Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Mystery of Watergate (Salad)

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What on earth is Watergate salad? Who invented it? Why? And why call it Watergate? These questions are circulating around DC these days, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to WAMU, DC’s Public Radio affiliate to weigh in on the matter. So, allow me: Watergate is a dessert made of pistachio pudding, nuts, whipped cream, pineapple, and above all, marshmallows. It first appeared in 1975– a concoction supposedly invented in the kitchens of General Foods – now Kraft – and has since appeared at picnics, church get-togethers, and other family events. Its origin, however, is not in the…

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Yesterday’s Medicines, Today’s Delights: Three Fascinating Flowers

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 Throughout history, people used roots, barks, flowers and seeds as medicines. Today, we recognize them as delights – tasty, relaxing or pleasant pick-me-ups.  I want to tell you about all of them…but there are simply too many to review in one blog. So, let’s start with three flowers: the rose, lavender and marigold. All  are popular today,  typically for their scent and good looks. Through most of history, they’ve been used for many other reasons. Roses Roses have inhabited the earth for 35 million years. The Chinese first cultivated them 5,000 years ago and they have held a place in…

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The Unexpected Origin of the Marshmallow: from Ancient Medicines to the Steam Locomotive

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Yes, the marshmallow really is from the marshmallow plant.  The marshmallow plant, or Althaea officinalis, is a relative of the hollyhock, with pastel-colored, papery flowers.[i] The plant, especially its roots, have a sticky substance that once gave the marshmallow its taste and texture. Today, the root is available as a tea: the mucilage is like a syrup in hot water but thickens into a strangely sweet gel when cool. The plant originated in Europe and West Asia where the ancients used it to treat coughs and sore throats. The marshmallow was also a sweet where the Ancient Egyptians boiled with…

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The Chocolate Tasters Have Spoken!

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And the winner is….Hostess Mints! We sent our official candy tasters a variety of chocolates to try …and the verdict is in! Out of two cordials – Irish cream and peach – chocolate covered figs, milk Wilbur Buds, chocolate cayenne pepper balls, hostess mints, and the great outlier of them all chocolate covered gummy bears…the winner is the Hostess Mints!! So what about the Hostess Mints? They’re a classic treat with chocolate enrobed or sandwiched mint. and a favorite of bridge players from the 1920s through 1950s… Among the positive reviews were that the hostess mint was “GREAT! Much better…

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The Strawberry, a Spy, and a Happy Accident

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Taken, in part, from “Sweet as Sin” (Prometheus, 2016) Strawberry is one of the most popular candy flavors in the nation. It’s in chewing gum, hard candies, jelly beans, taffy, Caramel Creams. Strawberry leaves make a healthy and delicious tea and chocolate covered strawberries are unbeatable. Yet, the most intriguing aspect of the strawberry is its story, involving three continents, international spies, life at the high seas, and science. Humble Beginnings Originally, North American strawberries were tiny little nuggets, a humble yet wild plant. They held special meaning for Native Americans because they were the first to produce fruit in…

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The Candy Cane – Details Revealed

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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…

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The Deep – and Not Dark – Backstory of Holiday Candy

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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) –…

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

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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…

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Water Donations

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

True Treats Water Tasting!

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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,…

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What’s in your water?

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  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….

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