Life Savers! Candy corn! Cinnamon candies!
Sorry for the light updates this week–I was in New York, speaking about civil rights and eating a lot. But I came back with Zabar’s rye, duck fat, and some interesting plans for rice noodles. So that said, lollipops.
There isn’t actually a clear picture of the origin of lollipops, both because they’re conceptually little more than candy on a stick (which we’ve been doing in one form or another since the Middle Ages) and because the origin of the word itself isn’t clear.
References to the word lollipop start showing up in English papers in the early 19th century; here’s a slightly later example from the January 11, 1832 edition of The (London, England) Morning Post, showing a reference with a bit more context. The author is critical of the then-fashionable trend of considering the French more civilized than the British:
The French gentry are seldom, if indeed ever, employed as rural Magistrates, who are persons paid by Government; so that they necessarily, from this single circumstance, have much less intercourse with the peasantry than the English gentry have. In fact, a French gentleman shuts himself up in his cold, comfortless, and badly half-furnished house, which he calls a castle, and spends his time playing at draughts, or compounding some pretty compliment to be paid aux dames at the next ball. So that if nay one has a complaint against another he must seek justice by wading up to his knees through a pond of mud to the nearest village, where, asking for the Mayor of it, he will most probably be directed to some shop were sugar-plumbs are sold, in company with tape and true blue worsted stockings, and where, on entering, Monseiur le Maire will greet him in ungartered hose and unbuttoned doublet, a white cotton night-cap on his head, a bit of a pipe in his mouth, and “‘Twixt his finger and his thumb a”–I do not know the orthography of this word, not to be found in Johnson–a lollipop.
Here’s another face-pop version from the December 22, 1930 edition of the Decatur (Illinois) Herald:
Have you ever tried to make lollipops for the children. They are easy to make and can be decorated with tiny candles or icing, to make faces on them. You can color and flavor the mixture and put them on the sticks, wrap them in oiled paper.
Three cups sugar
Mix well and cool until it tests a hard crack in cold water. Just before it is done add a little flavoring and a few drops of coloring. Drop on an oiled platter or the top of an enamelled table which has been oiled. Use a tablespoon for dropping and if the mixture gets too hard set the kettle in a pan of hot water. As soon as it is dropped, press a stick into it and take up and place on another platter. When all are done put the eyes, mouth and nose on with a little chocolate or white icing.
From a box sold in River Forest, Illinois.
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. water
Oil of cinnamon
Also red or green vegetable coloring.
Mix corn syrup, sugar, and water together. Stir as little as possible. When you get soft ball stage, add flavoring and coloring.
Cook till you get hard crack stage. Grease table. Place sticks far apart. Pour.
Put cinnamon candies for the mouth; Life Savers for eyes. Decorate sprinkles and candy corn.
Makes 8 or 10.