there, ending in a small former railroad town. My meeting was in a modest Methodist church on a modest street with one decent place to eat. Things may have changed in Grafton since I visited 20 some odd years ago, but one thing remains: the church was where Mother’s Day began. The women of the community were proud of that fact and had plenty of literature and stories to prove it.

Ann Jarvis & “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs”

The primary player in the story was activist Ann Jarvis. Initially, Ms. Jarvis helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. This was around the time of the rising Domestic Science movement – a women-led initiative to ensure food was clean and properly prepared, and the household managed with mathematical precision. If you cook anything that requires measurements, timing, and specific cooking utensils, you have Domestic Science, later called Home Economics, to thank.

Mothers’ Day Work Clubs During the Civil War

When the Civil War hit, West Virginia was part of Virginia. The state succeeded in 1863, less because of conviction and more because they went with the presumed winner. West Virginia remained torn in its identity during that time and, at some levels, still is today. Regardless, during the war, women of the Mother’s Day Work Clubs shifted their focus to bettering the sanitary conditions for Civil War soldiers in encampments on both sides of the war, stricken by such devastating problems as typhoid outbreaks.

Buy Civil War Commissary in a Box, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,Gifts From Home – Mothers of the Civil War

At home, women cooked food according to availability, which they sent to their sons and others fighting the war. What exactly they sent is hard to say – the goings on of women during war time, or, in fact any time, is hard to come by. We do get clues, though, from such places as Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular 19th century magazine. The magazine sought out recipes from women on both sides of the war which they published in an effort to unify mothers with a common, excruciating concern. Other clues come from the diaries of soldiers and the odd letter that surfaces now and then.

Godey’s Lady’s Book

Buy Molasses Drops, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,

Sugar was certainly part of the equation – it was a critical component of medicine and a core ingred ient in preserving life. So, molasses in various form, including pulled molasses, a version of taffy, was likely among these sweets as was cane sugar in various forms. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains a recipe for candied orange peels and mentions sugar-rich fruits as varied as coconuts and strawberries. These foods were certainly sent to the soldiers when supplies held out. Whether the intended recipient received them is another matter.

Buy Classic Crystallized Orange Peels, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,

“Mother’s Friendship Day”

After the war, Ann Jarvis established a “Mother’s Friendship Day” to reunite war-separated families and create reconciliation between Union and Confederate soldiers. She was determined to create a national Mother-based holiday but died in 1905 before she achieved it. Enter her daughter Anna Jarvis – a single woman who never had children but was intent on making her mother’s vision a reality. Among her early efforts was to receive funding and support from John Wanamaker, whose Philadelphia department store was the first in the nation. Wanamaker’s participation in the event, while welcome, also foreshadowed the future of Mother’s Day as a commercial bonanza for retailers and restaurateurs today.

The First Mother’s Day

In May 1908, Anna Jarvis held the first official Mother’s Day celebration at the Methodist Church which I visited and where Ann Jarvis taught Sunday School. Two aspects of Anna Jarvis’ efforts are lost today but well-worth remembering. First is the spelling of Mother’s Day. Not “Mothers’ Day” for all women, as a group, but the day honoring individual mothers, in particular those who lost sons at war. Then there’s the carnation, long a symbol of purity and faithfulness. Ms. Jarvis sent 500 carnations to the church event – carnations remain a Mother’s Day symbol to this day. The Grafton event was significant albeit modest compared to the parallel event at Wannamaker’s Philadelphia store, drawing in thousands of guests.

Her Mother’s Legacy

Anna Jarvis then launched an aggressive campaign to further fulfill her mother’s vision including establishing the Mother’s Day International Association, publishing letters in newspapers, and lobbing political figures and other influencers. She argued, among other matters, that most holidays focused on men and women deserved a share of acknowledgement and appreciation. Of course, we must acknowledge the irony that Mother’s Day focused on the grief mothers felt over the loss of their sons with no mention of the many daughters who also served in a variety of capacities on the battlefields.

Anna Jarvis’ Surprising Campaign… to End Mother’s Day?

