Why is it Called Salt Water Taffy?

iStock / supitchamcsdam
iStock / supitchamcsdam

Reader Charlotte asks, “Why do they call it salt water taffy?”

Salt water taffy, contrary to what I believed as a kid, contains no saltwater from the ocean. In fact, my preferred salt water taffy, from Shriver’s in Ocean City, New Jersey, contains no salt at all and very little water. Other versions do use salt and water, but they’re not notably salty, and certainly not watery. So how did the candy get that name?

It’s not entirely clear, but according to Jersey Shore legend, it went something like this: In 1883, a storm hit Atlantic City. The boardwalk at the time was smaller and lower than it is today. During the storm, waves easily cleared the boardwalk and flooded several businesses with sea water, including a candy shop owned by David Bradley. When a young girl came in to the shop to buy some taffy after the storm, Bradley looked around his soggy store and jokingly told her all he had was “salt water taffy.” Not understanding the sarcasm, she bought some and went on her way. Bradley’s mom overheard the exchange and suggested that the name was catchy and that Bradley keep calling the candy that. 

In Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat—which gives a different variation of the story centered around Bradley’s boss—food historian Andrew Smith says that calling it “salt water” taffy was “simply a marketing ploy—and a very successful one, at that. The name was picked up by other vendors in Atlantic City, and then borrowed by candy makers in other coastal towns from Florida to Massachusetts. By the 1920s, saltwater taffy had become a big business, with more than 450 companies manufacturing it.”

McDonald’s Is Testing Out Vegan McNuggets in Norway

McDonald's has never been an especially welcoming place for vegans (until 1990, even the fries contained meat). But now, the chain's Norwegian locations are working to change that. As Today reports, McDonald's restaurants in Norway have launched a vegan nugget alternative to the classic chicken McNugget.

The new vegan McNuggets are prepared to look like the menu item customers are familiar with. They're coated with a layer of breadcrumbs and fried until they're golden-brown and crispy. Instead of chicken meat, the nugget is filled with plant-based ingredients, including mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, corn, and carrots.

The vegan McNuggets are only available to customers in Norway for now, but if they're popular, they may spread to McDonald's in other parts of the world. Norway's McDonald's locations also include a Vegetarian McFeast burger on its menu.

McDonald's is famous for tailoring its menus to international markets, and vegetarian options are much easier to find in restaurants some parts of the world compared to others. In India, where one fifth of the population is vegetarian, customers can order the McAloo Tikki Burger, made from potatoes and peas, or a McVeggie sandwich.

[h/t Today]

All-Marshmallow Boxes of Lucky Charms Are Back, But Not Everyone Will Be Able to Get One

Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms

Hot on the heels of a Virginia brewery's cereal-inspired marshmallow beer, another way for grown adults to feel like kids again has emerged. Marshmallow-only Lucky Charms are back—this time with unicorn and rainbow shapes. Unfortunately, only 15,000 boxes of the sweet stuff are up for grabs.

If you were already planning on treating yourself by picking up some regular Lucky Charms from your local supermarket, be on the lookout for promotional boxes that say “You could win a box of only marshmallows” on the front. The inside panels of those boxes contain codes that can be entered at MarshmallowOnly.com for your chance to win one of the rare pure-marshmallow boxes. The promotion will run through the summer, so you’ll have plenty of time to enter up to 30 codes. Here's a list of participating retailers carrying the coded boxes [PDF].

This isn’t the first time that General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, has held this sweepstakes. In 2015, the company gave away 10 boxes of marshmallow-only cereal (or, as it calls the sugary shapes, “marbits”). Based on the popularity of that promotion, it handed out 10,000 boxes in 2017.

"It's no secret that Lucky Charms fans love the marshmallows," Scott Baldwin, director of marketing for cereal at General Mills, said in a statement. "Consumers have flooded our inboxes and swept our social feeds begging for Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only to return. You asked, and we listened!"

If you’re not feeling especially lucky, you can buy similar versions of the marshmallows on Amazon. Retailers like Medley Hills Farm and Hoosier Hill Farm (which are apparently unrelated companies) sell one-pound bags of cereal marshmallows for $11 and $10, respectively. You can also order an 8-pound bag, or, if you’re feeling especially peckish, a 40-pound case of dehydrated marshmallows for $228. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, it's “just the right amount."

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