Mid-20th Century “Sweeties” – Part 2 ~ by Pam Crooks

If you read my post last month, “Satisfying that Old-Time Craving for Sweeties” (you can read it here), you’ll know that I wrote about the different candies that housewives made based on an old cookbook from the 1888.  It was fascinating to learn what satisfied their sweet tooth, the popular flavors at the time, and how they even made their own chewing gum!

This month, we’ll move up into the 20th century, and I suspect many of you will come walking down memory lane with me.  After our country emerged from the Depression and the Second World War, America prospered. Industrialization flourished. With more women working outside the home, families had more expendable income. And treats like the following fast became favorites.

Mid-century, the big super stores hadn’t arrived yet. I’ll bet you had a little mom-and-pop market in your neighborhood. I sure did, and it’s one of my fondest memories.

Only three blocks away from where we lived, a group of us kids would walk down to the “Little Store” with our pennies in hand. The store owner, Mr. Mueller, had the patience of a saint. He’d stand quietly by while we poured over all the different candies he offered, and oh, the choices were such sweet torture! Red licorice was a favorite of mine – one penny each – and no, they weren’t wrapped individually then like they are now.

Are you ready to stroll with me?

BB Bats taffy originated in 1924. Eventually the suckers evolved into Kits. Banana was always my favorite.  What was yours?


This was my favorite gum ever!  To this day, black licorice any way I can get it is my salvation.


Another favorite from the 1950s. Very similar to a Butterfinger candy bar and coated in coconut.  At one time, a chicken was part of the label, but customers thought it was a chicken-flavored cracker (of all things) so the chicken was removed.


Root Beer will always be a favorite for me!  My dad would carry a couple of these in his pocket. What a treat when he surprised me with one!

Of all of these candies, this one was probably my least favorite.  I’m not sure why – it was good, but I guess there was something about that raspberry liquid oozing out that steered me away. But definitely a classic!

These were so fun!  Ice cream cones with marshmallow dusted with sugar crystals. 

A roll of candy with this many pieces always seemed like a bargain to me.  I still see them now and again in specialty stores.

Oh, butterscotch.  Be still my heart!!  Root beer was a close second for me.  Cinnamon, not so much.

It’s a wonder I didn’t pull out a filling with these suckers!  But licking this caramel-flavored candy until it was gone could take hours!  Yet another classic.

Do these “sweeties” bring back memories for you?  Even my husband had fun reminiscing with me!  

What was your favorite candy that you spent your pennies on while growing up? 

Let’s reminiscence, and I’ll send one of you this four pack of Regal Crown candy from 1953!  (Now THIS is what sour cherry candy was meant to be!!)

Comin’ up next month – Classic Christmas Candy in 2020!

Let’s Play a HALLOWEEN Game! ~ Pam Crooks


The This ‘n That Game!


I’ve played this game with my readers in numerous Facebook parties, and it’s always a hit. The game is limited only by the participants’ responses.  

To allow for more of those responses, let’s include FALL with HALLOWEEN, okay?

Just respond to the comment above you, then add one of your own that’s something Halloween or Fall (opposites are more fun), and you’re off. 

Join in, and you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. (Winner announced later tonight.)

Join in as often as you’d like!  


Spooky or Cute   


Spring or Fall


Have Fun!

Satisfying That Old-Time Craving for “Sweeties” – Part 1 by Pam Crooks

Years ago, my mother gave me a cookbook reprinted from 1888 that offered all kinds of advice and recipes for the homemaker. One section was devoted to Confectionaries, and I found their selection of candies, sodas, and ice cream fascinating.  Who knew they had so many? And yep, they called them “sweeties.”

Given that I have had a sweet tooth since the time I was old enough to hold a lollipop, I’d love to share with you my trip through history in both the 19th and 20th centuries in the next few blogs. 

The author of my cookbook mentions the fortune made by a Mr. Pease in New York with his horehound candy.  Ditto with a Mr. H. N. Wild’s candy store on Broadway which must have been a super store at the time, given the description of great numbers of customers (mainly ladies and children) who shopped there at all hours.

