When I was a little kid in the late 60s, my mother used to buy me a box of Good and Plenty when I’d been particularly good about going shopping with her. We lived in Manhattan, so being good meant doing a lot of walking, and crossing the street holding her hand, and going into many many stores. So when I see a box of Good and Plenty I have an instant, vivid memory of walking up Second Avenue holding my mom’s hand. It brings her back to me, and brings back the 60s in New York in such a clear, immediate way. Nostalgia candy is like that, isn’t it? We all have favorites from childhood and it is always a treat to meet them again.
Classic Candy by Darlene Lacey is a very enjoyable, concise history of the golden age of American candy from 1950 to 1980. This was a time when there were tons of ads, commercials and interest in all sorts of wonderful candies - everything from Chuckles and wax lips to Mellomints (made by Luden’s, of cough drop fame) and Necco Wafers (so named for the New England Confectionery Company).
This charming little book is filled with fabulous vintage ads and fun facts, For example - getting back to Good and Plenty - did you know that it was first produced in 1893 by the Quaker City Chocolate and Confectionery Company? And that it’s the oldest brand-name candy in the US? I had no idea. You’ll enjoy looking back at your favorites, too.
[Many thanks to Shire Books for sending this to me; as ever, though, the opinions are all my own.]