Today is a day that will live in infamy. Nothing to do with cotton candy of course, just happens to be the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That’s a day that we still need to recognize every year. We have to keep those that died there, those that were injured there, those that fought there and those that were called to action on that day close to our heart. FDR knew how that day would go down in history and we should never forget what changed for our country on that island in the Pacific all those years ago. We honor what was lost today and will keep our promise to never forget.
That’s a little more serious than I usually start out on these things, but I really felt it needed to be recognized especially as I was pulling together a silly celebration of cotton candy. Of all the things to celebrate, cotton candy sure seems out of place. But so it goes.
Cotton Candy is basically spun sugar. According to the NY Times, it is really about 99% sugar with some flavor and color added in. It’s made by heating up the sugar in a spinning machine and the more it spins, the more it whips into a sugary candy. Harvesting it gets a little trickier. You have to reach in and grab the cotton, then spin your wrist in the same direction as the machine and capture what you can. It takes skill and requires a good eye and a quick hand. Otherwise, sugary whips end up all over the place or you end up with a clump of hardened colored sugar. No one wants a clump of cotton candy. You want giant balls of wispy clouds.
When I was in high school, I was a proud member of our local CYO (Catholic Youth Organization). I joined to be part of the basketball team (where I was one of two people to ever get cut from the team (ever)), and when I started to be friendly with my teammates, we all started hanging out together. The CYO had a teen center that would be open at night on Fridays and we could all hang out there, play pool and other games and just have fun. It sounds like I’m talking about a Jesus Camp, but it really wasn’t like that at all. It was a place to go and make friends, which I did. There are hundreds of tales I could tell about the CYO, but I’ll save that for another day. But, every year as a fundraiser, they would operate a booth at the church’s summer festival. They would rent a truck that allowed you to make and sell all kinds of festival food: popcorn, sno-cones and of course cotton candy. CYO members would man the booth and this is the only time I have had the chance to make cotton candy, and I was horrible at it. I just couldn’t figure out the motion. I would end up with clumps and sad looking chunks. I was unceremoniously removed from duty. I was relegated to the button-making table where kids could make their own personalized buttons. I was more suited for this and had enough of an immature demeanor to make it easy for the kiddies to relate. Still, I wish I could have figured out that cotton candy. I would have been the star of the whole festival. Actually, whoever was making the Fried Dough was the star of that festival, but I could have at least been a hero. Instead, I made buttons.
This is a picture of the cotton candy I had today. I thought it would be hard to find, but they actually sell it in Rite-Aid in prepackaged tubs. I just put it on a stick to recreate that cotton candy feeling. I guess they don’t really sell cotton candy on the stick anymore. It’s all bagged now. Makes more sense because when it was on the stick, it would always fall off. But it was more fun that way. The cotton candy at Rite-Aid was from a company called Fun Sweets who are the leaders in cotton candy sales. That’s quite an honor. Every package also comes with their ‘Smile Guarantee’ which guarantees you will crack a smile while eating their cotton candy unless you’re a major grouch who won’t smile at a puppy or rainbow. I like a company like that. They don’t take themselves too serious which is important when selling cotton candy. In any case, it was delicious and tasted just like any cotton candy I’ve ever had. Sweet and sugary that dissolves on your tongue. The only thing it was missing was the bells from the rides at the festival and the band playing the chicken dance in the background.
I felt like I needed to do a little more to celebrate cotton candy so after some research, I found a recipe for a cotton candy margarita that I could get behind. I was kind of excited for this but maybe that was just because I was fancying an adult beverage. It was made with tequila and triple sec (naturally) along with cream soda and fresh lime juice. You combine all that, shake carefully and then pour it into your glass over some cotton candy. The cotton candy dissolves instantly. Then you fill the glass with ice. The picture from the recipe showed a delightfully pink drink but because I used the pink and blue cotton candy, the blue dye came out on top and my drink was more blue in color.
This was tasty although on the sweeter side, but I expected that. The surprise taste was the cream soda which gave it an extra layer of creamy sweetness. It wasn’t overly strong but just right. If I were to make it again, I think I could make it without the cream soda and just make a regular margarita and add in the cotton candy. That would still make it sweet and I think it would be tastier. Maybe I’ll try that again in the summer. I tried to garnish it with a clump of cotton candy on top, but as soon as it hit the liquid, the cotton candy would soak it in and dissolve back to sugar. It was actually kind of neat to watch. Still, a good margarita and I think a fitting tribute to cotton candy day.
I really thought that celebrating this day would be difficult. I wasn’t sure where I would ever find cotton candy, especially in the middle of winter. I thought I might have to buy a kiddie cotton candy machine which I really didn’t want to do. That’s why finding it in Rite-Aid was a happy surprise. Happy surprises are always a great way to celebrate any holiday. I got my taste of cotton candy and I even got to relax with a margarita in honor of my find. So another victory for celebrating every day, and this one was particularly sweet. Speaking of which, can someone recommend a good dentist in the area?
Next Up: National Brownie Day