Archive for the ‘American History & Candy’ Category

Candy in the Classroom?

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Yesterday, I gave a talk at the D.G. Cooley Elementary School in Berryville, Virginia, about the history of candy with plenty of samples as we went. Skeptics, such as health professionals or parents who fastidiously limit their children’s intake of sugar, may cringe. Candy? In the classroom? Seriously? No worries – I’m on their side. But first, a little background. Candy is uniquely qualified for teaching children. They can relate to it directly – it’s not abstract, difficult, or about grown-up achievements. It’s about something in their realm and so, about them, complete with positive associations of candy bags at…

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The Sweet Side of Thanksgiving for Native Americans

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With Thanksgiving drawing near, what with the pies and baked goods that litter the table, it’s only natural to wonder what kinds of sweets the first Americans were eating at the time of the settlers. I am speaking, of course, of the Native Americans, who had a complex and multifaceted relationship to sugar. One example, is the cranberry, which once grew in bogs and marshes all over North America. No mere tart little fruit, the cranberry was one of the nation’s original sugars. Its original name depended on who was using it: The Indians of the east called it “sassamanesh”…

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Blueberry Sugar: A Burst and Bubble of Sweet

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If you consider fruit a provider of the first sugars in North America, then you must admire the thirteen-thousand-year-old blueberry. The sweet little button-bearing plant grows around the world, spreading its roots from Alaska to the jungles of South America. It’s hefty, sturdy, and steadfast enough to endure long winters and productive enough to feed the masses. For Native Americans, the blueberry served numerous purposes. Depending on where they lived, they used the juice as a dye, the leaves as a tea meant to improve the blood, and the roots and leaves as a multi-purpose medicine. They added blueberries to…

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