Sweetheart Conversation Hearts, the story behind the candy DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

Remember Sweethearts candies? They are the small candies (sometimes known as conversation hearts) that were crazy fun when we were little and which taste like chalk that had a lot of sugar mixed in. In my mind, they are synonymous with Valentine’s Day.

Once upon a time in 1847, there were no conversation hearts (more about that tomorrow). Then Daniel Chase figured out a way to use food dye to press tiny little messages onto the candy his brother, Oliver, made. Oliver just happened to be the founder of Necco.

Sweethearts are now available in a variety of assortments to choose from including chocolate, tart, and smoothie flavors.

Sweethearts were probably the forerunner of and inspiration for texting and twitter. They were tiny little messages of under 140 characters. Way under. And you didn’t have a lot of control over the message beyond combing through the box to find just the right phrase for someone.

Sweetheart Conversation Hearts, the story behind the candy DearKidLoveMom.comOver the years, Sweethearts messages have changed to keep up with the times. “Tweet me” was definitely not on candy when I was your age (just a few short years ago). Not only does Necco print messages for you to share at random, you can now also order hearts printed with whatever you want — provided it fits. Although (at least for the box I bought) they are not using dye anymore (which is just wrong).

Valentine candy “conversation hearts” have a shelf life of five years. I prefer not to think about that.

Necco manufactures 8 billion (yup, billion) Sweethearts a year. Which is a lot of talkative candy.

The other big candy for Valentine’s Day is of course chocolate in all its great, glorious, and wonderful forms. If you have any left over, you should feel free to send it to me. I’ll be happy to take care of it for you. Because I’m just that kind of mom.

The phrase “Sweets for the sweet” is a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 5, Act 1. The phrase “Sweets for the Mom” is somewhat more recent.

Happy Thursday, sweetie.

Love, Mom

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