5.11.12

64 Lemon Fizzers

The National Library of Wales via Flickr's The Commons

We don't watch so much television chez knitsofacto - until recently we kept the telly on a trolley in the understairs cupboard - but we'll always switch on for Nigel Slater, and his 'Life is Sweets' documentary on BBC4 earlier this evening was no exception. Did you see it? I hope you did, it was an absolute joy.

I'm not as old as Slater but sweets and candy were as much a part of my childhood as they were of his. My father always smelt of mints - Polo, Trebor, Glacier, Imperial, Everton - he liked them all, and kept some in the glove compartment of his car and in his pockets ... a slightly fluffy mint would invariably be proffered to a crying child. My mother sucked Menthol and Eucalyptus, even when she didn't have a cold, and would buy a year's supply of Meltis Fruit Jellies every Christmas. Grandma Eva favoured Fry's Turkish Delight - "full of Eastern promise" - and her sister, my Great Aunt Edna, pear drops and aniseed balls. It was Eva and Edna who taught me how to make Scottish Tablet and Cinder Toffee, Bonfire Night favourites both.

As children our main source of sweets was the small village shop and the selection wasn't large. With our pocket money we'd buy Sherbet Fountains, tubes of Refreshers and Love Hearts and Toffos, liquorice laces and Catherine Wheels, bags of Midget Gems and Jelly Tots, and Milky Bars. There wasn't much else. But the very best sweet shop in the world was only a short walk down the hill from Grandma Eva's house in town and they stocked everything! You name it, one of the many jars on the floor to ceiling shelves probably contained it. It was possible to spend an entire afternoon choosing an ounce of this and an ounce of that, which is probably why my grandmother would limit us to the fifteen minutes it took her to pop to the butchers and back. And when she returned whatever else I'd picked there'd always be some Lemon Fizzers nestling in my paper bag. I stumbled across this vintage photo not so long ago and stowed it away to share one day ... see what's on the counter?

What are your memories of the sweets and candies you ate as a child? I'd love to know.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my Halloween post, and apologies for not revisiting it to answer your questions ... it's been a crazy few days here, busy doesn't cover it! But I'm hopeful normal service has now resumed, and not before time ... I need to catch up with my blog reading!

And welcome - yup, I'm waving again - to all my new commenters and followers, Lisa at Random Acts of Zen, Lisa at Needles and Wool, Sophie at iSophie, Enid at Enid Bite'em, Freda at Live Simply, Simply Live, Kepanie at Knitspiring Odyssey, Auntie at Auntie sezzzzzz, Indigo Blue and French Knots. I do hope I haven't missed someone, please let me know if I have!

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64 comments :

  1. I've never the pleasure of a Lemon Fizz..my childhood favourites were Banana Bikes..chewy lumps of banana flavoured toffee, individually wrapped and Love Hearts..it was those little messages I couldn't resist! I hated Aniseed Balls.

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  2. Butterscotch and my grandmothers special Black Current Pastilles in the pretty tin. I think she would pick them up on her trips to Canada, but I believe they had them in England as well as I just saw the old "vintage" tins for sale on Brick Lane! When I saw the tins, the memory of the smell and taste of them came flooding back. What a timely post! Love the memories you have brought up.

    Oh, and red licorice was a special treat for Sunday Matinees!

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  3. My Dad always had a tin of sweets beside his chair in the living room. It would be full of liquorice candies, lemon bonbons, jelly bears, chocolate limes (my favourite) and opal fruits as starburst was called then. But funny enough even though the sweets were always close to hand, it was always fruit that attracted us more. Often fighting over the last mandarin or peach.

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  4. What a yummy, well written post. This morning I was thinking about the toffee we were allowed on an extremely rare occasion - red hard toffee with coloured sprinkles stuck in the top, shaped like the top of a mushroom and stuck on a paddlepop stick. Yum! They'd probably make be sick now, that level of sugary sweetness lol.

