The M in M&M and the Tootsie in Tootsie Roll

Are you getting ready for the candy stash that Halloween brings? Whether you’re hoping for chocolate or hard candies, we’re sure you have your favorites. But have you ever thought about what the names on the wrappers mean? Here’s the history behind the names of a few popular confections:

• Believe it or not, one of the most beloved candy bars is named after a horse. The Mars family named the candy bar Snickers in memoriam of their favorite race horse, and introduced the candy bar in 1930. Of course, to snicker means “to laugh in a half-suppressed, indecorous or disrespectful manner.” It relates to a Dutch word and is probably intended to mimic the sound of that distinctive laugh.

• During the Spanish Civil War, Forrest Mars, Sr. saw soldiers eating hard-shelled chocolates, inspiring the mass production of M&Ms about a decade later in a Newark factory. The candy was named after the surnames of the company’s founders: Forrest Mars and William Murrie.

• Another Mars product, the Milky Way bar was inspired by the malted milk drink, not the Earth’s galaxy.  The company’s intention was to put chocolate malted milk, which was very popular in the 1920s, into a candy bar.

Tootsie Rolls were the creation of Leo Hirshfield, an Austrian immigrant who had a small store in New York City in the late 1800s. He named the candy after his daughter Clara who was nicknamed “Tootsie.” Now 64 million Tootsie Rolls are produced each day. A tootsie has come to possess both the wholesome sense of “sweetheart,” as well as the less savory connotation of “prostitute.”

Are there names of other sweet treats that you’d like us to explore? Let us know about them below.

On a related sugary note, find out what’s soft about a soft drink, here.