New Orleans September 01, 2020
Few People Know That New Orleans Is The Birthplace Of Cotton Candy, The Sweet Treat From Your Childhood
New Orleans has invented so many dishes, it’s hard to keep track. Sure, everyone knows about Oysters Rockefeller, Bananas Foster, and Po’boys, but did you know that the iconic spun sugar you grew up snacking on as a kid was invented right here in the Crescent City? Well, kind of. It’s a little more complicated than that, so read on to learn the history of this childhood treat.
There are several claims to invented cotton candy, and New Orleans is one of them.
The earliest claim can be traced all the way back to a particular type of spun sugar found in Italy in the 15th century, but that spun sugar was a luxury reserved for the wealthy since sugar was expensive and incredibly labor-intensive.
In 1987, William Morrison, a dentist, and John C. Wharton, a candy maker, came together to invent the first cotton candy machine in Nashville, Tennessee.
They called it “Fairy Floss” and introduced it at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904, selling nearly 70,000 boxes. It was a hit, to say the least.
The first cotton candy sold was white with no flavorings added, but as the technology and popularity grew, more and more flavors and colors have been introduced.
Blue raspberry and pink vanilla are the most popular by far, but you can also find unique flavors by region, including maple flavors, pina colada, and even chocolate.
Fast forward to 1921 in New Orleans when Joseph Lascaux, another dentist, invented a similar cotton candy machine.
This one exponentially sped up the cotton candy making process, and patented the name “cotton candy,” which stuck and the name “fairy floss” faded away (although the Australians still call it fairy floss).
The process of making cotton candy is pretty fascinating.
Granulated sugar is mixed with food coloring and flavoring and then poured into a bowl where it is heated up and squeezed out through tiny holes by centrifugal force. The molten sugar solidifies in the air and is then caught in a larger bowl which builds up along the walls of the outer bowl, and then you can twirl a stick around it to capture the sugar strands.
So you can see how the advancement of these machines made it much more available to be sold to the masses at events around the world.
And it wasn’t until 1978 that the first automated machine was used for cotton candy production. Now, you can get one for your kitchen countertop and become your own little candy maker right from home because no matter how old you are, you're never too old to chomp down on some spun sugar.
Did you know about the history of this sugary treat? Let us know in the comments below!
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