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  5. Barley sugars were fed to us on the train to keep us occupied. Macintosh allsorts were popular along with raspberry drops and acid drops. I hated liquorice but loved chewy caramel and after dinner mints at Christmas too :) Sweets were rare so were thoroughly enjoyed whenever possible.

    viv in nz

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  6. Poppets and Fry's Peppermint Creams which you cans till buy. Poppets must come in the little cardboard boxes though not in a plastic bag.

    What is it about Nigel Slater that I love in print but can't take to on the telly?

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    1. I'm with you Sue, I find him almost unwatchable, but I acknowledge that his books are genius.

      For me, THE childhood sweet is a chocolate lime. DIVINE! If anyone knows where I can get them, please drop me a line...

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    2. http://www.aquarterof.co.uk/chocolate-limes-pt-129.html I've shopped with them before and they're very reliable.

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  7. Oh No I missed Nigel Slater last night, I will have to watch it online, sounds like a great programme indeed.
    I remeber adoring caramac but I haven't seen it for years ..... oooooh I loved that bar!
    I aslo remember sharing toffos with my lovely dad when he had a bad back.
    What a fun post!
    love jooles x

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  8. Like you not much TV watched here either but we did watch Nigel and his sweets. He is younger than I am so some of the sweets he chose were not my childhood favourites but I do remember those sherbert fountains and eating them as he id once the liquorice "straw" had become clogged with damp and no longer worked!! Ge didn't show my favourites though which wer tiny red gum sweets called Cherry lips (shaped like a crescent or maybe a pair of lips)and with a squirrel on the jar (the manufacturer perhaps) Sweets were rationed when I was a child so we treasured what we had and only 4 ounces per person a week were allowed.

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  9. I loved sherbet fountains when I was little - seemed to last for ever! Great Hallowe'en post - fabulous blog!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  10. I don't watch much TV either, but this was a joy to watch. He is so right about sweets being a fundamental part of childhood. There were so many memories stirred up for me too. I don't know if I could narrow down to an all-time favourite - I love (and still do) Topics, Fry's Peppermint Cream (and the orange one, and the chocolate one!), Turkish Delight and Flakes. I still love Minstrels because the advert used to have window dressers in it (I was one once. A window dresser, not a Minstrel).
    And then there are all the sweets that my Great Nan and Uncle Harry (her brother) used to ply us with. Spangles, especially. Oh, the list goes on ...

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  11. I missed this programme too. Sweets are very nostalgic aren't they. Someone mentioned Caramac bars- they are still available, but not in many places! Top of my list are Liquorice Allsorts. But as a child I loved something called a Lucky bag, available for 3d and included a toy as well as sweeties! Long journeys in the car also involved bags a of sweets to keep us quiet. I especially remember Opal Fruits ( none of the starburst nonsense here please). A tradition I kept going when I had to keep my own 3 boys quiet on our camping holidays to Spain, across France! Still take a bag of sweets on long journeys, helps the queues on motorways more bearable with a mint toffee to suck. And don't forget the small sticks of seaside rock! My oldest son used to like the fried breakfast plates of rock! And FUDGE! MMMMMM FUDGE.......

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  12. Are lemon fizzes the same as sherbet lemons? I loved these and those rice paper flying saucers in pastel colours filled with sherbet too. Like your earlier commenter I too adored Caramac - you could even get Caramac Easter eggs which I thought where heaven! I liked all those highly coloured fizzy type sweets as a child that I wouldn't give much of a thank you for now. Spangles were a particular favourite - I liked the taste and the fact that each one was wrapped in a small square of slippery waxed paper! Happy memories! E x

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    1. Not quite the same, they are sourer and not filled with sherbet but coated in it :D

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  13. Love Nigel. Have recorded life is sweets to watch when the little Sweetpeas are sleeping :) did you watch Toast afterwards,fabulous short film.
    Victoria xx

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  14. Dear Annie
    I enjoyed Nigel Slater's re-visiting of the sweets of his childhood too. My memories include white mice, shrimps, fruit salads and chewing nuts. My sisters liked flying saucers but I didn't. I ate the sherbet from sherbet fountains but didn't like the liquorice so sherbet dib dabs were better for me. Oh, and we all loved Spangles! Yum! Ahh, the memories!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  15. Hello Annie:
    Such names from the past to be conjured with, most of which over the years we have all but forgotten. How sad it is today that the sweet shops, certainly of our childhoods, are no more and so many of those old fashioned treats have disappeared with them.

