Fudge and Tablet Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed, and puts them in your debt." ~Judith Olney
Fudge is a type of sugar candy (often chocolately) made by mixing sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage, then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. Tablet is fudge's Scottish cousin with a more brittle and grainy texture. American style fudge became popular in the United States as a shared recipe enjoyed by the ladies at Vassar College during the late 1880s. However, the slang term "fudge" (which as a noun means lies or nonsense) predates the candy and even appears in Sir Walter Scott's St. Ronan's Well (1823) as "'He lies,' answered Lord Etherington, 'so far as he pretends I know of such papers. I consider the whole story as froth - foam, fudge, or whatever is most unsubstantial.'"
June 16 celebrates a special treat, fudge (and the Scottish equivalent, tablet)!
Fudge is a type of confectionery which is made by mixing sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F (116 °C), and then beating the mixture while it cools to make the the signature fudge consistency. Fudge texture lies between fondant, a wetter version of fudge that is used inside soft-center chocolates and the other extreme, rock candy, in which a sugar solution is left for days to form enormous crystals.
While fudge comes in many different flavors, it's usually chocolate. In the US, another kind of fudge is smooth, melted chocolate that can be poured over the top of ice cream! If made with brown sugar instead of white, it is called penuche, also caled creamy praline fudge, and brown sugar fudge candy!
Scottish tablet is the cousin of American style fudge and differs mainly in the texture - tablet has a harder outer layer with a softer inner layer while most fudges are completely soft all the way through.
American-style fudge (containing chocolate) recipes are first found in an 1886 letter written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. This Vassar fudge recipe became quite popular at the school for years to come, and by 1887, the recipe had spread such that shops on Mackinac Island in Michigan began to produce the first commercial fudge for summer vacationers.
The word "fudge" predates the candy. As a verb, by 1771, the word to "fudge" was used to mean to "put together clumsily or dishonestly," and was perhaps an alteration of the word to "fadge," meaning "to make suit, fit" (from the 1570s), a verb of unknown origin.
The traditional story of the origin of the interjection "fudge" to mean "lies! nonsense!" traces back to a sailor's retort to anything considered a made up truth, related to one Captain Fudge, "who always brought home his owners a good cargo of lies" (Isaac Disraeli, 1791, citing a pamphlet from 1700). This Captain Fudge, called "Lying Fudge," perhaps helped reinforce this form of the word "fadge" in the sense of "contriving without the necessary materials."
By the early 19th century, the word even made the works of Sir Walter Scott: "He lies,' answered Lord Etherington, 'so far as he pretends I know of such papers. I consider the whole story as froth -- foam, fudge, or whatever is most unsubstantial. ...'" (St. Ronan's Well, 1823).
For a European style (non-chocolate) fudge with Scottish whisky, click the tablet below.