By 1912, numerous states and other communities were commemorating Mother’s Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis was victorious. Well…she was victorious but ultimately disillusioned. Anna Jarvis protested the commercial side to Mother’s Day and, by the end of her life, lobbied for an end to the Mother’s Day celebration. In a sense, the road to Mother’s Day was as windy and remarkable as the road I travelled on my trip to Grafton. After I arrived, someone at the church informed me that I could have taken a smoother and faster alternative road on a highway. Not to stretch the metaphor too far, but the ease of Mother’s Day today – and the opportunity to connect families across the country as Ann Jarvis originally intended – is relatively smooth, straight-forward and something to celebrate. Today, Mother’s Day is an international event.

Activists, Abolitionists, and Mother’s Day

As Ann Jarvis and Anna Jarvis were working to make Mother’s Day official, other activists shared their mission. Abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the poem “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was active in promoting a version of Mother’s Day dedicated to peace efforts in the 1800s. Similarly in the 19th and 20th century temperance activists Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering advocated for an anti-war version of Mother’s Day.

For More Information…

For more fascinating information about Mother’s Day, visit The History Of Mother’s Day In The US Is Much Different Than You’d Imagine

Our Facebook Friends Shared Their Mother’s Day Favorites!

Check back next week for a blog featuring your responses!

Redefining Retro

What is Retro Anyway?

These days, we’ve been thinking a lot about retro candy. The reason is pretty simple – people like… make that love… retro candy more than any other category of confections. But what is retro candy? We searched the Web and found that most candy sellers believe retro candy is either a “trip down memory lane” – or a “walk through the 1900s.” In other words, retro old is relatively new.

Make sense? Not to us. So, we took the matter to our Facebook friends and the customers at our brick-and-mortar store in Harpers Ferry. We asked two questions – what is your favorite retro candy? and what date was it invented? The responses varied.

Wait, Pixy Stix Were a Drink Mix?!

Buy Pixy Stix, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,Jeremy Butler, for example, said his favorite candy was SweeTarts, circa 1980. The actual date was the 1960s, but close enough. The SweeTart story goes back to the late 1920s and a drink mix that became a candy known as Pixy Stix. In the 1960s, Pixy Stix makers created a neater version of this favorite treat … which was the SweeTart.

NECCO Wafers & Taffy – Older Than You Think…

Buy Original 1847 NECCO Wafers, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,

Others bucked conventional thinking saying the 1800s was the start date for their retro favorites think: NECCO Wafers which originated in 1847. Kirsten Renee Campbell guessed her favorite, salt water taffy, was from the 1800s and she was right. Late 1800s, to be precise. By the way, salt water taffy was never actually made with salt water. It did originate on the Atlantic City boardwalk, but saltwater taffy doesn’t differ much from what you can get, say, in Colorado. Which is a good thing if you happen to live in Colorado.

Is Peanut Brittle Retro?

Buy Peanut Brittle, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy, The answer I love the best, though, is from Andrea Blavat. Her favorite is peanut brittle. As for the date – she said “pre-historic times maybe?” And right she was! Well, more or less. Brittle is one of the oldest candies around, dating back thousands of years to a mixture of honey and sesame seeds. This candy, which originated in the Middle East and Mediterranean, likely contained cane sugar as well, which grew freely in India, an apex of the ancient Spice Trade. As for sesame seeds – yes – but this early brittle likely contained other nuts as well.

Does this make brittle truly “retro”? By the common definition that retro signifies a 20th century treat, probably not. But then, plenty of other candies would be bumped off the list as we said, such as the NECCO Wafer, Kirsten’s taffy, and other “retro” favs such as 1800s candy corn, circus peanuts (keep reading for a retro recipe using this controversial candy), cotton candy, Black Jack Gum, fruit drops, marshmallows, caramels, and more. Some, such as candy sticks and Altoids (yes! Altoids), go back even further (OK – Altoids originated in the 1780s) such as Jordan Almonds which go back to the ancient Romans – marzipan, too.

Spangler’s Circus Peanut Salad

Circus peanuts spread out

Looking for a new way to eat the surprisingly old circus peanut? Try this recipe, submitted by Mrs. Kay Larson for the 1976 Stump Creek Resident’s Cookbook and let us know what you think!

