August 26, 2012

"So if you were to pick one up, you'd be like, 'Oh! This is a homemade Mounds bar.' "

"Basically it's coconut and sugar dipped in chocolate"... but it's not, because it's got potatoes, and it's a needham, the food from Maine that you haven't heard of... or have you?
The origin of needhams is hazy, but lore centers around the late 1800s and a Rev. Needham....

I don't taste the potato, but [some guy in Maine] says that's the idea.

"It's less about tasting potato," he says, "and more about that it's just not really gummy and cloyingly sweet."
This is one article in a series over at NPR — "Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty'We're taking a cross-country tour of candies from around the U.S., sampling hometown sweets that deliver a nostalgic sugar rush." I was just looking at the NPR home page and said out loud: "Whatever happened to NPR? It's pretty much irrelevant politically, and all the news seems to be soft news about nice things that feel good to people who don't want to hear about politics. Maybe it's something about what works on the radio." And the next thing you know, I was swept into an article about using Maine potatoes to concoct some Mounds-like candy that not so gummy and sweet, and then on to a whole series of articles about local candy: Buffalo Sponge, Chukar Cherries, Valomilks, etc. etc.

34 comments:

ndspinelli said...

Mary Janes, Necco wafers, Squirells.

ndspinelli said...

And, I have the same height/weight as Garage.

edutcher said...

In the Wild West, women made an "apple" pie from soda crackers.

As Uncle Remus once said, necessity may be the mama of invention, but ingenuity sho' is the daddy.

chickelit said...

And, I have the same height/weight as Garage.

I'm Garagecus!

YoungHegelian said...

NPR is now Lawrence Welk for baby-boomers.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Whatever happened to NPR? It's pretty much irrelevant politically, and all the news seems to be soft news about nice things that feel good to people who don't want to hear about politics."

I'm going through a period where I keep it on in the truck and, yeah, it's mostly background noise. Not gripping, in the way Right-wing radio can be. I find myself enjoying some of the long-form storytelling shows (This American Life, etc.) but the rest is pretty silly.

I can't take their news too seriously, because I'm too aware of how they frame it, but even that can provide a *bit* of stimulation if used as an exercise in seeing through media manipulation. They just can't seem to help themselves.

Oh - and some of the musical interludes can turn you on to some decent music, now and then. Most of it is just the good bits from some awful tunes, but occasionally, there's something decent. I find all of their critics (like Ken Tucker) suck eggs - and pretty big ones - but those seconds-long breaks between stories can lead you to some interesting discoveries,...

Chip S. said...

What happened to NPR?

Just a guess: the 2010 election.

FleetUSA said...

I stopped listening because their interminable fund drives. I honestly think they could make a bundle going private together with PBS, etc.

Chip S. said...

Fleet--Have you considered the possibility that the fund drives are meant to make the audience feel good about itself? Pledge season is sort of the Lent of the Church of Liberalism.

rhhardin said...

Mounds aren't gummy. That's confusion with some other candy bar.

john said...

Whatever happened to NPR? It's pretty much irrelevant politically, and all the news seems to be soft news about nice things that feel good to people who don't want to hear about politics.

Not really, just a summer haitus. This fall they will make their quadrennial visit to New Hampshire to interview those staunch Republican women who, again, cannot in good conscience support the GOP nominee.

Always a favorite piece.

Shouting Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Burgess said...

"Moth Balls" aka "Cream Filberts".

Joe Schmoe said...

Don't even mention Mounds in the same sentence as Needhams. Needhams are truly one of the finest confections on the planet. That's like comparing a 10-year old Toyota Corolla with a new Lexus.

Seavey's was a famous maker of Needhams, although I'm not sure if they're still around. The beauty of Needhams is that you can make them yourselves, and they are just as good if not better than the original.

Ann Althouse said...

"In the Wild West, women made an "apple" pie from soda crackers."

The Ritz Crackers box had a recipe for fake apple pie for many years. Did anyone ever make that? Those crackers had to be more expensive than apples.

ndspinelli said...

Of course they were more expensive. However, you are guilty of thinking the world started when you were born. There was a time, not so long ago, when apples were available in the Fall, and that was about it. The "Mock Apple Pie" filled that void.

ricpic said...

NPR is all sweetness and light. You must've missed one of Garrison Keillor's countless vicious jabs at right wing neanderthals. But Keillor's a folksy humorist so he couldn't have possibly dished out the stock-in-trade vitriol all right thinking people eat up like candy.

sydney said...

