December 16, 2012

Photo Essay: Do the Peppermint Twist

I've been working a lot, more than I expected for just a part-time, seasonal job.

I feel like I'm missing out on Christmas, even though I'm at the mall surrounded by families sporting fake snow in their hair from visiting Santa.

I wanted to get out of my neighborhood. I wanted to get out of LA.

I needed a little Christmas.

So after work on Thursday, after rushing to then do some work for my apartment building, I drove two hours into the Inland Empire... see how candy canes are made at Logan's Candies in Ontario.

I witnessed the boiling kettle...

...and the paint-like jars of colors that add ribbons of flavoring to the hard candies...

...which are rolled out warm and twisted in front of a heater into straight, swirled pieces...

...cut uniformly to the length of a pencil...

...and then curved into their traditional "hook" shape... the scent of peppermint wafts over the glass case.

Some of the tubes are folded over and twisted into heart shapes...

...and as they all cool and move down the assembly line, are packaged and readily for sale in either peppermint or cinnamon flavors.

In the holiday season, Logan's also offers a "twist your own" option in which you can get a malleable piece of candy and make any shape you want out of it - cane, heart, pretzel, your initial, etc.

After fighting the crowds to get a good look at the candy-making demo both at the counter and through the window, I bought a candy cane and a strip of fudge, and drove two hours back.

On the drive back, while chatting with me on the phone, my friend Michelle said that she loved factory tours and watching how stuff was made. Then she admitted that most of her experience with it was watching shows about it on TV.

"See, this is what happens when you don't have a TV," I told her. "I can't watch other people tour a factory, so I just have to go find one and do it myself." Even if it requires a four hour drive.

Besides, I continued, on TV you don't get all of the aromas, the chatter of the crowd, the bubbling of the cauldron, or a souvenir to take home.

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