This week I had a brand new experience! For the first time I tried Swedish Fish, a chewy candy that tastes like fruit. Throughout our lives we will have lots of new experiences, and some of these new experiences might come from a museum.
Museums are not just places where old things are stored. They contain stories and experiences within their walls. I will never forget the first time I saw a fossil within a fossil, laid on a bed of nails or learned about the family of a Southern Plantation. What made these moments stand out? It was the experiences I had at these organizations that made them special. My new experience, eating Swedish Fish for the first time, got me thinking about candy and the experiences we all have with it.
What is the first thing you think about when eating candy? The first thing I thought about when
eating my Swedish Fish were the colors, red, orange, green and yellow. Did these colors relate to the flavor of the fish? I took my first bite and realized that they did! The same can be said for many other types of candy as well including, Skittles, SweetTarts and Bottlecaps. Swedish Fish are a soft, chewy candy like Gummi bears or worms, but other types of candy like Horehound candy are a hard candy. The picture on the right shows Horehound candy we have in our collection at the High Plains Museum from John Cullins, a druggist in town.
Most candy comes in boxes or bags and these work great to store them in. However there are other ways to store your candy. Two such ways can be seen in the photographs to the left and the lower right. The photograph on the left shows a glass top for a candy dish, shaped like a turkey and the photograph on the lower right shows a four inch toy glass lantern for candy. Where you store your candy helps contribute to your experience with the candy. Is it something that is stored on the table, counter, or coffee table? Do you grab a handful every time you pass or is it a special treat you allow yourself once or twice a day?
Your experience with candy may also come from a different source than the store. The
photograph on the lower left shows the Campfire Girls turning in candy sales money to one of the
leaders in 1954. Many organizations like the Campfire Girls sell candy, sometimes door to door. I was given the Swedish Fish as a gift after it was discovered I had never tried this delicious candy, which contributed to the whole experience of the candy.
Of course the experience with candy would not be complete without the history of the treat. Candy has been around for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations would dip fruits and nuts in honey – the first candy! The word candy comes from the Arabic word qandi, which means made of sugar. The word has been in use since the 13th Century. Candy is made from crystallized sugar that is formed when sugar syrup is boiled down. According to the Swedish Fish website, the candy has been around for a long time and is enjoyed by lots of people. Although some, they admit do not like the candy, they hope one day they will change their minds. The history of some our favorite candy is quite fascinating. Click here to learn more about Skittles, Reese’s Cups, and Jelly Beans. To learn more about the history of candy bars click here and to learn more about Goo Goo Clusters and Cherry Mash’s click here.
An experience you have with something can shape your memories, good or bad. With museums, a connection can be made between a personal experience you’ve had and an object on display to create a lasting impression, or you might do something you never thought you would, like lay on a bed of nails at a museum. Experiences help shape us, and these experiences can come from visiting a museum or even trying Swedish Fish for the first time. My experience with Swedish Fish was a good one. After learning that I had never had this candy, someone bought me a package and I tried them. It was fun trying the four flavors and finding out which one was my favorite (orange) and discussing it with friends. Candy has been around for thousands of years and the experience we each have with candy can be quite similar. What better way to connect and create your own experience than through the sharing of your favorite candy? Have you had an experience with candy you’d like to share? Please leave your comments in the section below.