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How Halloween Surrendered To Sweets: A Long, Old Tale

The interior of Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia decorated for Halloween. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Shane Confectionery

The interior of Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia decorated for Halloween. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Shane Confectionery

Salem, Massachusetts, is called “The Witch City” for its macabre role in the 1692 persecution of more than 200 men and women accused of witchcraft, 20 of whom were executed.

Today, the specter of witchery continues to hover around the town in its street signs, museums and shops. The fire and police departments even feature a broomstick-flying, cone-hatted crone on their official logos.  It’s no surprise then that Halloween in Salem is practically a public holiday.

But the city’s deep ties to the spooky celebration also boast a connection to the holiday’s more recent sweet side: Salem is home to Ye Old Pepper Candy Companie, the nation’s oldest commercial candy manufacturer. Appropriately, its headquarters at 122 Derby St. is just across the road from The House of the Seven Gables, made infamous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 gothic novel about the cursed descendants of one of the city’s witch trial “hanging judges.”



Zester Daily contributor Ramin Ganeshram is a journalist and professional chef trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, where she has also worked as a chef instructor. She has won seven Society of Professional Journalist awards and been nominated for the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Bert Greene Award. Ganeshram's books include "Sweet Hands: Island Cooking From Trinidad & Tobago," "America I Am: Pass It Down Cookbook" (with Jeff Henderson) and "Stir It Up." Her book "Future Chefs" won an IACP Cookbook of the year award and she is the ghostwriter of the best selling Sweetie Pies Cookbook. Her book Cooking With Coconut will be out from Workman/Storey in December 2016.

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