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  16. Hi Annie. What a lovely post. My father always had mint imperials in his pocket! There are so many sweets I remember...do you remember those sweets shaped like flying saucers and made of rice paper (I think) and sherbert. I loved the sherbert fountains that are still around these days. I remember my brother and I being given our pocket money for sweets.....and we would always get the longest lasting sweets (like pear drops) I would count mine out and have my portion for the day each day! My brother woild eat his straight away and spend the rest of the week trying to wheedle mine out of me!! Now there's a thought....I must go and have words with him about this! Joan

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  17. We were allowed to spend 1/- at the local bakery that doubled as a sweet shop, which meant we could buy 48 blackjacks or fruitsalads. But my favourites were caramac, parma violets or the baker's home-made coconut ice.

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  18. I can honestly say that I have had all of the above mentioned sweets at one time or another throughout my childhood (and beyond). :) My father loved Fry's Turkish Delight and Meltis Fruit Jellies too!
    I missed the programme with Nigel Slater, hopefully I'll be able to catch it again, I'm a huge fan of his!
    Vivienne x

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  19. Our 'corner shop' had 10p bags which contained a random assortment of chews, blackjacks, flying saucers and liquorice laces etc. In my memory a bag lasted for hours but in reality I am sure we'd eaten the lot before we got back to the front door! I will watch Nigel on the iplayer later - along with a good dose of 'Lucy Worsley' who I believe is on for our viewing pleasure this evening! The Lima - btw - wears pretty well, just the odd 'pill' where you'd expect. Do call next time you're in the vicinity.... although it might dispel any illusions you may have about our rural yarn idyll - haha!!

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    1. I'll hold you to that! No illusions to dispel ;) But you do realise that to spend all your days in the company of all that yarn is most knitter's idea of heaven!

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  20. I was lucky enough to spend my first 18 years living in a sweet shop. Actually my parents had a general dealers and off licence which meant they sold everything, including sweets and chocolates. I remember all the different kinds (Lucky Numbers, White Heather assortment, Riley's toffee rolls, buttered brazils....) and still have the scales my parents used for weighing. I especially loved this time of year when all the Christmas tins of toffees and boxes of chocolates were delivered and used to help my dad display them. So many memories.

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  21. What a trip down memory lane. I remember most if not all the sweets mentioned here. I am not sure if I have a favourite particularly but the images of the paper bag of sweets and the shop that sold them has come into my mind. 10p went a long way when I was little probably wouldn't buy you much now.......

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  22. I have fond memories of my aunt and uncle's sweet shop when I was little ... I loved the rows and rows of shiny jars with all the lovely treasure inside ... I watched the show last night and loved it ... have recorded Toast for the weekend ... I really enjoy Nigel's Simple Suppers on a Friday ... some lovely, lovely food ... Bee xx

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  23. Chewing Nuts, chocolate covered toffee, sold by the ounce. I haven't had those in years.

    Caramac is wonderful. The nearest I've found to that these days is a Magnum Gold Ice cream. The outer shell is almost pure Caramac. Oh, delicious. If I've been hard grafting at something all day I'll reward myself with one of those mid afternoon.

    Missed Nigel Slater. Another one for iPlayer.

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  24. O I love Nigel! He really has an emotional connection to everything he shares. My fave would be marshmallows, like Nigel said, almost the closest thing to getting a kiss:~)) Loved this post. X

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  25. Love posts like this... Full of memories, which can transport your Dear Readers to your land, and into your life. Thank you!

