Saturday, December 26, 2009

Did You Know?

What we now know as candy canes originated as simple white stick candy. No one knows exactly when they came into being but their use as a Yule tree decoration was widespread in Europe by the mid-17th century.

The distinctive hook shape is credited to the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany in 1670, supposedly to represent the shepherd’s crook though it also made it much easier to hang them on the branches. The candies were taken off decorated trees and handed out to children during long nativity services.

The first documented usage of candy canes in America was in 1847 at the home of August Imgard, a German immigrant in Wooster, Ohio. He used them as decorations to entertain his nieces and nephews.

Stripes were added sometime around 1900 going by Christmas cards. Cards prior to then show them as all white, after then with stripes. Peppermint and wintergreen flavors became popular around that time as well.

Personally I prefer the straight peppermint sticks. I actually have a good Christmas memory about them. Some years my grandmother would show up with them and lemons. She’d roll the lemons on the table to loosen the juice as she put it and then poke a hole in the rind to insert the cane. The lemon juice would dissolve some of the candy and it became a straw.

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