Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
The Taffy Strathspey
Taffy is made by stretching or pulling a sticky mass of boiled sugar, butter or vegetable oil, flavorings, and coloring until it becomes aerated, light, and fluffy and chewy candy. Now it is usually fruit-flavoured, but other flavors are common as well, including traditional molasses.
Salt water taffy, contrary to popular belief, does not contain saltwater from the ocean, and may not even contain any salt at all.
According to taffy lore, in 1883, a storm hit Atlantic City, New Jersey. During the storm, the waves 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.” Bradley’s mom overheard the exchange and suggested that the name was catchy and that Bradley keep calling the candy that. Saltwater taffy shops with visible taffy pulling machines are now fixtures at coastal boardwalks, particularly in the United States and in Utah (near the Great Salt Lake).
An old fashioned pastime for parties was a Taffy Pull. And in Quebec, a taffy variety, St. Catherine's Taffy, is sometimes made by girls in Quebec to honour St. Catherine, the patron saint of unmarried women on her feast day, November 25. St. Catherine's day is sometimes known in Quebec as "taffy day," a day when marriage-age girls would make taffy for eligible boys.
For a St. Catherine's (molasses) taffy recipe, click the vintage drawing of an old fashioned taffy pull.
And for a fascinating explanation of the mathematics of taffy pulling machines, click here.