One of the most fascinating bits of food history is the history of food flavorings. Everyone likes to have their food taste good and our ancestors were no exception! Before the advent of modern chemical additives and fake flavorings, people had to flavor their foods with natural, often plant based, flavorings. Some of the most popular old-fashioned flavors used in candies and cookies and other sweet things were
- Horehound (A member of the mint family)
- Rosewater and Rose
- Mint (Peppermint and Spearmint)
The first chemical flavorings were introduced to the world in 1851 at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London. There the public was served artifically flavored candies for the very first time. After that, the synthetic flavoring world took off.
The chemical industries worked hard to make their flavorings taste like the real thing. By the turn of the century, children, teenagers and housewives were enjoying all kinds of artifically flavored food products. Flavoring extract brands like Watkins and Harrisons became household names and were often sold by a door-to-door salesman.
After World War II, the artifical flavoring world exploded and the chemists began to create flavors for flavorings we had never heard of before like tutti-frutti and blue raspberry. Or for our favorite food products like red velvet cake or butter 🙂