Thursday, April 29, 2010

Childhood Sweets

ALOHA, Play Mate

click on the memories of childhood
Kids here in Hawaii, like children everywhere love their treats.

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow,
yet we forget
that he is someone today."

Stacia Tauscher

This still makes me salivate,
taking me back to chocolate bliss
that could blot out all my troubles.
Ah for the days of waxed paper, before the crinkly cellophane!
And their blueberry pies...

Maybe you lived in New England,
and it was NECCO Wafers
(New England Confectionery Company).

"Life is uncertain.
Eat dessert first."

Ernestine Ulmer

This one's for you, Travis, and all our friends throughout the south.

"Forget love
I'd rather fall in

Sandra J. Dykes

Well, in Hawaii, people of a certain age grew up with
Yick Lung Cracked Seed.


The Chinese people who came to Hawaii
at King Kalakaua's invitation
were hard-working enough to work the plantations,
but they were too smart and ambitious to remain labor for long.

Completing their employment contracts,
many of them moved to Honolulu
and started prosperous businesses that were among the shoots of modern Hawaii.

Now chocolate tends to melt in the tropics,
at least it did until Milton Hershey's alchemy
rendered it suitable for American troops
to enjoy, barter, and share in WWII. . .

But where was I?
Oh yeah, treats in Hawaii, like mangoes,
bananas and sugar cane. . .

The Chinese had a long tradition of preserved fruit snacks,
See Mui,
and Cantonese immigrants to the the kingdom
first imported and sold it here
over a hundred years ago.

It was the local Yee family
that is credited with adding their own flavorings
and spices, and creating the local treats
familiar to generations of isle children
of all ages:
Rock Salt Plum was created
when rock salt was added to preserved plums.

A sweet/sour mixture became the famous
Ling Hin Mui
which today flavors upscale martini's
in downtown Honolulu.

You can find Li Hing Teddy Bears, Li Hing Tequila
(home-flavored) all around these islands.

It's sort of one of the flavors of Hawaii,
and as you can see, not just for kids anymore.

One variety of preserved plum arrived complete with pits.
The family cracked the seeds open with hammers
to expose the inner kernel,
which gave rise to the categorical name
of all these local snacks:
Crack Seed.

There is quite a good crack seed shop
at Ala Moana Shopping Center, where you can buy many varieties in bulk directly from big apothecary jars.

The Yees
are considered the first to repackage the treats
(that they imported in bulk, and flavored themselves)
so that they could be sold in retail outlets under their
Yick Lung brand, which translates as: "profitable enterprise."

During the 1960's and 1970's
they even had a jingle and TV commercials.

So here's to Sweeties!

To sticky fingers and small-kid-times.

May this May
be very sweet

YOU :) cloudia

Here are some related links to drool over: