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The Great 1910 Candy Breakfast

Updated on July 22, 2013
A professorial lunch!
A professorial lunch! | Source
The Brooklyn Polytechnic
The Brooklyn Polytechnic | Source

Imagine sitting down with Professor John C. Olsen of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, back in 1910, for a nice breakfast meeting: here you are, a lovely bowl of chocolate cream soldiers, with a side of salted peanuts. Will you take milk and sugar - or rather, more sugar - with that?

Olsen was on the faculty of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and gave a talk at the Museum of Natural History called "Candies and Aniline Dyes" back in 1910. Everyone can agree that a lot of candy then was full of all kinds of things (like, well, aniline dyes) that weren't particularly good for you, or safe for that matter.

But then Professor Olsen, possibly on the Edwardian equivalent of a sugar high, started telling people that when you had candy made out of real ingredients, like chocolate and cream and sugar - why, then you had some fine nutrition indeed:

"Candy is a nourishing and sustaining food," said Professor Olsen, holding up a jar of chocolate creams in one hand and a jar of salted peanuts in the other (in other words, his packed lunch). Now, to be fair, peanuts are pretty nutritious. And he did also say that the main problem with candy was that adults and children ate it "to excess" (just like now!). But then he got a little - nutty: "A five or ten cent bag of candy would constitute an excellent lunch," he said - unless you were a growing child. If you were a growing child, forget about that Mars Bar panini! But if you were grown up, it was a great idea! Champagne truffles all around, followed by Rice Krispie sushi wrapped in red licorice! Having "chocolate cream soldiers" was a bit more expensive than cheap drugstore candy, Olsen noted - but even that was cheaper than eating eggs or fish. You could always just have Swedish fish and chocolate eggs, though, I suppose.

Source: "Nourishing Stuff Is Candy, If Real" (New York Times , Feb. 20, 1910).


Now, I know that the good professor was suggesting candy for lunch not breakfast. Well spotted if you noticed too, and wondered: so why did she call this hub "The Great 1910 Candy Breakfast"? As you probably know, once you snag that hub title, that's it: if you want to change it you need to cut and paste everything into a new hub template and...(here's where the Breakfast Part is coming into it) I guess I was writing this beforeĀ  - ahem - breakfast! - and, as I often do, I aim to blame caffeine for the slightly skewed title. And by the way, I didn't have candy for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner)! I had steel cut oats. And for lunch? Why, vegetable and bean soup, Professor Olsen. Even cheaper than those chocolate creams, actually.

I need to write another hub on Weird Breakfasts, I think. I promise to make sure the title fits the hub, too!


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    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 6 years ago from USA

      Candy breakfast..hmm must be good.