Well, hello funny name fans! I open this FNiFood post by introducing myself, as my failure to do so last time caused Dave great consternation. (Really, it didn’t. It’s just more fun to use the word “consternation” than to say he reminded me to tell you who I am.) So… I’m Liz and I stop by monthly to introduce you to exemplary-named individuals who are also connected to food.
Allow me to review: We’ve visited cookbook author Crescent Dragonwagon, restaurateurs The Brothers Dickey, and pastry queen Gesine Bullock-Prado. If you enjoy what you read here, you can find me each week at food for fun and if that’s not enough, I post fun food (and drink) daily at deLizious facebook. (Please Like me 😉 ) With that behind us and hoping Dave is satisfied, shall we move on to funny names?
We’re talking chocolate today. Or rather, the man behind the chocolate: Milton Snavely Hershey. Born 1858 (September 13 should you want to mark your calendar for celebration with chocolate cake) to Veronica “Fanny” Snavely and Henry Hershey, Milt was raised in Pennsylvania’s Mennonite community. Due to family hardships, his formal schooling ended with 4th grade and his late teens and early 20s found him traveling with father on sales trips. Just shy of age 30, young Hershey started the Lancaster Caramel Company using a recipe he’d found during his travels. LCC’s immediate and phenomenal success established him as a candy maker, setting the stage for future chocolate awesomeness.
Fast-forward to 1893’s World Colombian Exposition, where Hershey becomes enamored with equipment to make German chocolate. Purchasing said equipment, he begins laying plans. In 1900, Hershey sells his caramel emporium and uses proceeds to buy land for dairy farms. With fresh milk at his disposal, he perfects the manufacture of top-notch milk chocolate. That same year saw the introduction of the first Hershey Bar; the little Kiss arrived in 1907. Just one year later, Hershey’s with Almonds was born. Hershey’s milk chocolate quickly became the first nationally marketed confection of its kind.
Along the way, Milt married Catherine “Kitty” Sweeney. After learning they could not have children, they established the Hershey Industrial School to help educate other young tykes. After Kitty died, Milton transferred most of his assets, including control of his company, to a trust fund to benefit his school. It’s been noted that Milton Hershey put product quality and the well-being of workers ahead of profits—a fine tribute to a man who also brought us the chocolate bar.
Milt was so amazing that the folks of Pennsylvania named a town after him—sort of. According to Wikipedia, Hershey, PA, is “census-designated” but “has no legal status as an incorporated municipality.” Home to Hershey factories and its namesake school, The Sweetest Place on Earth is plenty legit in my book. On behalf of chocolate lovers everywhere, I thank you, Milton Snavely Hershey for your chocolatey innovation and hard work. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden craving for a candy bar. See you next month for more funny-names-in-food discoveries!