    No sweets store in the tiny town in which I grew up. But there was a little store, which sold ice cream cones. And I adored a Chocolate Ice Cream cone. :-)

    Again, thank you. I know I'm going to love, being a Dear Reader of your blog.

    Gentle hugs,
    "Auntie"

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  26. Oh, and as to replies to questions asked, in our own blog comments... Myself, I never go back and re-read other blog comments, after the first time. If someone really asks me a question, in my comments, I'll give them the answer, in a comment in their blog.

    Referring to their question, of course. 'Cause I'd never remember, from day to day, what I had asked before. -giggggles-

    Just saying my plan for answering real questions, left in comments. Just saying... :-)

    Gentle hugs,
    "Auntie"

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  27. Hi Annie, love Nigel, and we always watch him. I thought it was a great programme. All kinds of memories came flooding back. Sherbert dabs....oh yeah! Midget gems...cinder toffee (VERY bad for your fillings!) Caramac! Is that still around??Oh, spearmint bars...thin,pink strips, marked like a waffle, wrapped in greaseproof cellophane. I used to spend a penny of my Sunday School collection! (Now I'll go to Hell for sure!)

    Lovely post.

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  28. On a Saturday morning we would go into town and spend our pocket money in the sweet shop, carefully picking out sweets into a paper bag to add up to exactly the money we had. My favourite were the pink fondant shrimps, always had some of those, and the white chocolate buttons with hundreds & thousands on. My mum loves aniseed balls, my dad had extra-strong mints. My grandma always gave us boiled sweets and those candy letters.

    We bought some sweets for trick-or-treaters and then had loads left over, so I've been eating parma violets and Swizzels lollies this week! I still have such a sweet tooth. Making some bonfire toffee right now actually. Ha.

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  29. My Grandma Helena who lived with us when I was little, loved to sit watching TV on a Saturday night with her weekly treat, a bar of Fry's Turkish Delight and a bar of Fry's Chocolate Cream, she was as slim as a whip and lived to be 93 yrs old, so the old adage is true 'A little of what you fancy does you good'

    Love Nigel Slater, but missed this, I will have to catch up.

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  30. Fruitsalad or Blackjacks for me!

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  31. Oh, my goodness....I've never heard of a single one of those candies!!!! Look at what I've missed out on!!! In elementary school we would all go to the corner grocer on the way home and buy some penny candies....lik-m-ade was my favorite, favorite, favorite!!! but tiny licorice records with the red hot center was a close second! haven't thought about them in years!!! thanks for the memories.

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  32. A great nostalgic post, Annie. I haven't seen the Nigel Slater programme, but as it happens I blogged on the same subject last month and my favourites were mint imperials and anything made with licorice. :-)

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  33. What a lovely post Annie, as you know i grew up in the southern part of the world and so many of these sweets were unbeknown to me. I did love wine gums and fruit pastilles a whole lot but don't seem to have any memories about going into an old fashioned type sweet shop. I managed to catch the last bit of Nigel's program last night then stayed up watching Toast afterwards which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's worh a watch on iplayer if you haven't seen it yet.
    I've just missed read your last post which i seem to have missed, gave me a chill to the bone... you must have been very pleased to see the back end of that home. xox Penelope

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  34. Your posts are always such a delight, Annie, you always get me thinking. The main thing I remember about sweets as a child is Friday Sweets. After school on Fridays my sisters and I were given some money each (20p maybe? That probably bought quite a few sweets in 1985) to go and spend on whatever sweets we liked in the newsagents nearby. It was the highlight of our week and gave us excellent money management skills, as we calculated the maximum amount of sweets to be had within our budget.

    I can't walk past an old fashioned sweet shop now without popping in to see if they stock some sticks of Coltsfoot Rock - I love that stuff! x

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  35. What a lovely post! It immediately brought to mind the James Herriot books. Your picture is just how I had imagined the candy shop he described.

