Sweet Talkin' Blog

The True Story of Beemans – Pig Guts and Pepsin

Posted on:

This popular Beeman’s gum was invented in the late 1800s by Dr. Edward E. Beeman, an Ohio-based physician and researcher, who discovered that pepsin, derived from the stomach of hogs, could aid digestion. He begin selling pepsin powder, but sales were not what he’d hoped. So, Nellie Horton, his bookkeeper or local shopkeeper, depending on who you ask, suggested that he make a delicious tasting pepsin chewing gum to increase sales. Beeman made the gum. It tasted good, was individually wrapped, but sales were lackluster. And why? Beeman was a doctor, not a marketer, and called his company the unappealing…

Read More »

The Return of Black Jack, Clove and Beeman’s Gum – But Returned from Where?

Posted on:

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. And now – they’re back! Again! This much hailed return begs the question ‘where did they begin in the first place?’ The answer to that question requires a timeline of sorts which goes back to the origin of commercial chewing gum, which is unexpectedly recent. Throughout History: People everywhere have chewed tree resin to clean their teeth, heal gum and tooth problems, and ease other bodily…

Read More »

The Candy Cane – Details Revealed

Posted on:

A few weeks ago, I posted that History.com interviewed me via a number of written questions.The editor said I could share the full Candy Cane Q&A once the article, with my quotes, was released. She also said I need to give them credit…which, as you can imagine, is a pleasure. So…here it is… What do you know about the origins of the candy cane?  The first candy cane most likely took shape in 17th century Europe when people were enjoying pulled sugars, the parent to today’s candy sticks. At that time, somewhere in Germany, an unknown person added a hook…

Read More »

The Deep – and Not Dark – Backstory of Holiday Candy

Posted on:

One of the most beloved – and inexpensive – gifts during the holidays is Christmas candy. So, it’s ironic that the candy has little to do with Christmas, the birth of Jesus, or even the wintry season. The candy cane, for example, originated in Germany somewhere in the 1600s. Rumors abound as to its origin – some say a choirmaster gave it to the choirboys to quiet them during the services. Whatever the case may be, they were hand-pulled, all white, and yes, hung from evergreen trees…but not for Christmas. As for the most gorgeous candy (in my opinion) –…

Read More »

Happy Birthday Robert Johnson!

Posted on:

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.  We even see his influence in the candy universe in such items as the Hot Tamale candy, which runs from ancient Aztec women to Mexican immigrants working in agriculture to enslaved workers in the Delta to Robert Johnson to a Jewish immigrant in Pennsylvania to the Peeps candy and, at last, to the Hot Tamale candy…

Read More »

The Dumb in Dum Dum

Posted on:

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 their cluttered, bountiful lay-out can be an inspiration to us all. But, what I saw this trip was less inspirational and more disturbing. Cracker Barrel has gone mega. The company has cut back on ordinary candy that can fit in your fist, featuring instead candy…

Read More »

Dandelion Mania: Dandelion Jelly, Dandelion Tea, Dandelion Gardens…

Posted on:

The dandelion, so remarkable, unforgettable, and essential. Plus… so loathsome to Americans, they invented a specially crafted hand tool to extract it. But time presents a non-loathsome reality: the dandelion is  a venerable flower admired since antiquity.  The ancient Chinese used it for food and medicine; the Japanese cultivated 200 varieties; the Greeks used it as a celebratory gift in their mythology; and monks planted it in the psychic garden of monasteries during the Middle Ages. The dandelion’s geographic range was vast…but not in North America. It took the Puritans to plant dandelion seeds carried from Europe; in the new…

Read More »

An Evening With Virginia Willis

Posted on:

Recently, I attended an event in DC featuring the food of Virginia Willis, a Southern chef and food writer whose newest book “Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) was just released. Note the words in the subtitle: “Global South.” Among her interesting (and often hilarious) insights throughout the evening, Willis point out that “Southern” food is relative depending on where in the South it originated and the cultural heritage that influenced it.  We were treated to sweet potatoes and collards from Africa (the collards had a vegetarian twist: Italy-based…

Read More »

Water Donations

Posted on:

Thanks to these and other water bottlers for making  our Water Tasting a splash! Purely Sedona Tourmaline Spring Crazy Water

True Treats Water Tasting!

Posted on:

True Treats Candy Hosts Free Historic Water Tasting  From Sparkling to Spring the Waters are Unique Includes Candy and Soda Samples – Event Followed by an Old Time Movie     On April 21st a surprising culinary treat was available to all at True Treats Historic Candy’s theater: an historic water tasting. Yes – water. In this free taste-bud opening experience, the public sampled over 20 kinds of water from numerous time periods and categories from the first in the nation through today’s municipal, spring-fed, and sparkling water, with descriptions of them all.   According to True Treats Candy founder,…

Read More »

What’s in your water?

Posted on:

  As the warm weather draws near, Americans are putting on their hiking boots, cleaning off their bicycles, and readying their water bottles for their seasonal spike in thirst. But which water to drink? Yes, all drinking water starts as precipitation, much of it having fallen hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Yet the differences between waters is remarkable depending on where it fell and how it was absorbed into waterways. More recently, bottled water marketers have entered the scene, touting the wonders of their products and, behind the scenes, planting fear about their main competitor – the tap….

Read More »

Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube