Everybody needs a hobby and for some that hobby is collecting candy wrappers! The Candy Wrapper Museum is an online repository where this form of paper ephemera is “enjoyed as art, nostalgia, and humor.”
For Darlene Waddington, museum curator, it all began in the late 50s when she began enjoying “classic candy like Bit-O-Honey, Sugar Babies, and Good ‘n Plenty from the earliest years of [her] youth.”
Gradually she decided she “should collect some of the popular wrappers just for posterity, particularly because I saw candy times were a’changin’, with prices going up, candy getting smaller, old classics vanishing off the shelves …”
What resulted is a nostalgic and educational romp through candy’s history. You’ll find wrappers of some familiar candies as well as some hidden gems, like the Chicken Dinner Jr. The Candy Wrapper Museum even houses photos of treats named after celebrities and cartoons, like the Reggie and Dick Tracy candy bars. What a great way to enjoy candy without any of the calories!
Slo Pokes are back! The candies many of us grew up with are making comebacks! Including the caramelly Slo Poke. So says Marc Summers of the Food Network’s Unwrapped television show.
Even if you missed the original airing of the program, you still can learn how one company is “taking some ‘blasts from the past’ and making them again for the kids of today” in a show excerpt posted on YouTube. Titled, “Candy Cravings,” the video clip covers a brief history of the Slo Poke and the modern day production of this rediscovered favorite.
Time has changed at least one aspect of the Slo Poke sucker. It’s now available in both the original size and as a bite-sized treat. Now that’s a comeback we all can enjoy!
Gum chewers are getting some good news when it comes to keeping trim! A link between chewing calorie-free gum and fat loss has been uncovered by a Mayo Clinic study and recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the WorldRoom.com, a content aggregator for public television, “The Minnesota researchers concluded that chewing gum increases your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) by 20%. On average, people in the study burned 11 more calories per hour than those that did not.”
While 11 calories may not seem like much at first glance, it adds up. “Over the course of a year that amounts to thousands of calories, or approximately 10 lbs.!”
“Chewing … calorie-free gum can be readily carried out throughout the day, and its potential effect on energy balance should not be discounted,” stated Dr. James Levine, one of the study’s authors. “It does illustrate that small changes in daily activities, even something as trivial as chewing gum, can have a significant impact on weight loss.”
You’re invited to join the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra for “Prodigy” on January 26. “The concert will showcase a few of the most talented young musicians from the area, inviting them to play alongside the professional musicians of the NSO,” says Diane Wittry, Music Director and Conductor.
The five musicians featured are: nineteen year old violin soloist Stephanie Jeong from New Canaan; cellist Danielle Merlis, 17, of Westport; violinist Tristan Zeman, age 12, of Westport; cellist Allison Wen Giebisch, 12, of Woodbridge; and violinist Nicole Kilroy, 17, of Hopewell Junction, NY.
Performances will feature the music of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No, 4 in D Major.
Tickets for the Prodigy concert range from $20 – $50 with special reduced price tickets available for students under 18 and free admission for children under twelve. Obtain tickets by calling the Symphony office at 203-847-8844 or by .
There is a persistent Life Saver rumor that harkens back decades. You’ve probably heard it yourself. It goes something like this: Wint-O-Green Life Savers give off bright sparks when bitten in a dark room. But is this an urban legend or does it have the glint of truth to it? If you answered “it’s true” you’re correct! But the mystery remains. How does it work?
For the answer, we went to the How Stuff Works web site. There we were in for a little surprise! “Actually, all hard sugar-based candies emit some degree of light when you bite them” according to their research. Usually, however, that light is very faint. “When you rip a piece of tape off the roll, it will produce a slight glow for the same reason,” the authors continue. And that reason is triboluminescence, the natural emission of light resulting from something being smashed or torn.
But there’s more to the story of Wint-O-Green Life Savers. When bitten, they shed a greater amount of visible light than other candies. And that extra spark is produced by the wintergreen flavoring. Oil of wintergreen is naturally fluorescent.
This means it absorbs the light of shorter wavelengths, in this case ultraviolet light, and then emits light of a longer wavelength in the visible spectrum. What results is a burst of blue sparks every time you crunch on a Wint-O-Green Life Saver!
To shed more light on the science behind this amazing Life Saver flavor, visit the Wint-O-Green page at How Stuff Works.
