Tag Archives: Halloween

The hidden history of candy corn

Candy Corn Creature by Karla Fitch

Candy corn is one of the most divisive candies on Halloween – one ETW member thinks it was one of the worst candies you could get trick or treating (better than raisins but worse than Tootsie Rolls), while the other member just willingly bought a bag of candy corn to consume by themselves. Whether or not you are pro candy corn or not, it seems like it has been a part of Halloween forever. According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 35 million pounds (or 9 billion pieces) of candy corn will be produced this year. And candy corn HAS been around a long time – it originated in the US sometime in the 1880s, but was first commercially produced by Wunderle company, and production of candy corn was taken up by the Goelitz Candy Company by 1898 (the ancestor of the current Jelly Belly Company). It was originally called “chicken feed,” which appealed to the agrarian sensibilities of America at the time. Candy corn has been popular ever since! Though now automated, the process of making candy corn was originally very time-consuming, and each color was individually poured into molds and had to harden before the next layer was added. if you are really a fan, you can even make your own homemade candy corn!


Filed under Holidays, Pastry Post-Poc

Traditional English Mash O’ Nine Sorts for Halloween

mashunited_kingdomHappy Halloween! In honor of this delicious day, we are making a traditional recipe for All Hallows’ Eve / Samhain from the UK, “Mash O’ Nine Sorts.” This funnily- yet descriptively- named dish consists of mashed root veggies (traditionally nine types, including turnip, potatoes, parsnips, etc.) and cheese, and is eaten in the Northern UK at this time of year. It is also tradition for the lady of the house to hide her wedding ring in the dish, and the person who found it would be the next to get married. While pumpkins are the most popular in the US, other old-world root veggies have pride of Halloween place in the UK. It was even traditional in Scotland to carve tunips! Lavender and Lovage has a recipe for Mash O’ Nine Sorts here (seen above). If you decide to make Mash O’ Nine Sorts, here is some mood music to help you out – “The Monster Mash!.”



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Candied Apples Around the World

Candy Apples by

Candy Apples by Andrea Williams

Candied apples are an ubiquitous sight during autumn in the US – whether covered in a red shell or hard toffee – you are sure to see a permutation of them at any pumpkin patch, hayride or Halloween event. In the UK they are a popular treat on Bonfire night – Guy Fawkes’ Day. Though they seem like a timeless treat, candied applies were invented only at the turn of the 20th century. The “red” coating is usually cinnamon flavored – and you can DiY your own apples by using “Red Hot” candies. British-style toffee apples can be made simply as well, using golden syrup.  However, the candied or toffee apple is not just an Anglo-American thing. Dipping apples or apple-like fruits in sweet coating is popular around the world. In France and Brazil the same candy-coated fruit is called an “Apple of Love.” We were especially interested in the Northern Chinese Tanghulu, which are small fruits on a stick dipped in candy coating in the same method as candied apples. You can make Tanghulu with any fruit – even strawberries – sounds like a perfect Halloween snack to me!


Tanghulu in China by Joni Kong

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Irish Barmbrack for Halloween / Samhain

On Halloween in Ireland, there is merriment and good food, principally among them, Barmbrack (sometimes also called barnbrack). Modern Halloween celebrations are actually descended from the Gaelic celebration of Samhain. This sweet bread/cake hybrid is dotted with raisins (sometimes soaked in liquor or tea) and flavored with autumnal spices like cloves and nutmeg. However, the Barmbrack also presents a twist. Much like a French King Cake, there are also little trinkets baked into the bread that have special meanings: a ring for an impending marriage, a pea for no marriage, a stick for fighting, a coin for luck, and a rag for a poor year. Whatever charm you get in your slice supposedly tells you what kind of luck to expect for the new year, though many people only put positive charms in the bread nowadays (who would want to find a rag in a piece of bread anyway?!). You can find a classic recipe from One Perfect Bite and Edible Ireland has a version with tea.

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A Retro Bacon Costume for Halloween

Halloween is tomorrow – and maybe you’re still searching for a costume. Here at ETW we are always on the lookout for a clever food costume or two. We came across a vintage costume we had never seen before via the ever-entertaining Retronaut: a side of bacon. This takes love of bacon to a whole new level (and it took home first prize in the 1894 Covent Garden Fancy Dress Ball).

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Pão por Deus: “Trick or Treating” on All Saints Day in Lisbon

Trick or Treat? – By Chris Devers

They don’t have trick-or-treating on Halloween in Lisbon, but there is a similar tradition that occurs on All Saints Day, November 1st, called  Pão-por-Deus. Instead of asking “Trick or Treat” Portuguese children go door to door asking, “Ó tia dá bolinho!?”(Originally – “Ó tia dá Pão por Deus?”) Literally – does auntie have any cookies? Traditionally the children would get bread from the neighbors and shop owners they visited, though it is now sometimes substituted for cookies, change or candies. This also leads to the other name for the holiday, “Dia de Bolinho.” Kids collect goodies in special drawstring bags, saquinhos, that are often decorated with embroidery or patches. Unlike Halloween, children go asking for Pão por Deus before noon (no costumes are involved, either).

November 1st, in addition to being All Saints Day, is also particularly known in Lisbon as the day of the destructive  1755 earthquake. This particular event is seen as triggering the Pão por Deus tradition, as the city was  devastated and people had to go asking for food.  The first Pão por Deus was held the following year, and continues today, though there is increasing influence form “Halloween”-type traditions. The holiday is most popular around Lisbon, but has also expanded to Brazil.

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