Inquiring minds: What is a sugar plum?

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here are some of the most interesting ones they've gotten lately.

Q. What is a sugar plum?

A. We all know from "The Night before Christmas" that "the children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads." But what exactly were the kids dreaming about? Sugar plums are not an item often encountered on modern menus; but that wasn't the case back when Clement Moore was writing his famous poem in 1837. In earlier times, sugar candies were formed around kernels of dried fruits, seeds, nuts or a chunk of spice like cinnamon. The resulting treat, which was immensely popular, was called a "sugar plum." Plums themselves were not necessarily a mandatory ingredient. Modern sugar plums, often referred to by the old-fashioned name of "comfit," are usually based on almonds. If you'd like to try making your own sugarplums, you can find many good recipes online by googling "sugar plum recipe"

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Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 628-6803 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.