    I loved Tootsie Rolls when I was young. Actually, I still do but I no longer buy them. They are made with 100% unhealthy ingredients. :-) The Loopy Ewe (an online yarn shop I love) always includes a little pack with 5 Tootsie Rolls in each order. I make an exception and let myself eat those. Sometimes I worry that I order yarn from them just so I can get the candy!

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  36. I enjoyed reading your childhood memories. It made me think about mine and the things I loved to eat as a child.

    Wish we could see BBC4 in Holland, but alas!

    Madelief x

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  37. I'm feeling exhausted today because I stopped up to watch 'Toast' last night! What a fantastic drama and I loved the sweet documentary too! My years growing up in the sweet shop make these kind of programmes essential viewing! :)

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  38. William's the Yeast! a sweet shop opposite Market Street School in Llanelli (or Llanelly as it was spelled then) A long, narrow, shop with a long narrow counter filled with sweets of all kinds. Sweets for a farthing. Sherbert Lemons, my favorites. I hadn't thought about it for years. You've made me quite weepy!

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  39. I missed Nigel Slaters programme too, will have to catch up with it. Your post bought back wonderful memories of sherberts dips, black jacks and fruit salads and buying twix bars for 10p and sharing it with my best friend.
    Sarah x

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  40. Morning Annie! If Lemon Fizzers are the same as Lemon Sherberts (hard on the outside and soft and tangy in the middle) then they were a favourite in our household growing up. With my pocket money though I would go up to the petrol station and buy a Cadbury Dairy Milk - the little round bite sized morsels. I'd only suck them so they lasted longer. They are still my favourite but are called Cadbury Chocos now and the recipe has changed and not as yummy. Daniel grew up on Aniseed Rings and your Post prompted a lovely discussion about some fond childhood memories. Mel x

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  41. So sweet of you to wave :O).
    I grew up with Bottle Caps and Pixie Straws. I remember chugging down those during Halloween night. Also, I ate a lot of Lemonheads, those Peppermint rounds free from the restaurant, and the small, rectangular choc/mints.

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  42. Gosh, I can feel the excitement rising as my sweet shop memories come flooding back.

    Lots of sweets come to mind - I must have been terribly greedy - Yorkies were stocked by the hotel tuck shop just up the road together with Fry's Peppermint Creams. We also had a corner shop right beside our school and my friend and I used to get a quarter pound of Toffee Scrumbles or Strawberry Bonbons,and yes, those awful sweet cigarette things. Perhaps it was a good thing we had sports lessons nearly every day after all ;-)

    Blissful memories.

    Stephanie

    My father used to love Sherbet Dips too...

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  43. Where have the good old fashioned sweet shops gone. I used to love choosing from dozens and dozens of big glass jars - pear drops, toffee bon bons and everton and fox's glazier mints were my favourites. My Grandad always sucked Victory V's and couldn't understand why as a child I said I didn't want any!
    June

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  44. Lemon fizzers ... are they like lemon sherbets? I used to love those. Caramels and toffees were always a favourite as a child ... a ye olde fashion-e lolly shop-e was built about a 20 minute drive away from where I lived when I was 7 - it's still there - and I would save up pocket money in the hope we'd 'take a drive' :). This also reminds me of the Roald Dahl memoir 'Boy' where he talks about the two old sister who owned their local village's lolly shop - and who didn't like small children! - and how they thought the licorice straps were made of dried rat's blood :).

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  45. Mint bulls eyes are my absolute favourite, but I only have them occasionally as I have to order them online. As a child we'd go to the newsagent's in the next street and there were low shelves with bowls of penny and twopenny sweets on them which you put into little paper bags with tongs then the man who owned the shop would add up what you'd bought amazingly fast. It was the ritual I loved as well as the sweets.