I made the Mock Apple Pie out of Ritz Crackers once. It wasn't too bad. But not as good as real apple pie. What does it taste like if made with Saltines? They have a distinctly different taste than Ritz.

rehajm said...

Whatever happened to NPR?,

Funny, a liberal friend who is connected to NPR confided that some there have, in a way, taken the fallout of the O'Keefe scandal to heart. With the economic state of radio these days, some are truly worried about their funding future. While I'm sure it means outrage and fuming in private, and no softening of personal views, it seems at, least for now they're sensitive to avoiding the most divisive content.

And Ann beat me to the Ritz cracker 'Mock Apple Pie'

Sam L. said...

I had to give up on Keillor after his RDS turned into raging Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Every now and then, NPR has good stuff. that's how I heard about "Spacesuit" by Nicholas de Monchaux.

Calypso Facto said...

I had to give up on Keillor after his RDS turned into raging Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Same here. Of course the NPR sweets segment started with Schweddy Balls, right?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Of course they were more expensive. However, you are guilty of thinking the world started when you were born. There was a time, not so long ago, when apples were available in the Fall, and that was about it. The "Mock Apple Pie" filled that void.

This is why I love to collect and read old cookbooks. There was a time when you could only eat those foods if and when they were in season. Some older books state...."when eggs are in season" and then give recipes for cakes and dishes loaded up with eggs, like Angel food cake that uses at least a dozen egg whites and pound cakes that use the yolks. You had a glut of some items some times and other times none.

One of my earliest memories was the specialness of having an actual FRESH orange in the toe of my Christmas stocking. A real fresh Orange had to be shipped in from Florida or California in the depths of the winter. An orange in winter was special and RARE. Now..we have fruits and vegetables year round.

Erika said...

With the economic state of radio these days, some are truly worried about their funding future.

Maybe they could start by not paying guys like Steve Inskeep north of three hundred grand a year.

cokaygne said...

If you are lucky, as we are in coastal ME, there is another public radio station that is really supported by individual small donors, not by unaccountable foundations set up to distribute the wealth amassed by greedy robber barons on wasteful feel-good projects that employ lots of unemployable PhDs, and staffed by volunteers. Yes, it is more left than NPR, but there is no pretence about it and the music is fantastic. When they put on a leftist public affairs program, one can switch to a commercial classical music stations. Thank you summer people for supporting culture by patronizing the gourmet restaurants that advertise on that station.

Worst thing about MPBN is that they drop NPR news, as bland as it is, for even worse public affairs programming from APR (Market Place - the Euro crisis is the Francisco Franco story of the 21st century) and the BBC (in depth reports on cabinet reshuffles in remote third world backwaters delivered in a haughty Oxbridge accent).

Erika said...

Oh, and about the regional candy: nothing holds a candle to anything made by Brown & Haley--Mountain Bars and Almond Roca, oh yes--of my natal city, Tacoma, Washington, unless it's the Chick-o-sticks I've come to embrace after becoming a first-generation Texan.

ndspinelli said...

DBQ, I also love looking @ old cookbooks. There is history in them. Dishes that were staples decades ago are virtually gone now. Lobster Newburg, Chicken Fricasse,etc.

Johanna Lapp said...

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews are an ancient Philadelphia tradition. I don't think I've ever seen them sold outside the Philly region.

Keillor isn't on NPR network, although some NPR stations air the program. When last I looked, he was on the competing American Public Radio network.

Mark Nielsen said...

Erika -- Chick-o-sticks are my favorite. But the local flavor around here is the famous (though somewhat nasty, in all honesty) Idaho Spud Bar.

Mitch H. said...

Keillor isn't on NPR network, although some NPR stations air the program. When last I looked, he was on the competing American Public Radio network.

If you think that PRI is in any real sense in competition with NPR, you are the sort of person who should never be allowed to manage his own money, as you're clearly the proverbial sucker born every minute.

Lindsey Meadows said...

NPR is still there and pretty much the same. It appears some listeners change over time but it remains constant to the rest of us.

I hope I don't change. Those who do seem to turn out so badly.

Lindsey Meadows said...

ricpic said...
NPR is all sweetness and light. You must've missed one of Garrison Keillor's countless vicious jabs at right wing neanderthals."

Right wing. Neanderthals. Redundant. Too bad Rush isn't a homorist.

Wait wait, don't tell me.

kentuckyliz said...

Cherry Mash. Can't find one. When I migrate North for the holidays, I shall have to look.

Gary said...
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Gary said...

...and the Buffalo Sponge guy (www.SpongeCandy.com) reads Althouse. It's a small world...