Origin of Cotton Candy Fairy Floss Cotton Candy Spun Sugar

Cotton candy, alias fairy floss or spun sugar, began as a dessert in Italy and Iran in the 1400′s. At that time it was known only as Spun Sugar. The confection was considered a delicacy as heated sugar was hand mixed and forks were used to make long thin strings of sugar. This process was very time consuming, as they had to allow for the sugar strands to dry. For centuries, European chefs used this hands on method to create sugary webs to form Easter eggs, cake toppings and other spectacular edibles.

It wasn’t until 1897, nearly four hundred years later, when Tennessee candy makers, William Morrison and his business partner, John C Wharton, created a machine to heat and spin the sugar, did it become a profitable dessert sold at the circus and fairs.

Morrison and Wharton’s machine eliminated the time involved melting down and drying out the sugar, as well the hand and fork method. Their machine involved a huge bowl that heated up enough to break down the sugar and then spun with centrifugal force to dry out the confection. A hand-held cone-shaped piece of cardboard was used to capture the dried sugar strings. As the candy makers hand spun the one way, the bowl spun the other allowing a round web of the dried sugary dessert to gather on the cone. This was the first Cotton Candy. Although they called it Fairy Floss.

Fairy Floss debut came in 1904 at the St Louis World’s Fair. Morrison and Wharton set up a small booth and sold their sugary confection for 25 cents a box. It was considered outrageously expensive as the price for admittance into the World’s Fair was 50 cents. People were outraged when they saw Morrison and Wharton selling a dessert for half the price of the entire fair. Despite the high cost and complaints, they sold nearly 70,000 boxes at the fair. Just goes to show you, Americans have always had a sweet tooth and cost will not deter it.

Soon candy stores and five and dimes across America and the World were purchasing Morrison’s and Wharton’s Fairy Floss machine. Some store owners called it Spun Sugar and others kept the Fairy Floss name. It wasn’t until the 1920′s they came up with a more uniform name for the sugary concoction. ” Cotton Candy”. At least that is what we Americans call it. Europeans kept names such as Candy Floss and Fairy Floss. No matter what you call it, it’s delicious.

Today, Cotton Candy is sold at just about every event held in the World. It has become popular enough for grocery stores to sell bags of it in the candy isles. Though cotton candy comes in many different colors, pink has always been the most popular. The ever diverse rainbow runs a close second. In the past 112 years, technology has allowed for more productivity, however, the machine created in 1897, is basically still used, with only a few modifications.

How to Make your Picnic one to Remember

Liven up a picnic by inviting lots of children. Watch as they go about entertaining themselves and playing games of tag, hopscotch, kick ball and other games. By this they can release their pent up energy while having fun. Adults who allow themselves, for the occasion at least, to enter into the fun with the children, will find that picnics are great stress relievers.

Music, where every one can join in singing or picking on the guitar, is great fun at picnics. These can be staged in backyards or in picnic areas or actually be pre-arranged musical events where people are invited to bring their own chairs and foods. Example of this are the  the music on the Ohio river bank park in downtown Huntington, WV. The  symphony orchestra schedule these have summer time informal performances. They are scheduled in late evenings and are quite successful.  

Have an assortment of games to play. Charades is a good game, so are horse shoes, sack races, baseball, or whatever. Groups can choose to participate according to their preferences. Conversation may idle and game playing is one way to get lively discussions and to loosen up pent up emotions.

Clowns know how to have fun and inviting one or a group, professional or otherwise – dependent on the type of picnic and the overall purpose – will be sure to liven up a picnic. Maybe this is a political rally and fun and games will be interspersed among the many speakers and rallies. Parents and grownup will come out and bring the children and will be forced to listen to the speeches.

Invite local celebrities, especially if they are in the entertainment business, to join a picnic will be sure to increase the excitement and the fun. Or open air stage plays where local entertainers can perform or perfect their skills for the hometown audience, will work to get things moving at picnics.

At this stage of the picnic assessment, lets put all the fun back in and take out all the business. Too often weekends are given over to pseudo fun while business deals are masquerading as picnic style fun for families. The original picnic had a more innocent venue than it often does today. It was nothing more than an excuse to get out of the house for some inexpensive fun.

Maybe eating out a fancy restaurant was beyond the means of the family, and they packed up their dinner and headed for the park. It was one way of creating some adventure for the kids and letting them run loose for an hour or two. Maybe friendly neighbors living in crowded apartments needed a way to relax and let the kids play safely.

All that is really needed to liven up picnics is plenty of food and plenty of children. They  naturally bring with them lots of ideas for fun. The adults either join in or it back and watch, ready with water, snacks, and band-aids for skinned knees, handi-wipes and a thankful heart.