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Originally Called Fairy Floss Until 1921 When A New Orleans Dentist Trademarked The Name “Cotton Candy”

National Cotton Candy Day celebrates the spun sugar treat that delights candy fans of all ages. On December 7th get your favorite flavor of this sweet delight that dates back to the 1400s.

  • Originally called spun sugar, cotton candy is still a staple at carnivals, fairs, and the circus. While it may be reminiscent of childhood days, fairy floss also reminds us of fluffy clouds. Since the heated sugar gets spun into thin strands of fine sugar and blown into fat puffs twirled onto paper sticks, it’s a bit like magic.
  • It all started when cooks physically melted and spun sugar. They used forks to extract the candy into thin strands, which they draped around broom handles.
  • During the 18th century, cotton candy (spun sugar) was first recorded in Europe. At that time, it was very expensive and labor-intensive. Generally, the average person could not afford to purchase cotton candy.
  • Then in 1897, Dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton, both from Nashville, invented machine-spun cotton candy. Their invention introduced cotton candy to a wider audience at the 1904 World’s Fair as Fairy Floss. Fairgoers loved it and bought over 68,000 boxes for 25¢ a box.
  • William Morrison and Wharton spent seven years perfecting their new product before releasing it to the broader public.
  • In 1921, another dentist by the name of Dr. Josef Lascaux in New Orleans improved the design of the machine and he trademarked the name “Cotton Candy.”
  • Cotton Candy is healthier than most desserts.
  • Cotton candy is only made from two ingredients—air and colored sugar, which means that there is no fat content at all. There is actually much more sugar in a 12 ounce can of soda than an average cone of cotton candy. The way in which cotton candy is created, using force that pulls air into threads, places more air than sugar into the treat.
  • Sugar is the only ingredient in cotton candy.
  • Cotton Candy is fat free.
  • Overall, a stick of cotton candy is around 110 calories.
  • A 12 oz (340 g) can of Coke has far more sugar than a typical paper cone of cotton candy.
  • When spun, cotton candy is white because it is made from sugar, but adding dye or coloring transforms the color. Originally, cotton candy was just white.
  • The only advancements to cotton candy over the years have been mass production and equipment upgrades.
  • In France cotton candy is known as “la barbe à papa,” which means daddy’s beard, in Australia and Finland, it’s Fairy Floss, in China, you’ll find dragon’s beard, and in the Netherlands, it’s called sugar spider. in Greece, the locals call cotton candy ‘old ladies’ hair’.  while in the UK and India, it goes by the name of candyfloss.
  • In Italy it’s “zucchero filato,” or “sugar thread.” There’s also “spookasem” (“ghost breath”) in Afrikaans, and in other languages like Hindi and Greek, the term for cotton candy more or less translates to “old woman’s hair.”
  • The early machines proved to be unreliable at times. Some simply broke and others would make loud rattling sounds. In 1949, Gold Medal Products introduced a more reliable model with a spring base, revolutionizing cotton candy-making.
  • A thread of cotton candy is thinner than a human hair.
  • The longest cotton candy was created in July 2009 and measured 1,400 m long—about the same length as 13 football fields! It took six hours to make the gigantic treat.
  • In the 16th century, court confectioners had spun sugar into threads to decorate lavish desserts and make extravagant ornaments for the table.
  • In her cookbook The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769), Elizabeth Raffald includes a recipe for a “silver web” and one for a “gold web” made from spun sugar.
  • The great French chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833) was particularly adept at working with spun sugar and shared his innovative techniques in his influential manuals.
  • Tootsie Roll of Canada Ltd., the world’s largest cotton-candy manufacturer, makes a fluffy stuff, fruit-flavored version of cotton candy.

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Mobile-Cuisine

Hawaiian Shaved Ice

Daily Vanguard

CBC

Cotton Candy USA

Just Fun Facts

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