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  46. I was always a pink shrimp girl myself! Thank you for making me remember those days! Maggie x

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  47. Wonderful memories...
    Fruit salads and black jacks, four for 1d. Jamboree bags, can't remember the price, but every bag different. Spangles and Opal Fruits. My favourite from the big jar was Floral gums, still available today but very hard to find.
    Keep on with the memories, wish I had seen Nigel too.

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  48. My mum used to take me in the sweet shop when I was little and ask me what I'd like, I'd always reply Trebor mints or Polo's. I was cheap. I think Lemon Fizzers must be Fizz Bombs, they came in all different colours and flavours. Another favourite of mine was Yorkshire Mixture.

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  49. This is your fault: I've just been to do some shopping, and put a pack of sherbet lemons in my basket. Will they taste the same?

    Let's just see....

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  50. Scottish Tablet was a firm favourite when we used to visit one of my Scots grannies. We used to love watching her make it and it seemed to take a lifetime (in our eyes!) till it was set enough for her to score and dish out.
    Thank you for your recent comment on my blog. It made me smile because I have been lurking and reading you for quite some time. Time NOT to lurk, methinks.
    I am saving the Nigel Slater programme for the weekend when I can sit and enjoy it at my leisure. I have heard good things about it.

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  51. Oh yes, sweets in little white paper bags, weighed out on big fat scales. Are the fizzers those big yellow ones with sherbet in the centre .. I loved those, I can still taste that bit when the outer casing gives way and your tongue hits the sherbet. Ooh yummy! I loved love hearts and curly wurlys too, although I haven't eaten any since they came back onto the shelves. Nigel Slater's programme was wonderful, we stumbled across it as we don't watch much TV either but I loved his description of how his father banned him from eating walnut whips because of the way his tongue dipped into it. Classic!

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  52. Sherbet Fountains! I actually bought one of these a few days ago. We have a sweet shop in our local village (Richmond). The fountains are all modern now, no longer cardboard that gets all soggy, plastic all the way now! Sad.

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  53. Dear me, how exotic and fascinating all these sound to my American ears (though I have seen many of them referenced in novels). Our sweets (or candy as we call it here) seem much more prosaic by contrast. One of my childhood favourites was Pixy Stix - little striped paper straws filled with fruit-flavoured coloured sugar made tart by what I imagine was ascorbic acid. Life Savers were another favourite - Fruit, Peppermint, Wintergreen, or Buttered Rum. I remember loving Necco Wafers and Smarties - the American version that is (still do, as a matter of fact). As a teenager I fell in love with Brach's Malted Milk Balls which alas have disappeared from the market. Now my tastes are more refined - I lean towards organic dark chocolate and sometimes licorice flavour Jelly Bellies. :)

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  54. I did, I did - the eldest lad and I watched it last night and we were both thrilled ....glued to the set for all the golden sugar before our eyes. What a treat.

    Nina x

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  55. Thanks for your recent comment on my blog
    I had very little pocket money as a child, but I loved Parma Violets - I could make one packet last a week as you got so many little sweets for a few pence.

    happy memories

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  56. We have just watched it, thank you. My 9 year old enjoyed it too and it was lovely and nostalgic. I used to have a Saturday job in our local newsagent and loved weighing out the quaters of sweets into the little white paper bags.

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  57. We hardly watch any TV here as Toby doesn't tolerate any programs that are not of his chhosing and he mostly chooses his old favourites like Maisy mouse and Thomas the tank engine so I have missed out on the delights of Mr Slater (whose books I love). What a lovely blast from the past all of those sweetie names conjured up, I had a special liking for Tom Thumb pips because I liked their tininess.

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  58. My memories are similar to yours. I would get a three pence piece to buy sweets with, debate and debate at Miss Daisy's corner sweet shop or at Mumford's a small grocery store. I always seemed to land up with four chews for a penny, so twelve chews altogether.

    Loved the sherbet with liquorice stick coming out the top.

    I will have to see if I can view that show in the USA.

    Christy
    Lil Bit Brit

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