Cotton candy + air = :)

The bite: cotton candy

The inspiration: air

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.31.19 PM                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Artwork by Sorin            

    

 

Air is vital in certain recipes, the most essential ingredient if you’re making a soufflè, meringue, or whipped cream. In my particular case, it’s also what makes cotton candy so appealing.

I used to eat cotton candy once each year, the kind on the stick. It’s one of the things that takes me back to the simple pleasures of childhood. There’s the anticipation as you watch the sugar being spun just for you, so airy and fluffy, until the weightless pink cloud is handed to you. It’s a dream on a stick.

That mass of spun sugar (also called candyfloss in other countries) is sold most often at fairs, carnivals, and festivals during the summer but, over the years, however, I’ve observed a very important element missing from cotton candy: the air. That ethereal puff loses its appeal if you shove it into a bag or plastic tub.

This past August I was on the links at my favorite miniature golf course. Their “19th hole” is the snack shack, where one of the offerings is cotton candy made the old-fashioned way: twirled on a stick. This miniature golf course has been in operation since 1959, and their snack shack has been making cotton candy the same way….until this summer. I went, I looked, I saw plastic tubs of pink and blue cotton candy on a shelf. My heart sank. Where was the machine? the sticks? Most importantly, where was the air that makes a cotton candy so delicate and light? Gone.

While sitting on a bench feeling gloomy, a man approached the snack shack, wanting a cotton candy. When he saw that the machine was gone, he looked like something wonderful from his boyhood had been stolen from him. We exchanged a few words about this unfortunate discovery and he left without buying anything.

I know cotton candy is unhealthy, but enjoying it once each year to relive a childhood indulgence isn’t so wrong. What is wrong is taking the air out of it, cramming it into a plastic bag or tub, and sticking it on a shelf. Give me the production, give me the stick, but, most of all, give me the air.