 

1 package of orange jello
1 no. 2 can crushed pineapple
2 cups cold water
30 circus peanuts
2 cups hot water
1 container Cool Whip

 

Dissolve jello in hot water. Cut up circus peanuts and dissolve in this. Drain pineapple and add liquid to cold water. Add to the first mixture. Allow to partially set. Add Cool Whip and crushed pineapple. Chill until set.

Retro, Redefined

Array of retro and penny candies on table So here’s the point: let’s redefine retro and in doing so acknowledge a link to the past that taps all our senses. Taste the candy. Smell it. Hear the crunch and so on and on. With each bite you’ll be connected to lives and locations you never imagined.  As for the purpose of eating these treats? Well, that varied, depending on the candy (some, for example, were medicines) but the underlying value was always sweet.

Here’s to Redefining Retro! From 2,000 BC to 2000 AD. Timelessly delicious.

All The Candies of Grandma’s Purse

Last week, we asked our Facebook friends about the candies their grandmothers kept in their purses. The response was amazing! Not that I was surprised. For generations, Grandmothers have given kids candies always appreciated and rarely forgotten. Some were retro. Some were even older than retro. Some have vanished. Some remain. As for the reasons why candy was so
important…

The Unexpected Reasons Grandmothers Gave Kids Candy

Grandmothers and grandfathers, too, gave candy for a few surprising – and poignant – reasons. First candy had long been used as a treat, a medicine, or both.

So, grandparents considered those butterscotch drops, Lifesavers, and other hard candies good for sore throats. Canada Mints, once known as “soft paste” medicines, were considered good for upset stomachs – my Grandfather
used them to treat his ulcers. Chewing gum, from Teaberry to Double Mint, freshened the breath, cleaned the teeth, and also alleviated stomach distress. Others, such as Circus Peanuts, were made for fun, fun, fun (later to be morphed into Lucky Charm cereal!).

Reason #2: People living in the first half of the 20th century had to deal with sugar shortages due to the Great Depression and two World Wars. No sugar – no candy. When candy returned after years of absence, it became a symbol of affluence, well-being, and a sign that all was right in the world. When grandparents gave their grandchildren candy it was a gift of all that and a symbol of love.

Sour Balls, Peppermint Swirls, and Lifesavers – The Candy in My Grandmother’s Purse

I remember trips to visit my grandmother and her sisters in Boston. We usually started at my
great-Aunt Eunice’s, whose apartment was on the third floor of a brick building, an immense
and wonderfully sophisticated amount of steps for a suburban kid such as me. My grandmother
and her sisters would sit on a couch, knitting and chatting, while the kids – my cousins, my
brothers, and I – did our kid things, frequently involving comic books, bubble gum, and secrets.

The living room, actually the living room couch, was the place to visit. Without exception, I’d
ask my grandmother and her sisters for candy. The response was always the same: “Get my
purse.” The purse was inevitably black, with a clasp, and within it a handkerchief, wallet, and
plenty of who-knows-whats, and more to the point, sour balls, Starlight Mints, and Lifesavers.
They’d reach in and hand us as much as we wanted, with one, of course, for each of them. Then, with candy in mouth, I would snuggle in beside my grandmother or my great-aunt Helen. The knitting would stop so she could rub my back, my arm, or smooth my hair. And all in the world was right and all in the world was good.

The Candies Grandmothers Gave Our Facebook Friends

We heard about a lot of candies from our Facebook friends, and even a bit about grandmothers
who didn’t give candy! Milania Pearl said “No candy. She always gave me money.” All was well
– Milania “…bought cassette tapes for my radio and shoes -lunch money, too, for Burger King.”
Some of the responses were sad, such as Barbara C. “Don’t know, never went anywhere with
one Grandmother and the other one passed away when I was very young.”

Said Karen Lester Flynn: “I don’t believe my grandmother had any sweets in her purse….
However she had a cookie drawer with those cookies in the blue tin sometimes she would have
sugar wafers” We say: Yum!

Sorry to hear this from Molly K. Varley: Cigarettes and bitterness.

 

The #1 Candy Flavor Was BUTTERSCOTCH!

Butterscotch was made in England, as a kind of toffee… made with lots of butter!

Grandma’s Candy Comments!