No kiss is sweeter than the chocolatey Hershey’s Kiss. This mouth-sized morsel was first introduced in 1907 and turned 100 in July of this year! While it is uncertain how the Kiss got its name, some believe it stems from the sounds that emanated from the manufacturing process as the small drops of sweet milk chocolate were created.
In the beginning, Hershey’s Kisses were individually hand-wrapped in a silver foil, but by 1921 machines were invented that could automatically wrap greater numbers of the popular treat. Production halted from 1942 to 1949, however, due to the rationing of silver foil during and after World War II.
Since that time, Hershey Kisses have been wrapped in varied colors of foils and have been introduced with different flavor combinations! In 1990 Kisses with almonds became popular followed by Hershey’s Hugs (with white chocolate) in 1993. Ten years later later a caramel variation joined the Hershey Kisses line-up.
Today Hershey makes more than 80 million Kisses every day at its chocolate factories in Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia. And, according to company research, “if stranded on a desert island, more than half of Americans surveyed would rather have an unlimited supply of Hershey’s Kisses Brand Special Dark Chocolates than their favorite book!”
For more fun facts on the Hershey’s Kiss, visit the Hershey’s web site for this informative slide show.
If you haven’t taken the children to see “Polar Express” yet, there’s still time. The holiday movie is showing at the Maritime Aquarium IMAX in Norwalk through January 3.
Based on the 1986 Caldecott Award-winning book, the animated film follows a young boy as he boards a magical train taking him and other children to Santa’s North Pole headquarters. Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks provides the voice for the mysterious train conductor as well as four other characters. “Polar Express” also features the music of Josh Groban and the Academy Award nominated song, “Believe.” And, viewed in 3D IMAX, it’s said you’ll feel as you if can “reach out and touch the snowflakes!”
For show times visit the Maritime Aquarium website. And for more details on the movie or the book visit Warner Brother’s Polar Express site.
Your favorite candies can do double-duty during the holidays when you consider candy crafts for fun, seasonal activities with the kids! It’s easy with these tips from Martha Stewart.
Work your magic by turning a simple candy cane into a whimsical reindeer. Martha’s How To guide includes a downloadable template. All you need are a few craft materials including felt, craft pom-poms and floral wire, plus household supplies like a new canadian meds pencil and scissors.
For décor or a gift with nostalgic appeal, you might also create candy-counter-style jars. Just clean and fill an old jelly jar with your favorite candy (like gum drops or jelly beans). Layer the candies to form patterns, and then adorn each jar following a few of Martha Stewart’s suggestions.
So come on and explore your creative side! And rediscover how much fun a homespun holiday can be!
Are you a whiz kid when it comes to Whoppers? Savvy about suckers? Or a brain on the topic of bubble gum? Just how much do you know when it comes to the confections we all know and love?
Now you can challenge your candy knowledge with the American Girl Candy Quiz. See if you’ve got the right answers to eight candy questions. And expect some surprising answers as you learn the true history behind some of your favorite treats!
Before you start, make sure you have the Flash 6.0 or later plug-in. It’s free and easy to download. Then, get ready for some good, sweet fun that the whole family can enjoy!
And speaking of American girl dolls, don’t forget that you can submit ballots to win Samantha in our drawing until December 18th…come to the store and go for it!
Did you know that Christopher Columbus introduced Europe to the cocoa bean? Or that, more recently, chocolate has been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. Astronauts? It’s all true and part of the fascinating history of chocolate.
According to the experts at Candy USA, “The story of chocolate, as far back as we know it, begins more than 2000 years ago in equatorial Central America.” Back then, Mayan Indians first created a beverage from crushed cocoa beans which came from the cacao plant. And for the Aztecs, cocoa beans were a form of currency as well as a chocolaty drink.
Cortes was probably the first “westerner” to realize the potential of cocoa and introduced a sweetened version to Spain in the 1500s. From there, a love for chocolate spread across Europe where it was enjoyed as “a delicious, health-giving drink.”
It wasn’t until the 19th century that chocolate began to be enjoyed as we know it today, as a candy created by combining melted cocoa butter with sugar and cocoa powder. But we’ve made up for lost time! During WWII, chocolate candy was supplied to the Allied Armed Forces, giving “them the energy to carry on until more food rations could be obtained.” And, with the dawning of the space age, chocolate was sent into orbit as a part of the diet of American astronauts.
One thing’s certain: as America’s favorite flavor, chocolate is in our future as well as our history!