Archive for October, 2016

candyReaching into my mailbox recently, I pulled out a small, brown package with a return address of Salem, Massachusetts.  I admit, my  imagination immediately drifted off to eye of newt, mandrake and toadflax, as I innocently opened the bundle seeing smoke arise enveloping me in a mystical spell.  Alas, my package during this month of Samhain, was something a little sweeter.  My niece sent me Salem Gibralters, well known since the early 1800’s primarily on the East Coast, I’m guessing.  A favorite of sea captains because of its unique ability to stay fresh, the peppermint bar is a little like those pastel butter mints I remember.  Still made from the original ingredients used by a Mrs. Spencer who travelled from England and landed in North Salem with not a penny to her name after surviving a shipwreck.  The townsfolk took pity on her and donated supplies, one of which was a barrel of sugar (they had heard that Mrs. Spencer was a candy maker).  Sold out of a pail on the steps of the Church, the candy drew rave reviews and Mrs. Spencer soon purchased a wagon to sell her confection far and wide.  The packaging is part of the old-fashioned allure consisting of an envelope-shaped packet with the peppermint “bar” loosely wrapped in parchment paper inside.  Gibralters are touted as the first commercially made candy in America.  My package of sweets also included Black Jacks, a stick candy made from black-strap molasses that immediately transported my daughter to the Banks of Plum Creek.  Who says our kids’ imagination has been eaten away by cell phones and video games?  A little candy never hurt anyone.

You may be wondering where “the rabbit” has escaped to in this short story.  Unfortunately, he didn’t run fast enough from something and ended up as a leg and a foot in the dog’s mouth.   And the witch is apparently living in Washington state under my name!

Read more about Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie
122 Derby Street
Salem, MA

*The nineteen women (and men) who were thought to be witches and hanged in 1692 in Salem where exonerated by the Massachusetts State Legislature in 2001, but the specter of fear, extremism, and false accusations, still haunts us today.


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