Who Invented The Marshmallow

marshmallow-scrub-1220-pThey are widely regarded as a popular form of candy in a variety of sizes, to suit a variety of purposes such as cooking them on a campfire to supplementing a mug of hot chocolate, and can be equally enjoyed on their own merit, but who first invented the unexplainable form of sweet taste that is the marshmallow?

It is said that original ‘marshmallow candy’ had first come about in ancient Egyptian times. This early effort was made by a form of honey candy that was then thickened and flavoured by sap from a Marsh-Mallow plant (the plants were found in and around salt water basins).

In the 19th century, this form of treat would form a purpose, with the Marsh-Mallow plant’s extracted juices being cooked according to recipe to create a ‘hardened foamy meringue’ that was termed as a ‘medicinal candy’ used in efforts of healing children’s sore throats.

Despite more advanced and stock-friendly mass manufacturing methods and ingredients replacing the plant extraction approach used in creating the snack (which would lose the medicinal effect of its more natural counterpart) come the mid-1800’s, the marshmallow (today made with key ingredients such as corn syrup (or sugar), gelatin (for shape), gum arabic, and flavoring) was becoming popularised as a common snack.

With developments taking the manufacturing process from ‘hand-crafted’ to ‘machine-assisted’, 1948 saw the pinnacle of development in this field, when Alex Doumak, an American man employed in this field, experimented with new methods of marshmallow making. What he discovered was a faster method of creation now known as the ‘extrusion process’, which involves sending a fluffy mixture through long tubes and pipes ready for cutting into equal pieces, the types of marshmallow seen most commonly today.

In 1953, the Just Born candy would be one of the first to really begin mass-producing, marketing and selling marshmallows, with the novelty of chick-shaped marshmallows known as ‘Peeps’.

Since then, other confectionery companies have made and sold marshmallows by the proverbial bucket-load, with the snack fast becoming seen in many shapes, sizes and colours while being applied to numerous sweet-based recipes (such as s’mores).

Marshmallows – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Pretzel

pretzelsPretzels are commonly known as the small and oddly-shaped salted snack similar to potato crisps/chips, but the term does infact extend to include a plethora of baked goods that share the distinctive knot-like appearance. The doughy version is most popular in Germany and the USA, but the whole world is aware of the tasty tied-up snack. But who first came up with it?

There are several claimed origins of pretzels, with 12th-century Germany, and Spain (date unknown) both touted, but the most common answer to the question is that the ‘pretzel’ design was first concieved by an Italian priest, who baked them as rewards for children who learned their prayers (hense the ‘praying hands’ shape). This is the recognised origin of the snack, yet it is German culture which is synonymous with the pretzel, as it was where it was given its recognised name, with the snack developed over time in that country.

Pretzels as they are best known today are as light snacks, and their distinctive shape and variety of flavours (although salted is still the main choice) gives them a strong foothold as a marketable product, and with such demand, it is fortunate that modern technology is on hand to help mass-produce a popular item of food such as this. Below is a video that gives an overview of this process:

Pretzel – Wikipedia