Sweet Talkin' Blog

Black Music Month

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We cannot let June slip by without acknowledging Black Music M onth and the remarkable contribution of black musicians to our culture, our history, and, dare I say, our candy.  Here are three of our favorites:   James P. Johnson.  In 1894 and the great African American musician and composer was born. Classically trained, he went on to bridge the gap between ragtime and jazz, as back-up player for such greats as Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith, mentor to Duke Ellington and  Fats Waller, among many others, and an accompanist on over 400 recordings, and colleag ue of George Gershwin….

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July 4th: Marshmallows, Patriots and Our First Founders

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July 4th is fast approaching and we Americans toast marshmallows, set off fireworks, and have an overall great time honoring the founders of our nation. True Treats Historic Candy is right onboard, ready to celebrate the brave, difficult and enduring contributions of our forefathers and mothers like nobody’s business! So, as proprietors of a candy store, it makes sense that we’d focus on those who devoted their lives to cane sugar – a powerful force in the economy and diets of early Americans. I am speaking, of course, of the enslaved workers, without whose efforts our nation may never have…

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July 4th: Let’s Celebrate our Nation’s Founders…All of Them

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Cane sugar was one of the main reasons for enslavement in the U.S. The cane sugar plantations were infamous: the average worker suffered egregious injuries, lived short lives, often ending in their 20s, and were typically malnourished with little or no medical care. They, and others in similar circumstances, were also among the founders of our nation.   July 4th is fast approaching, and we Americans eat hot dogs, send off fireworks, and have an overall great time honoring the Declaration of Independence and the founders of our great nation. True Treats Historic Candy is right on board, ready to…

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Father’s Day: Expression of Love or a Commercial Trap? Why Worry?

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If you’re torn about Father’s Day – wanting to show Dad love but avoid a commercial trap – take heart.  While some people believe Father’s Day, and its counter-part Mother’s Day, are a Hallmark Card company gimmick, both have sincere origins dating back to the early 1900s in West Virginia. Father’s Day began in 1908 at a church service honoring 362 coal-miners who died at the Fairmont Coal Company disaster in Monongah, West Virginia. The one-time event honored not only those men but all fathers. The idea was picked up a year later by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington…

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Something’s Old is Entirely New at Chicago’s Sweets and Snacks Expo

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Regal Crowns, Turkish Taffy, and Classic Tootsie Rolls What’s new in the candy universe? I decided to find out at the annual Sweets and Snacks Expo held at Chicago’s McCormick Hall. What I found was plenty of candies that are delightfully old. Best of all, the owners of the companies who make them were there – such as Mitchel Goetz, whose family has been making Caramel Creams for generations, and Ross Born, of the Peeps family fame… my personal real life heroes. Among the classics were the Wax Lips, big bar Tootsie Rolls, American Licorice Black Licorice Twists, and Goldenberg’s…

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Potato Candy

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The potato candy is quickly rising to the best seller list at the shop. Our customers have two reactions to this Americanized German immigrant. One is: “What is potato candy?” The other: “My grandmother use to make this.” So, let’s address this fascinating candy: What is potato candy? Potato candy came to the U.S., somewhere around the turn of the century, reportedly from Germany. It arrived in recipe form – possibly memorized rather than written – with immigrants. The candy consisted of two main ingredients: potato and sugar. One it hit the American shores, it took on peanut butter –…

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What Dad Really Wants? He-Man Sweets

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What better Father’s Day gift for Dad than true he-man candy. The he-man candy is even suitable for men in touch with their feminine side: the range is far enough to suit virtually any testosterone- touched palette. Just look at these manly favorites… Chowards Violet Mints: Seriously, violet? Yes, these perfume- tasting classic were made in the 1930s and a hit among men in their native NYC…including cops! Candy bars:  Any kind would work– they took off in after World War I where they made an appearance in the Doughboy’s rations .I’d go for the Goldberg’s Peanut Chews and the…

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The Blues, Robert Johnson and the Hot Tamale Connection

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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. The roots of the blues began in the Mississippi Delta – an area that extends from Vicksburg Mississippi to Memphis Tennessee. There, on cotton plantations, enslaved laborers struggled under dire conditions, unfathomable to most Americans today. One of their resources for survival were a confluence of songs rooted in their Western Africa cultures that they sung in the fields in unified voices, call-and-response interactions, and individual hollers….

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Chocolate Balls Are In and They’re Amazing!

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So excited! We just received our first batch of cacao balls from Grenada – used to make chocolate tea…a true delight, I can assure you! I discovered them during my trip last month…after a few interviews and visits to farmers’ collectives and other such places, I got the story behind the drink. Here’s how you make a chocolate ball, as told to me by someone at a Grenadian nutmeg processing company…aka the GCNE Nutmeg Pool How to make a chocolate roll – aka chocolate balls As described at the Pick a cacao pod Take the cacao bean out of the…

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Grenada – Ian Roberts: Mangos of the Island

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Ian Roberts is a craftsman who sells bracelets and other trinkets from a stall at the beach. He uses black coral and other natural elements which he polishes and shapes using a cigarette lighter. The results are finely crafted pieces with a rich amber hue. My people came from indentured Indian people who mixed with Africans. There were so many races here, the Indian people, the Africans, they mixed with the overseers. My people came after slavery and signed a five-year contact. After the contract ended, they stayed. Maybe it was better than in India. Maybe they didn’t have enough…

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