December 7th is National Cotton Candy Day, a day to enjoy a serving of fluffy cotton candy (or candyfloss or fairy floss, depending on where you live). Machine spun contton candy was first introduced in 1897. Ironically, it was invented by a dentist, William Morrison, and, less ironically, a confectioner, John C. Wharton. The duo unveiled their treat at the 1904 Worlds Fair, selling almost 70,000 boxes of their “Fairy Floss” for (at the time) a whopping 25 cents. Still, the process was costly and labor intensive, and it wouldn’t become widely available until the invention of the automatic cotton candy machine in the 1970s. Since then it has become a favorite at carnivals, fairs, and circuses across the world.
Cotton candy is one of those foods that, as much as I tell myself I’ll only have a few bites, I can’t stop eating until it’s gone. The sugary sweetness is just too appealing, and since it’s mostly air it feels like I can’t get enough of it. Chris and I have shared a tub or stick of cotton candy on several occasions, but the two that come to mind right away were during Disney vacations. When we saw Cirque Du Soleil’s La Nouba in Orlando a few years ago, we shared a helping of cotton candy. And more recently, while on vacation in October we shared a tub during one of the evening theater performances on the Disney Cruise Line’s Magic. That cotton candy was multi-colored and Chris and I both thought it might have been the best we’d ever had.
When we decided to celebrate National Cotton Candy Day Chris and I were a little scared that the confection would be difficult to find so late in the year. Something about it seemed like a summer food, maybe because of an association we were making between summer carnivals and cotton candy. On top of this concern was the added complication of a completely packed day; after work my company hosted it’s annual holiday party where we ate and made merry into the wee hour of 9 PM. The party was a good time, complete with door prizes and karaoke, but by the time Chris and I left our options for cotton candy shopping were slim. Chris had picked up some cotton candy flavored gum he’d seen earlier in the day in case we couldn’t find the real deal, but luckily Walmart’s Christmas candy aisle had tons of tubs of pink, fluffy cotton candy.