October 24th is National Good & Plenty Day, celebrating the oldest branded candy in the U.S.
It’s an American version of the licorice pastilles that have been made in Europe for hundreds of years.
Good & Plenty candies are narrow capsule shapes of sweet black licorice, coated in both bright pink and white hard candy shells (both colors taste the same).
The licorice candies were first produced by the Quaker City Confectionery Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1893 (the brand is now owned by Hershey Foods, after changing ownership multiple times).
The box and its contents have a percussive quality. Since there’s a lot of air space in the box (it’s perhaps half full), shaking the box creates a cadence that’s fun. It’s fun, also led to the kids’ slogan disparaging the low fill:
Good & Plenty,
Evidently, Good & Plenty executives or their advertising agency also noticed the percussive quality, which sounded like the chug-a-chug produced by the pushrods that linked the wheels on older trains.
More than 50 years after the candy was introduced, the brand developed a cartoon character, Choo Choo Charlie, an engineer on a steam locomotive.
Charlie shook the box to make the sound, with this jingle (to the tune of a popular folk song, “The Ballad of Casey Jones”):
Once upon a time there was an engineer
Try either variety as a cupcake garnish, or on top of ice cream or sorbet.
 What kids know: Shake the box for a chugga-chugga sound (photo courtesy Candy Warehouse)
 The licorice core (photo courtesy Hershey’s).
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