The Quick 10 - Suck on This: 10 Tidbits About Candy Canes

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I’m a sucker for just about anything peppermint. This time of year is bad news because every cookie, candy and ice cream comes out with a special edition holiday flavor that invariably includes peppermint, and I think I need to try them all. Of course, the classic peppermint candy this time of year is that red and white striped shepherd’s hook you see adorning trees everywhere. Here are 10 tasty tidbits about the unofficial candy of Christmas.

1. Legend has it that the first candy cane in the hooked form we’re familiar with today first appeared on the scene in 1670. Candy sticks were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea to twist the canes to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.

2. It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.

3. Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.

4. Most candy canes are about five inches long, containing about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.

5. The world’s largest candy cane was 58 feet, two and a quarter inches.

6. Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. What about the kids who start off trying to make it last but then get impatient and chow down like the Tootsie Roll Pop commercials? That would be me.

7. More than two billion candy canes are sold just in November and December.

8. Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the famous hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s; they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing.

9. December 26th is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.

10. Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland:

Happy Holidays, _flossers!

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December 24, 2010 - 9:42am
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