Without those conditions, warm, moist air sucks too many bubbles out of the sponge and takes away the scratchy chewiness that defines the product... Medieval feasts had provided several roles for sweetmeats." ---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books: Devon] 2004 (p. A thorough study of this topic requires comparing/contrasting dictionary definitions, literary references and cooking texts through time. When others started selling items on the seats they were called butchers also.
In fact the confectionery of the time began as a marriage of spices and sugar, and was intended to have a therapeutic or at least preventative function, as an aid to digestive troubles due to the excessive intake of food which was neither very fresh nor very well balanced...guests were in the habit of carrying these sweetmeats to their rooms to be taken at night.Some of these may approximate sponge candy, others might produce very different products.One of "signature" ingredients in sponge candy is baking soda.They were contained in little comfit-boxes or drageoirs...." ---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble Books: New York] 1992 (p.565-6) [NOTE: This book has an excellent chapter on the history of confectionery and preserves.Stachowicz and candymaker Tom Wall make 1,000 pounds of sponge candy from early November through April. Gradually lower heat as mixture thickens to prevent scorching. The suffix-meat has an archaic meaning of food in the widest sense (surviving in the phrase 'meat and drink'), so sweetmeat simply means a sweet food... Or were "Candy Butcher" shops simply capitalizing on a popular phrase, selling penny candy of all sorts? Concessioner, butcher, September 19, 2004 - I have a question as to why a concessioner is called a butcher, at the circus. The story is that the first person to do this was the animal meat butcher on the Old John Robinson Show sometime before the Civil War.They make about 150 pounds at a time in a painstaking two-day process. Atmosphere pressure must be above 30 pounds per square inch and humidity must be below 50 percent in the back shop. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla. To the inhabitants of Tudor and Stuart England, sweetmeats were sugary foods in general, including pieces of flavoured candy and sugar-covered nuts and spices, products of medieval theories on the medicinal value of sugar, as well as dishes which used sugar as one ingredient amongst many, for structure, sweetness and an air of the exotic... He was so successful, he was able to quit his job as meat butcher.Many sources (including company Web sites) vaguely date the recipe in the 1940s. Apparently this product (or similar products) is known in other parts of the country by different names: fairy candy, fairy food, sea foam, angel food and honeycomb toffee.An examination of old confectionery texts confirms recipes with these names.A significant moment in candy history occured at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, where "French-style" candies with rich cream centers were first displayed...But it was the discovery of milk chocolate in Switzerland in 1875 that made the American candy bar such a phenomenon of the late nineteenth century." ---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. 54-5) [NOTE: This source has much more information than can be paraphrased. It also contains separate entries for specific types of candies.] Recommended reading The general concensus of newspaper articles and Web sites place the origin of "sponge candy" in upstate New York. We find much information about the current product but scant details regarding the history of the recipe.