But my focus is for the common housewife who made “sweeties” for her family.  She was encouraged to use the best refined sugars that left behind no sediment and that had a bright color, such as sugar from the West Indies or Louisiana.  She was also encouraged to buy coloring materials and flavoring extracts rather than try to make them herself since educated chemists at the time had perfected them for consistency as well as reasonable price.

After a listing of tools needed, the recipes followed for Butterscotch and Everton taffy. Peanut and black walnut candy were different than what I imagined – no chocolate but covered with a sugar syrup then cut into strips.  The Cocoanut and Chocolate Cream candies sounded pretty good, as did the Fig and Raisin Candy, where figs and raisins were laid out in a pan and covered with sugar syrup, cooked slowly over a fire.

Rock candy in various flavors and Ginger candy was pretty self-explanatory. I must admit to being confused on what “paste drops” were. Made with currants, raspberries, pears, apples, and pineapple, I can only imagine them being similar to our Fruit Roll-Ups.

Candy “Tablets” followed. Again, it took some imagining, but since the sugar was boiled, flavored, and poured into molds, I’m thinking the tablets were like our hard candies. Flavors were ginger, orange, vanilla, clove, rose, and fruits like currants, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries, cooked and pressed through a sieve for their juice.

Housewives made their own chewing gum with balsam of tulu, sugar and oatmeal, soaked, mixed, and rolled in powdered sugar, then shaped into sticks.

Caramels were a favorite and poured into 1 inch molds. Caramels came in intriguing flavors like lemon, orange and lime, coffee, chocolate, and orange cream and vanilla. Yum!

Popcorn balls were made with molasses. I bet they were pretty good, too!

Soda Water and Soda ‘Sirups’ were popular, and while it wasn’t impossible to make one’s own for their families, the process was much easier while living near a big city for obvious reasons.  Flavors, however, were quite numerous and ranged from Nectar, Sarsaparilla, Walnut, Wild Cherry, Crabapple, and Lemon, to name a few.

Confectioners in the city generally offered “Ice Cream Saloons” to their stores. Adding a saloon was inexpensive and very profitable.  The cookbook provided a recipe that made a large quantity. However, other than the traditional flavor of vanilla, only Coffee or Chocolate flavor appeared to be available.

Well, there you have it.  A glimpse into an 1800’s homemaker’s candy kitchen!

Do you have a sweet tooth? 

Do you enjoy making candy or ice cream?

What is your favorite?


Would You Give Your Blood to an Outlaw? ~ Pam Crooks

That’s what the heroine in my brand new release must decide. It proves to be quite a dilemma!

For those of you who have read TRACE, Book #1 in the Bachelors and Babies sweet western romance series, you’ll know he finds a baby on his doorstep and is faced with quite a dilemma then, too.

Now his baby is all grown up and has her own book! HARRIETT is Book #1 in the Cupids and Cowboys sweet western romance series, and readers are loving the connection in both books.


HARRIETT is set at the turn of the century, a time when great medical advances were being made but still had a long way to go in patient comfort and doctoral knowledge. While she was growing up, Harriett’s parents kept a scandalous secret from her, and she finds out quite unexpectedly what that secret is when a U.S. Marshal and a prestigious doctor all the way from New York show up on her family’s ranch.

As I explain in my note to readers, we writers may have to tweak history a bit to fit our stories now and again. In HARRIETT, the New York physician, Dr. Simon Flexner, is a true historical figure who dedicated his life’s work to pathology. The blood groups were well understood by the turn of the century, and the concept of blood transfusions was not new, either. However, the process of injecting blood from one human to another was lengthy, complicated, and completely dependent on the skill of an entire team of surgeons.

By fast forwarding fifteen years to right before the First World War and the medical knowledge gleaned, I could plunk Dr. Flexner into Harriett’s story and give him the skills he needed to transfuse her blood in a fashion my readers could relate to. By then, Dr. Flexner knew about sterilization and anti-coagulants, as well as how to use needles and blood bottles. Instead of a procedure that normally took two to three hours, Dr. Flexner was able to perform it in a matter of minutes.

Blood Bottles

Much to Harriett’s relief, of course. During her procedure, the reader learns of Dr. Flexner’s skill and Harriett’s courage. Blood transfusions were quite foreign and mostly unheard of. Of course, her family and friends were appalled at what was being asked of her, and well, you’ll have to read the book to see how it all happens!

