TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey State Assembly on Monday approved a bill that would make salt water taffy the official state candy.
State Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) introduced the measure at the request of some a group of 70 fifth-graders from Sayreville’s Samsel Upper Elementary School. The request followed a presentation he made to the students on how a bill becomes a law.
At the hearing on June 5, student Tyler Graham said designating an official state candy can help attract people to the state’s boardwalks, most of which have been rebuilt following Superstorm Sandy.
“Even though I haven’t tasted it, it’s actually more interesting because you actually get to sit there and watch them (the lawmakers) do their job,” Graham told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.
“It was really fun because we get to talk in front of everybody,” student Michelle Lee said after the hearing.
The soft taffy became popular as a souvenir in Atlantic City in the late 19th century.
The origins of the name “salt water taffy” are not certain, although one popular story claims it stemmed from a candy store owner whose shop was flooded during an 1883 storm and saw all his taffy washed up in ocean water.
A young girl later asked if any taffy was for sale, and even though the merchant said he only had “salt water taffy,” she bought it anyway and showed it off, the story goes. The merchant’s mother liked the name so much that it stuck, the story claims.
While it does contain both salt and water, salt water taffy does not contain any salt water or ocean water.
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