Have you ever wondered why people go crazy for pumpkin in the fall? Or crave peppermint and eggnog during the holidays? People yearn for these popular tasty treats and more during this time of the year because of the memories and nostalgia associated with the foods. For example, a person can be transported back to their grandmother’s kitchen at Christmas every time they eat a candy cane. So, what are the favorite foods of the seasons? Read below to find out.
Pumpkin – I love fall! It is my favorite season with the cooler weather, leaves turning color, and all of the tasty treats. During this season, people are obsessed with pumpkin. Pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee – the list goes on and on. I’ll be honest, as much as I love fall, I’m not a big fan of pumpkin. However, many people also love this gourd, because of the nutrition it provides. Pumpkins are viewed as healthy foods and when you drink a pumpkin spice latte or eat a slice of pumpkin pie, you feel as if you are consuming a somewhat healthier treat. The history of this orange vegetable dates back to before the 19th century. Originally, pumpkins were viewed as low-class foods, mostly available to poor farming families. The labor involved and the unpredictable harvest weren’t too appealing to many. Pumpkins gained popularity when industry and urbanization arrived in America and farming families moved to the cities. Today, this classic fall icon doesn’t just reach people’s stomachs, it also reaches their hearts through memories of carving pumpkins and walking through pumpkin patches.
Candy Corn – Another fall delicacy is candy corn. This orange, yellow, and white sweet treat can often get mixed feelings from people. Some love it and others don’t. However, candy corn has been making its way into Halloween candy bowls since the 1880s. Legend has it that a candy maker at the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, George Renninger, invented the candy, and about two decades later, the Goelitz Confectionery Company introduced it to the public. The company is now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co. and today still uses the original recipe of candy corn.
The Holiday Season:
Peppermint – While doing research, I came across an article from the Dallas Observer titled “Why Does Christmas Taste Like Peppermint?” I only associate this red and white striped candy with Christmas and the holiday season. For many people, peppermint is a classic symbol of the holidays. Before the candy cane, parents used to give their children unflavored white sugar sticks to eat and as pacifiers for babies. Then, in around 1670, a choirmaster from Cologne, Germany asked a local confectioner to make a hard candy, shaped like a cane, or a shepherd’s staff, to help keep people quiet as they watched the local live Nativity. The candy cane is also viewed as a religious symbol with the shape also representing a “J” for Jesus. The white is seen as the body of Christ, the red stripe as his blood, and the three tiny red stripes as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Gingerbread – Making a gingerbread house or gingerbread cookies is a holiday tradition for many. The gingerbread men date back to the 16th century reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Queen’s staff included a royal gingerbread maker who created cookies for banquets that represented foreign dignitaries and people in her court. In addition, this spicy treat was used during this time by folk-medicine practitioners as love potions. However, many people associate gingerbread with the holidays, because of the belief that spices keep you warm during the winter.
Eggnog – This Yuletide favorite drink has been connected to the Christmas season for as long as anyone can remember. Eggnog originated in Europe, where the word “nog” meant “a strong variety of beer.” The ingredients for this drink include eggs, milk, sugar, and sometimes alcohol. Early American colonists brought the drink from England hundreds of years ago. During the colonial period, farming was the main way of living, meaning milk and eggs were always available, making eggnog a popular drink around the holiday season.
Fall and the holiday season are known for their favorite foods and drinks. Your cherished treats can help you recall memories from seasons past, making this year’s fall and holiday seasons all that more special.