Harriett, Book #1 in the Cupids & Cowboys Sweet Romance Series



            BUY ON AMAZON



Are you willing to participate in test trials, like the Covid vaccine? Have you participated in medical research? Have you donated blood or an organ to someone who needed it desperately? Do you trust doctors and their knowledge?

Let’s chat, and I’ll give away TWO ebook copies of HARRIETT! 

Podcast, Anyone? Listen to Mary and Cheryl’s!

A big shout-out to Cheryl Pierson and Mary Connealy for their fascinating interviews with Six Gun Justice!  Would you believe I’ve never heard Cheryl’s voice before? Ha!




Cheryl talks about her western background, her start as a published author and how her publishing company, Prairie Rose Publications, came about, as well as her love for the western genre. She’s fluent in the market and has worked with many western authors beyond romance.




You’ll enjoy hearing how Mary got her start in writing her popular, bestselling books. I just love success stories, and Mary’s is certainly one. 

Grab your ear buds, go for a walk, and indulge yourself with these podcasts!!

I Kinda Want to be a Vet! By Pam Crooks

My husband and I are addicted to veterinary shows. Other than taking our pet dogs to the vet down the street for their yearly check-ups and vaccinations over the years, we’ve had very little interaction with the profession. Besides, living in the city makes the vets around here mostly small animal–cats, dogs, rabbits, etc.–anyway.

So our fascination with vets who treat horses, pull calves from cows, and pluck porcupine quills from inquisitive hunting dogs plunges us into a new world. We get to know the star veterinarian’s staff as if they were favorite characters in a sitcom. We see them get poopy and bloody. We witness surgeries that can be as intricate as one done on any human.

Kinda makes me want to do that, too. Pulling piglets and puppies from their mothers after difficult labors would be incredibly gratifying. Besides, those babies are so cute, right? Veterinarians make a real difference in animals’ lives and that of their owners. Of course, I’m too old to take on a new career like veterinary medicine, but sometimes, I think “What if…?”

Since I have to live vicariously, here are our top two favorite shows:

Heartland Docs DVM on Nat Geo Wild
I was instantly taken with this show as soon as I saw the first advertisement. The stars, Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder have their clinic just a few hours away from where I live. http://www.cedarcountyvet.com They’re young and modern and tend to use more high-tech equipment like ultra-sound machines in the field when treating animals.

Ben and Erin are a loving married couple devoted to each other and their profession. It’s a given Erin will cry when an animal couldn’t be saved despite their best efforts. They’re teaching their two teenage sons to care and treat animals, too. They’re articulate, fun-loving, and so personable, you can’t help but like them immediately!














They’ve just announced a third season–yee-haw!–and you can bet we’ll watch each one.


The Incredible Dr. Pol on Nat Geo Wild

This is the show that got us hooked on veterinary medicine. Dr. Jan Pol is in his 16th season with Nat Geo Wild, and he’s had over 20,000 patients in his career. Like many clinics, it’s a family run operation with his wife, Diane, heading up the office. Their adopted son, Charles, is credited with the idea of featuring his father on a show, and it was such a success, Charles ended up being part of the cast.

Dr. Pol is as old school as Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder are modern. He still uses the old mercury-type of thermometer and his clinic is dated, cluttered, and could use a good sweeping sometimes. Ha! But at 77 years old, he is unflappable, common sense sharp, and his clients love him. He’s not above stripping down to his waist to treat the messiest of animals or clomping around mud-and-manure filled corrals to see to his patients. The man isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, though admittedly, Charles is a big help in adding strength when pulling calves, or if nothing else, running back and forth to the car for needed supplies.

Dr. Pol is generous in donating his services at fair time. He’s a firm believer that kids need to learn responsibility toward animals at a young age, and it’s so enjoyable seeing him tutor the kids, doing their best to earn that coveted blue ribbon.

Space and time doesn’t allow me to mention two more of our favorite shows. But check them out. I think you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!


Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet, also on Nat Geo Wild.

Dr. Jeff, Rocky Mountain Vet on Animal Planet

Have you ever wished for a different profession?  Do you have talents that aren’t being used? Would you do what you’re doing all over again?

Let’s Chat!

Would you like our blogs emailed to you every morning?  Just enter your email address on the right sidebar to subscribe!