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"Here, have some ribbon candy. Boys love candy."
November 15, 2013 6:40 PM   Subscribe

It's not exactly the top of many people's "Favorite Sweets" list, but there is something hypnotic about watching ribbon candy being made.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (42 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
It makes my teeth hurt just looking at it, but I'm impressed by the craft that goes into forming the pre-machined lumps.
posted by codacorolla at 6:45 PM on November 15, 2013


My grandma always gave us a box at Christmas, and it sat there -- wrapper torn open, ribbons shattered and utterly unwanted -- in the bottom drawer with the other snacks. By the end of January it was pushed to the back, and then someone quietly threw it away…except in the years when they didn't. *shudder*

The green stuff with thin white stripes tasted (as I now know) of the Simple Green formula you use for washing your deck. Ugh.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Truly, it is the "mysterious orange and black stuff in waxed paper" of the Christmas season.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2013


(Me again. Sorry)

First, hypnotic doesn't begin to describe this process. I am amazed. This seems to be Rumpelstiltskin, the little man who spun straw into gold and then tore himself in half.

Second, Hilliard's actually has good candy, and sometimes my sister-in-law drives just up the road to get some when we go there for holidays.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:54 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey! Hilliards is the candy store in my home town, and I've been going there since I was a kid. Between May and November they also make and sell home made ice cream, including the best flavor ever created: cookies and cookie dough. So get this - it's vanilla ice cream, with chocolate chunks, and BOTH pieces of cookie dough AND pieces of Oreos.

I know this is only tangentially related but basically I don't know why other ice cream makers haven't picked up on this brilliant concept. Now I have to go get some before they stop making it for the cold season.
posted by DulcineaX at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's never been clear to me how you're actually supposed to eat it. Not that I've ever been tempted to try. The mere sight of it evokes a vanished era though. The music should have been something less loungy and more easy listening, like Percy Faith's "Bangles, Baubles and Beads".
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:01 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love ribbon candy.

You put the top of the ribbon against your top teeth, put your bottom teeth in the gaps between the ribbons, and pull gently until a piece breaks off.

If you're successful, you get a hunk of candy in your mouth. If you're not, you get a bunch of sugar shrapnel in your lap.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:08 PM on November 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have a problem with the title. A certain Miss Moore has implied she misses me like candy implying that in fact, girls love candy.
posted by Talez at 7:25 PM on November 15, 2013


I have a problem with the title.

You'll have to take it up with Matt Groening.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:27 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whoa, it looks like a peppermint sting ray when they're feeding it into the ribbonator.
posted by little cow make small moo at 7:28 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


It disappoints me that Hilliards does not seem to sell this ribbon candy through their online store.
posted by kafziel at 7:36 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


That involved much more fondling and stroking of the candy than I expected.
posted by 445supermag at 7:45 PM on November 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


My grandma used to give me a box every year before xmas. such fond memories. I hadn't thought about ribbon candy in decades.
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:56 PM on November 15, 2013


Hillard's Hand-Made "Ignore The Machine We Feed The Candy Into" Candy company thanks you.
posted by eriko at 8:01 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think ribbon candy would be just fine if it were fruit flavors instead of mint, cinnamon, wintergreen, anise, and clove.
posted by sourwookie at 8:04 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you like this, check out some videos of a similar Japanese candy, kintarō-ame, being made. A roll with a thumbs-up pattern and one with a Snoopy pattern.
posted by shirobara at 8:16 PM on November 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


i love you, candy albino manta ray
posted by neuromodulator at 8:34 PM on November 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


candy albino manta ray

this sounds like a riff raff lyric
posted by scose at 8:55 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, I did not know that stuff was handmade. That's pretty darn cool.

It still tastes like ass, though.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:04 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a serious soft spot for ribbon candy, bizarre flavors and all. My Grandma always used to have it around at Christmas time, and the stuff is like a warm embrace to me.

Maybe the Hilliard's site has the ribbon candy closer to the holidays? At any rate, in the past, I've ordered it from Hammond's. They also have Christmas art candy with the images of Santas, Xmas trees and stars, which could also be found in that cut crystal bowl at the holidays.
posted by pianoboy at 9:07 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also got stoned recently and googled "videos of candy being made", which is how I assume this post came to exist.
posted by smackwich at 9:11 PM on November 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


I can understand if one doesn't have a taste for ribbon candy. Not everyone has a source for the good stuff.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:45 PM on November 15, 2013


I ate vast amounts of candy as a kid (I never specify anymore because no one believes me) and I used to get half a stocking of ribbon candy every Christmas. There were red, green, yellow and rainbow versions, as I recall, and I found eating it pretty straightforward: I just broke off one or two periods (they are sine-generated curves, after all) and clattered that around in my mouth until it had dissolved enough to crunch the remainder.

The problem with ribbon candy was that it had lots of bubbles of air in it that were stretched along the length of the ribbon, and once it had dissolved a little, the sides of those elongated bubbles would open up and they were extremely sharp.

And as I continued to suck at it, those razor edged grooves would cut my tongue to ribbons.

