"It's something I don't think exists in other parts of the country," said William Long... Long knows of only three small companies in Buffalo that make the melt-in-your-mouth mixture of corn syrup, sugar, water, gelatin, baking soda and chocolate..."Usually the only place you see it in Central New York is in a retail shop,"... " Laura Mason, British confectionery history expert, explains: "The anamolies in our own language are due to the origin of sweets or sweeties..diminutives of sweetmeat. Cresseid (Charteris) 420 in Poems (1981) 124 The sweit meitis seruit in plaittis clene With saipheron sals of ane gude sessoun. Young Thomas Edison was a candy butcher servicing railroad passengers. We have no details regarding how these shops operated or what they looked like.While whipping up a batch shortly before Christmas, Stone's owner...said, "Some people comapre the taste to malted milk balls, but it's not quite like that... Without stirring, cook over medium heat to 300 degrees F. This word, still not entirely obsolete, was in common use for over 400 years to the end of the nineteenth century. Were they, in fact, set up to emulate traditional butcher shops selling novel "meat" shaped confections? Reply: September 19, 2004 - Here's what Joe Mc Kennon has to say about it in Circus Lingo - "Candy Butcher: Concession salesman who sells concession items on the circus seats before and during a performance.Some of these may approximate sponge candy, others might produce very different products.One of "signature" ingredients in sponge candy is baking soda.While the British called such confections, "sweetmeats," Americans came to call "candy," from the Arabic qandi, "made of sugar," although one finds "candy" in English as early as the fifteenth century...Caramels were known in the early eighteenth century and lollipops by the 1780s..."Hard candies" made from lemon or peppermint flavors were popular in the early nineteenth century...
It starts with a 60-pound copper bowl, coarse sugar, thick corn syrup, water, a long wooden stick and a tall thermometer. Martha Washington's Booke of Sweetmeats, circa mid 18th century, is an excellent middle ground/starting point for studies in time. 143, I knowe that in thy childehoode Thou wylte for sweete meate loke. When the new railroads allowed men to sell confections and newspapers on their trains they were also called butchers, 'news butchers.'" J. Reply: September 19, 2004 - Joe Mc Kennon's definition of "Candy Butcher" in Circus Lingo about a concession salesman who sells to the crowd is exact.
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.
When the mixture bubbles to 293 degrees, the copper bowl is removed from a gas-fired stove and gelatin is added. This comprehensive catalog with instructions exemplifies the time when British and American confectionery were one in the same. The Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language defines "Candy Butcher" as selling confections and newspapers on trains.
In exactly 90 seconds, baking soda is added, turning the mix from a dark tan to a light gold..mixture [put] "to sleep" overnight in 2-foot-by-4 foot metal boxes...called "coffins." [the candymaker] covers the boxes with blankets. This book is readily available; published as Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess, Columbia University Press ISBN 0231049315. As for being attributed to a butcher hired between 18 on the John Robinson Circus, it is a matter of conjecture.