Thursday, June 10, 2010

Theme Thursday : Candy

The trouble is, I have never been quite sure exactly what candy is. Oh, I know it is one of those American words - like "cookie" - which can be applied to a gamut of things which are pleasant to consume, but what is the "proper" English equivalent of the word "candy"? Is it "sweets", or "chocolates", or "confectionery" or what? Not wanting to pick a fight with my American readers - I will postpone that pleasure until Saturday - I will adopt my usual cautious approach and stick (pun intended) to the type of candy any child raised on the traditional British seaside holiday will be familiar with - candy floss.

Photograph from the LIFE Magazine website
Now I realise that, once again, we are in the difficult sphere of semantics : what we call candy floss, you over there, call cotton candy. But what I am talking about is that wonderfully fluffy, sticky, sweet stuff that gets stuck to your chin (or, trust me, even worse, stuck to your mustache) and tastes absolutely delicious. As a child, I was so attracted to candy floss that I seriously considered saving up my spending money and investing in a candy floss machine. Having seen how such a small amount of sugar could be easily translated into such a large amount of candy floss, the desire for a candy floss machine was stimulated equally by my growing entrepreneurial spirit as my sweet tooth. 

Never having had the time in my youth to acquire such a machine, and stimulated by the theme this week, I have decided to try and bring my plan to fruition now. Not having the necessary financial liquidity to buy a machine, I will make one myself. I discovered the rather wonderful Google Patents site on which you can access over 7 million American patent and trademark applications. Making such a repository of quirky, fascinating and sometimes bizarre information available is something the Internet does so well and Google has been in the forefront of pushing back the boundaries of free information. I discovered that a patent had been granted - back in 1931 - for a candy floss making machine, and therefore detailed, and alas, rather complicated drawings, were available.

A more general Google Books search came up with an even better solution to my problems : an article in the October 1914 edition of Popular Mechanics entitled "How To Make A Candy Floss Machine". As the article says, "The device for making candy floss consists of ordinary things that can be had in any home, and usually a boy has a battery motor of some kind that will furnish the power". But here again, I run into a problem. As most people will know, I am not particularly mechanically gifted. If ever a boy didn't have a battery motor of some kind, it is this boy.

But a solution could be on the horizon. As I said yesterday, next week we will be visiting our good friend Jane and Edwin. Now Edwin is an expert on such things as Bunsen burners and battery motors. I will take a copy of the Popular Mechanics article with us, and whilst I am taking photographs of his wife for yesterdays' project, he can build me a candy floss machine. Edwin, if you are reading this, be warned.




18 comments:

  1. Be warned indeed Edward; these drawings look complicated to me! I love cotton floss (candy) and always loved to go to the fair in the Autumn of the year and buy a big, puffy pink bundle of the sticky confection. Alan, I hope you have safe and happy travel.

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  2. Great... I haven't had cotton candy in years, and now I want some.

    Beer, cotton candy... what else are you going to convince me to have???

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  3. JeffScape : How are you with fine Havana cigars?

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  4. Hmmmm... Nev er did like cotton candy. When at carnivals and harvest fairs, I aim right for the kettle-cooked popcorn booth. But this looks interesting. I'm not all that mechanically inclined, either, but I did have an Erector Set when I was a kid, and a key component of those contraptions was a battery motor, so you could make things like real, working cranes and things that rolled across the floor under their own power. Visit a toy store, Alan, you're bound to find everything you need there!

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  5. I loved candy floss as a child. However, having sampled it again after many intervening years, I wish I had left it to the delight of memory when it tasted ambrosial!

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  6. What a great Theme Thursday post. I love cotton candy. I've never heard it referred to as candy floss. So, I've been entertained and I learned something new. Happy Theme Thursday.

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  7. candy floss/cotton is such a tempting concept, when i give in and get some (which doesn't happen very often maybe once every couple years) i'm always disappointed - it never tastes as good as my memory of it as a child....

    maybe i should learn and not give in and just enjoy the flavor of memory

    happy tt

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  8. I use many names to describe, including sweets, chocos and just plain "sugar". Cookies are a whole other matter, entirely ( and then I go by the names proper, heh... )

    Never did care for the floss...I always opted for the candied apples :P

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  9. wow. i think a party is about to break out...bear, cotton candy and havanas...

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  10. Cotton Candy...yum! I don't know what was more fun....tasting it's sweetness, or being mesmerized at how all that fluff turned to nothing once it hit your mouth! ha!

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  11. Being an American, I understand exactly what candy is and what a cookie is too; it's the British word 'pudding' that always throws me for a loop. As for candy floss, cotton candy etc., I don't like eating it myself, but I share in the delight when I see children enjoying it.

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  12. Candy floss is okay until someone at the fair bumps into you and it's all in your hair.

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  13. OMG! I LOVE Cotton Candy! But I always make a huge mess with it.

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  14. OMG you're making me think! I don't want to think this early in the AM.

    nice take and very educational.

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  15. i think i should introduce my son to the joys of cotton candy. perhaps the next time he goes up to my parents' house so THEY can deal with the sugar high!

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  16. Ohhh, I can't wait to hear and see the results of the experiment! There's a festival going on in the town I'm visiting now. Wonder if that means I can find candy floss around somewhere...

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  17. Candy Floss is, in a word, amazing! I loved the way it melted in my mouth. Sometimes, as a kid (ahem...not last week) I would lick the candy just to watch it melt! My favorite is blue.

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