Why Is It Called Salt Water Taffy?

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Overview

No Seawater in the Taffy

  • Despite its name, saltwater taffy doesn't contain saltwater. The recipe calls for salt and water, but this is not where the taffy got its name. Where the taffy did get its name is the stuff of urban legend.

History

  • There are two theories about how the word "saltwater" became connected with taffy. The first is the candy became popular on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The taffy was sold near the ocean, so it began being called "saltwater taffy." A candy maker named Joseph Fralinger began selling boxes of the taffy as souvenirs at Atlantic City in the 1890s. Another confectioner, Enoch James, claimed he had been making saltwater taffy before Fralinger. James and his sons were soon selling taffy on the boardwalk too.

Legend

  • The second theory also involves Atlantic City, and an accident that happened to candy-seller David Bradley. The story -- which may or may not be true -- goes that Bradley built his candy stand too close to the edge of the boardwalk. A storm came, the ocean rose and his taffy inventory was soaked by the salty seawater. Later, a little girl stopped by for some taffy. When he spoke to her, the frustrated Bradley sarcastically called his candy "saltwater taffy." His mother, or possibly his sister, encouraged Bradley to continue calling the taffy by that name. In any case, the term "saltwater taffy" was never trademarked. It first appeared in the Atlantic City business directory in 1899.

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  • Photo Credit Freerangestock.com bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images
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