Twelve Treats of Christmas – Day Six


Have you ever pulled taffy? A successful “Taffy Pull” might go like this:

Your mother cooks some stuff in a pot on the wood stove in the farmhouse kitchen. The pot has corn syrup and butter and vanilla in it. All the little girlfriends you’ve invited to the farm for your birthday party gather around the kitchen table and rub butter on their hands and pair off two by two. When the taffy is cool enough, but still warm, you and your partner choose a ball of goo. Your partner holds the sticky ball, while you reach for some of it and slowly pull it toward you. It should form a long string. Then your partner does the same. You do this over and over. And over. Don’t break the thread. Don’t cry when the taffy sticks to your blouse. Don’t stop to get a drink of water. Keep pulling until it becomes whitish and smooth and looks like the taffy you watched your mother make.

I had a taffy pull at one of my pre-teenage year birthday parties. It was an adventure, but the taffy never “taffyed.” Maybe our little hands were dirty. Maybe we just weren’t patient enough. Maybe we were laughing too hard. But it was great fun, and the mess of candy tasted good anyway, even though we were totally full of birthday cake.

Farm birthday party where there might have been a taffy pull, and maybe a blob of taffy on the photo.

Farm birthday party where there might have been a taffy pull, and maybe a blob of taffy on the photo.


5 thoughts on “Twelve Treats of Christmas – Day Six

  1. Allen Matlins

    Perhaps your taffy would had worked if the party had been in Atlantic City.

    “Salt water taffy is a variety of soft taffy originally produced and marketed in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area starting in the 1880s.[1] Joseph Fralinger popularized the candy by boxing it and selling it in Atlantic City. Fralinger’s first major competition came from candy maker Enoch James, who refined the recipe, making it less sticky and easier to unwrap. James also cut the candy into bite-sized pieces, and is credited with mechanizing the “pulling” process. Both Fralinger’s and James’s stores still operate on the Atlantic City boardwalk. On August 21, 1923, John dmiston obtained a trademark for the name “salt water taffy” (number 172,016), then demanded royalties from companies using his newly acquired name. He was sued over this demand, and in 1925, the trademark was invalidated as being in common use. Salt water taffy is still sold widely on the boardwalks in Atlantic City (including shops in existence since the 1800s),[2] nearby island Ocean City, and other popular beaches throughout the United States and Atlantic Canada, as well as in Salt Lake City, Utah. Taffy is also distributed throughout the U.S. to some specialty shops and markets, and other places where an especially wide and diverse variety of candy is sold. It is also available for mail order through Internet sources.” Wikipedia

  2. Bonny

    I was treated to a taffy pull on my 10th birthday….molasses was in the recipe, and the taffy came out dark at first, but eventually a pale golden brown (taffy colored). It got lighter and lighter the more we pulled it. I loved the stuff! My mother was a farm girl from southern Illinois, and those home-made treats were a cherished part of her heritage. Thanks for this memory, Carol. May you have the sweetest of Christmases!

    1. Carol Post author

      Thank you Bonny. Did you find some in a store? I don’t think it would be as good as homemade. And you’re right about the molasses. My mother always used molasses.


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