Peggy Warren: She always had butterscotch lifesavers in the roll. I used to love when she pulled
it out to give me one. And she had wrapped peppermints and Werther’s caramels. They bring
back wonderful memories of her. Lovely!

Paula Mallory. Angel Mints, Granny always had them in her purse. If I got fidgety while out
shopping, visiting family and friends, after dinner in a restaurant or in church, she’d start doling
out the Angel Mints Found them. Still around, made in Texas, but only sold wholesale. We’ll get
some – can’t wait to start selling them.

Nola Coons. Usually gum in her purse. But best was the candy dish on the dining room buffet
that was always full of small candies, usually a variety of Brachs! We’d always head to the
candy dish to see what Grandma had filled it with! Candy bowls were immensely popular,
usually fancy, and always full. A testament for the importance of candy. Brachs is still around,
although no longer owned by the Brach family.

Molly Dewees Brockett: My grandfather always had hard butterscotch candies and the blue
mints in his glove compartment and he called them scratchy throat medicine. Yes! Medicine!

Andrea Blavat: My big sister always had the tropical fruit assorted Lifesavers in her purse. They
were so good! Lifesavers were originally made in 1912 and used as a breath cleanser in
saloons.

Thomas Miess- Mc Donald: My Grandfather always had Sen Sens and Hard Licorice Stick.
Both licorice flavored – sad to say Sen Sen is no longer around. It might come back. We hope
they do!

Heather Scott Penselin: As a grandma I have no candy in my purse but I do have mints in my car
and lots of ice cream in my freezer. Cool Grandma!!

Jennifer Wyatt. Gum or mints. She had the aqua blue mints that were wrapped in clear
cellophane in a candy dish in her house, always! Thanks Jenifer! Those are the blue ice candies.
We never carried them, but will now!

Heather Scott-Penselin: Usually Ice Breakers but I can’t find the peppermint flavor anymore so
Altoids at the moment. Sometimes Green Tea ones from Trader Joes. Altoids – originated in
1780. Who knew??

Wax Lips and Bottles

Jennie Gist. Mine didn’t carry candy in her purse, but whenever we visited her, she’d send us kids
to the corner store where they had everything from Nik-L-Nips to wax lips to Atomic Fireballs.
A bagful of fun! YES! Nik L Nip was made in the lead-up years to Prohibition. Nik – for a nickel
a bag. Nip for a nip of whiskey.

Jennie Gist True Treats Historic Candy there were 5 of us kids and someone must have been
eating the wax, but not me! Now, wax lips … that’s a different story! First made in Pennsylvania
using Paraffin Wax, the remains of the petroleum industry, which started in Titusville, PA. in
1859.

Gum

These gums were made in the late 1800s- to early-ish 1900s. ALL made with tree resin until
World War 2 when supplies diminished and companies shifted to latex.

Sue Pace Grau: A pack of Juicy Fruit gum. We (her grandkids) each got a half piece. To this day
I think of her when I see that gum in the stores.

Jeanna Burdette: Chiclet gum and lifesavers.

Dani Rose Perez: Peppermint, tamarind and double mint gum.

Cindy Neel: Not candy but chicklet gum.

What about Grandpa?

Janet Latimer: None that I remember, but granddad had lemon drops in his truck that the cousins
and I would sneak.

Amanda Vierling: My grandfather kept butterscotch candies on hand.

Patricia McGinn: Never my grandma. My grandfather always had a roll of butter rum Lifesavers
in his suit pocket.

Strawberry Soft Candy

Buy Strawberry-Filled Candy - A Gift of Love, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, true treats historic candy,Katrinna Rich: Those little strawberries with the soft center!

Dana Perkins. My great grandmother always had those hard strawberry filled drops in the
wrapper that looked like a strawberry! Good memories!

A top seller for us today! A true classic.

And More Candy…

Carol Cross-Hooper: Wrigley’s peppermint. But she’d give you a half of stick.

Michelle Hum: Peppermints, or some call them starlight mints

Dare Nettles: Nothing but at home she had a tin full of black licorice

Betty Bunting: Crystal Mints. They used to be a flavor of Life Saver and came in a roll. I haven’t
seen them in years and years… I’m sure they’re not made anymore.

