Fun_People Archive
5 Apr
The History of Marshmallow

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed,  5 Apr 100 23:26:47 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: The History of Marshmallow

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-

[Do you remember marshmallows?  I mean "real" marshmallows, like the
Campfire marshmallows that came in a little box with a layer of waxed paper
and some loose powder in the box.  They were a delicate, foamy confection
that melted in your mouth and stuck to your fingers - and actually got stale
when you left them out... not like the sponge rubber things they call
marshmallows now.
    Well, I recently found someone who's making them and selling them
through the mail and they're wonderful!  It's Ocean View Sweets in Santa
Barbara, CA - (805) 693-8350  -  $10 for a nicely packaged pound of
marshmallows in one of several flavors - YUM!  Say hello from me - BTW, I've
never met them and I don't get a kickback.
    Just a few days after I got the marshmallows in the mail, I found the
following little piece about the history of marshmallow, so it occurred to me
that I ought to share my find(s), so here they are...  -psl]

The History of Marshmallow

Marshmallow, just as gelatin, can be traced back to ancient Egypt. This
confection was originally honey, flavored with the extract from the root
of the marsh mallow (Athaea officinalis). This mallow flavored candy was
not for the masses, but was reserved for the gods and royalty.

In the early to mid nineteenth century, the modern marshmallow was developed
in France and Germany. Using the "cast and mold" process, confectioners
whipped, sweetened, and molded the gummy sap of the mallow root into a
light and fluffy piece.

Later in the century, the invention of the starch mogul speeded the
manufacture of marshmallow. This development toward mass production led to
gelatin replacing the mallow root extract as the form-building whipping
agent. The starch mogul underwent continuous improvements and helped make
marshmallow a popular confection. By 1955, between 25 and 35 companies
produced marshmallows using the mogul.

The manufacture of marshmallow underwent a revolution in 1954. Alex
Doumakes, son of a Greek immigrant candy maker, invented and patented the
"extrusion process".  This method was so superior to the old process that
it came to dominate the marshmallow industry. By 1990, only three companies
produced all of the marshmallow in the USA, down from the more than 30 in
the 1950's. Exceptions are the specialty marshmallows deposited on biscuits
for marshmallow pies and the grain marshmallow popular as circus peanuts.
In 1995, Kraft Foods sold their marshmallow operation to Favorite Brands.
Kidd & Co. was purchased by Favorite Brands in 1996.  International Home
Foods has built a plant to produce under their Campfire( brand in the past
few years, bringing the total marshmallow producers back to three.

(c) 1998 Northwest Indiana Newspapers, Inc.
[The Joy of Cooking has a marshmallow recipe that's pretty simple.
And here are URLs for a couple more Marshmallow recipes...


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