Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fairy Floss

I got to do one of my most favourite things from childhood today ... eat fairy floss (hopefully I'll be able to put the photo up tomorrow). It has to easily have been 25 years since I last ate fairy floss on a stick, more recently in its tri-colour bag version. We were at a school fete and I bought it for Dylan (forgetting that its all sugar and food colouring ... nothing died in the making of it!) He took one mouthful and wasn't impressed with it and handed it over to me. To say I was delighted is the understatement of the year.

Fairy floss, not suprisingly reminds me of going to the carnivale. When I was small, there was a foreshore carnivale over the summer at Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsular, where my grandparents had a holiday house. It was a magical place - flashing lights, crazy music and the smell of hot oil. I'd put the ping pong balls into the mouths of the clowns, never win anything other than a small keyring or some bubbles and on the way home we'd get a bag of fairy floss. With great delight I would tease small tufts from the bag and savour the feeling of the sugarly fluff turning into syrup in my mouth, then a hard ball of sugar. Then fairy floss belonged to The Show - the Melbourne Show one year, but more likely our local country show.

I have only had it on a stick on other time - at a family fun day run by my Dad's work. I must have been no older than eight ... and there was a fairy floss machine. I was transfixed watching the lady weave the cobweb confection onto the stick - prior to this I'd only ever had it from a bag. Best bit was - it was free! And I ate stick after stick until I had a stomach ache.

Where did fairy floss come from? It is unclear who actually invented fairy floss (or cotton candy). What is known is that Thomas Patton first patented the first fairy floss machine in 1900, the same year that it is recoreded as appearing at the Ringling Brothers circus. It was confectioners Morrisson and Wharburton from Tennessee who took fairy floss in 1904 to the St Louis World Fair. They sold 68,655 boxes (at 25c box - which was not cheap at the time!) It was later renamed 'Cotton Candy.'

I got some knowing smiles and nods of heads from adults as we walked out of the school groups, me teasing the fairy floss from the stick with my fingers and angling the sticky bundle into my mouth. I had forgotten how quickly it goes and just how terribly sweet it is. Without a doubt, it is something that I will NEVER grow out of.

What, from childhood, have you never grown out of enjoying? What are your memories of eating fairy floss?


Smiler said...

I've only ever had cotton candy on a stick, made right in front of me, and I can't even imagine eating it out of the bag - half the fun is watching it being made!

I mostly remember how sticky is was and that if you weren't careful, it could get in your hair and make a sticky mess. It got stuck on my teeth too and I had a hard time prying my teeth apart. Or was that with the candied apple?

Wild Iris said...

Snow Cones. I recently took the children to a school fair and had a similar experience. My son was too fascinated with the games to eat his and happily handed the shaved ice, covered in flavored syrup over to me.

b said...

I loved this post...fairy floss...who knew. I think it is a much more whimsical name. My favorite childhood memories were made at a park in a little town not far from ours. There was a swimming pool that we could swim in after the required half hour was waited after lunch. Summer is my favorite time of year.

Jody, thank you so much for the time you took to read the Etta..the Card post. I did go back and take a closer look. I am still not quite here from the trip home and I have been trying to make Etta work in a more believable way. I had changed tense in the middle and went back to add the "I" at the beginning of the story. It seems that the wife of Jeffery may be the one the actually tells the story in the end.


Jodi Cleghorn said...

Candied apples (we call them toffee apples) were always in the fruit and vegie section of the supermarket when I was a kid (you know - a logical product placement!) and every time we would go I would yearn to have one. I must have finally got one some day ... and was dismayed to discovered that it was only hard and sugarly on the OUTSIDE .. there was apple on the inside. And it didn't seem like such a great idea after all. I only ever ate the one.

And snow cones remind me of what we called Slush Puppies - shaved ice with syrupy stuff all over it in a waxed cardboard cup. The little shop at the motel we stayed at when we were little had them there ... and they never tasted the same anywhere else we went - they've only just come back into 'fashion' again.

I think Spring is my favourite ... warm enough to start doing things, not too hot. We grew up where it was cold ... so Spring always meant the end of Summer (and a high school) the end of prickly woollen stockings.