Marylouise McKillip: Butterscotch hard candy. Every so often, I buy a wee bag and I think of
her when eating each piece.

Cathleen Norris: Peppermint lifesavers… always.

Allison Dame Ryan: Brach’s Butterscotch candies or peppermint ones!

And The Candies Are…

Butterscotch Hard Candy
Peppermint Lifesavers
Strawberry Filled Candy
Butter Rum Lifesavers
Butterscotch Lifesavers
Angel Mints
Gum
Hard Candy
Mints
Caramels
Starlight Mints
Peppermints
Fruit Lifesavers
Ice Blue Mints
Sen-Sen
Black Licorice
Brachs
Wrigley’s Gum
Certs
Crystal Mints
Cookies
Sugar Wafers
Juicy Fruit
Lifesavers
Chiclets
Canada Mints
Pink Wintergreen Mints
Sugar Free
Velomints
Watermelon Hard Candy
Wintergreen
Circus Peanuts
Ice Breakers
Altoids
Cream Cheese Mints
Nik-L-Nip
Wax Lips
Fireballs
Lemon Drops
Tamarind
Double Mint Gum
Freeman’s Gum
Teaberry Gum
Peppermint Patties
Root Beer Balls
Cinnamon Gum
Tic Tacs

 

 

Easter Candy You May Have Missed

Easter Candy You May Have Missed

This Easter, why not discover the Easter candies you may have missed. They taste great and are rich with meaning. One of my favorites is St. John’s bread, thought to be the food that nourished John the Baptist while in the desert. Here’s what’s amazing – and delicious! Saint John’s bread is actually carob which we use as a healthful snack and low cal and nutritious replacement for chocolate. The “bread” is actually the pod which you can eat as-is for a unique culinary experience (not the seeds! they’re impossible to digest). Other favorites are chopped carob pieces mixed with another ancient fruit – dried grapes, aka raisins, the most often mentioned fruit in the Bible. Or try carob chips, mixed with another ancient food and symbol of spring – pomegranate seeds.  AND – don’t forget…carob tea. The possibilities are almost endless…as is the history of this wonderful food.

Here are some other important Easter treats you may have missed:

  • Date, fig, and pomegranate syrup, are among the “honeys” mentioned in the Bible. Great in tea, in baked Easter goods
  • Stuffed dates, stuffed with ancient nuts and simple syrup or a dash on bee’s honey – both known to the ancient palate.
  • Marzipan, and ancient candy made with almonds, a true spring nut. In fact, almonds were long valued as they represented good beginnings. And why? Because almonds were the first tree to flower in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
  • Cinnamon almonds – a tasty duo with ancient roots, familiar and traditional, both cited in the Bible.
  • Mann Salwa. This ancient sweet is rich with flavor, texture, and meaning. Made over 2,000 years ago, many consider it the food God gifted to Moses and the people of Israel to sate their hunger. Perfect with tea, coffee or as a snack. A personal favorite.
  • Turkish delight – a favorite worldwide under many guises. Vegan, all-natural, and rich with association with its starring role in Chronicles of Narnia. Turkish is also a best-seller here at True Treats. This is a wonderful quote from one of our customers: “Rose Turkish Delight is something I leave with every time I visit!” – Ashley G.

What Else Did You Miss This Easter?

On WBUR – A Taste of Hot Chocolate, Sex & Sin in Colonial New England

It’s Valentine’s Day and maybe you’re hoping to spark a little romance in your sweetie with a gift of some stimulating chocolate. Not to thwart your plans, but scientific research shows it’s not really an aphrodisiac. However, one candy historian was eager to take us back to a time when Americans consumed copious amounts of warm, decadent chocolate that she posits had some hidden sensual powers.

A silver serving pot, made in Boston circa 1760. (Courtesy Historic Deerfield)

Susan Benjamin, owner of True Treats Historic Candy in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, said early New Englanders were gaga for chocolate, but they weren’t eating it…

From WBUR – Listen to the whole story or read the rest of the article here.

Image: A silver serving pot, made in Boston circa 1760. (Courtesy Historic Deerfield)

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.

Ingredients:

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.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

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.

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients:

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!

Ingredients:

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.