Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remembering the Taffy Pull

Found this yummy picture over at Skip to My Lou. Cindy offers a fun activity of taffy making with the kids. Go here to check out her recipe and to see pictures of the work in progress.

It got me reminiscing of the trip that I took with the kids to Taffy Town. We had just moved to Salt Lake City from the Bay area of California. We thought that hotel living sounded fun and negotiated three months of it with the company while we searched for the ideal home. In about 24 hours the kids (ages 5, 3 and 1) and I were desperate for any kind of entertainment. We saw the bright, colorful Taffy Town building and figured it HAD to be a fun place to hang out. Obviously, for health reasons, they don't let visitors help pull their candy (BIG DISAPPOINTMENT) but the kids enjoyed seeing the big machines make the candy. Their favorite part was the free samples that were handed out at the end of the tour. Of course, we came home with about $50 of the colorful candy. (We were giving it away for months!)

Did you know that taffy pulling has been a favorite American pastime dating back to Colonial days? When sugar was hard to come by, the candy was made with molasses, maple syrup and even honey. Saturday nights were designated as THE NIGHT for getting together for the taffy pull. The pulling process is important because it puts air into the mixture, making for lighter and chewier candy.

Taffy got its salt water name around the turn of the 20th century. No one is sure, but the most popular legend attributes candy-store owner, David Bradley with coining the phrase. The story goes that his shop was flooded during a major storm in 1883. The entire stock of taffy was soaked...supposedly with salty Atlantic Ocean water. Bradley was trying to save his inventory and offered "salt water taffy" almost as a joke. Turns out the laugh was on him because the candy was a hit and the name stuck.

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