But that never stopped me; it was actually a lesson of some kind or other, but I couldn't say what. I really think the endorphins must have been part of its appeal.
posted by jamjam at 9:53 PM on November 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


I've experienced Christmases both in Michigan and Arizona and I've honestly never even heard of the stuff. What is it, and what's people's problem with it? (I mean, I saw the video, is it insanely hard/"little shards of heaven" peanut brittle-esque, to quote Frasier?)
posted by disillusioned at 1:33 AM on November 16, 2013


This was in the sidebar - how to make it by hand, with an equally hypnotic voiceover. Welding gloves! And "This is not a job for pokey people!"

My grandma always had ribbon candy at Christmas. She also had a house full of plastic-covered ornate white furniture with lavender velvet cushions; plastic-covered lampshades over bisque figures of fabulously dressed people with lots of lace detail on marble bases with dripping crystals; a mirrored wall with gold veins all over it; flocked wallpaper on the other walls; white carpets; a spinning silver aluminum tree with a revolving colour-wheel spotlight and colour-coordinated bulbs, and crystal bowls full of ribbon candy. Christmas day was when all the plastic came off the furniture and we could finally eat the ribbon candy that had been sitting there not covered in plastic and getting dusty since the day after American Thanksgiving. (This fruit-shaped hard candy went in the covered bowls, because it wasn't pretty enough.) And I'm nine again.
posted by peagood at 2:36 AM on November 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


LIES


Nobody has made ribbon candy since 1965. All the ribbon candy in the world has just been passed around since then.


We will never run out, because nobody eats it.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:05 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have never seen or imagined this stuff before. It's beautiful, just like ... er, ribbons, I suppose.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:14 AM on November 16, 2013


I also got stoned recently and googled "videos of candy being made", which is how I assume this post came to exist.

Actually, I initially wanted to do one of saltwater taffy. I have fond memories of being nine years old in Gatlinburg, TN and being transfixed by one of the pulling machines going round and round. I didn't really find a video that I felt captured the experience (though this one comes close), so I went with the ribbon candy.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:13 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


shirobara: "If you like this, check out some videos of a similar Japanese candy, kintarō-ame, being made. A roll with a thumbs-up pattern and one with a Snoopy pattern."

Candy millefiori! That first one is the logo of Tokyu Hands, a famous Japanese DIY department store. Just seeing that logo was a nostalgia kick.
posted by bettafish at 5:57 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ribbon candy has always been a Christmas tradition at my house. It's one of the traditional stocking stuffers (along with an orange) and is usually covered with lint from said stocking. It always looks better than it tastes but much of it does get eaten. When we were kids it all got eaten because my father was a dentist and we rarely had that sort of sugary treat around the house (we even gave out Trident gum for Halloween, back in the '70s when it was so hard it made baseball card gum look good). I'll have to hunt this video down when we're all together in a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving.
posted by TedW at 6:01 AM on November 16, 2013


Wow... I actually like the stuff. Something must be wrong with me.
posted by Cygnet at 7:37 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there some reason they're wearing gross canvas-'n'-leather work gloves instead of something more appropriate for food-fondling?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:27 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there some reason they're wearing gross canvas-'n'-leather work gloves instead of something more appropriate for food-fondling?

Probably because in order for the candy to be malleable enough to form, it has to be very hot. And hot sugar is nothing to mess with.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:37 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but silicone exists.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Japanese one looks like way too much work.
posted by discopolo at 4:23 PM on November 16, 2013


I just watched the Snoopy one. Not so much hypnotic as fascinating, as in, "How the fuck is this going to end up looking like Snoopy?" Sure enough they pull it off (granted, Snoopy now has a tumor on his snout, but still...).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:11 PM on November 16, 2013


I will take up for ribbon candy! I love its spicy clove flavor. I also love circus peanuts, candy corn, Bit-o-Honey, licorice, and any number of old-person sweets. Naturally, I don't have trouble keeping them for myself.

Ribbon candy doesn't make itself easy on you, though. I have cut myself on thin pieces of hard candy before. Once I made a very basic "stained glass" candy with corn syrup, food coloring and anise extract, and once I'd shattered the pane with a hammer and bagged it as a gift I realized: I can't feed this to people. It's broken glass. Delicious broken glass, but nevertheless -- !
posted by Countess Elena at 5:15 PM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do silicone gloves exist that will permit the kind of manual dexterity they need? I have some silicone oven mitts that I hesitate to use because they're so thick and clumsy.
posted by BrashTech at 6:47 PM on November 16, 2013


shirobara: "If you like this, check out some videos of a similar Japanese candy, kintarō-ame, being made. A roll with a thumbs-up pattern and one with a Snoopy pattern ."

Oh man, so cool. That's how they make rock too.
posted by Gordafarin at 8:29 AM on November 17, 2013


I think ribbon candy would be just fine if it were fruit flavors instead of mint, cinnamon, wintergreen, anise, and clove.'

It does come in fruit flavors in addition to the spice flavors, just like how jelly beans do. It also comes in a vanilla flavor that is fantastic.

I will happily eat all of the ribbon candy and black jellybeans that you fools pass over.
posted by snottydick at 7:33 AM on November 18, 2013


That was beautiful! I've never heard of ribbon candy before - is it regional or something?
posted by 23 at 9:25 PM on November 22, 2013


We watched Dragon Beard candy being made in Montreal, and loved it. Candy + math!
posted by peagood at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2013


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