History Nebraska Blog

Pan of Fudge

Pan of fudge (RG2266.PH0-000004)

Six girls and their bemused-looking chaperone pose in a pennant-bedecked room, possibly at York College (York, Nebraska) in about 1910.

Many food historians trace the origins of fudge to the dormitories of Ivy League colleges in the mid-1880s. The earliest written account of the treat appears in a letter written in 1886 by a young woman from Vassar.

The origins of the name are obscure, but the word was used as a verb meaning “to surreptitiously adjust data to produce the desired conclusions” or “to cheat” long before it became the name of a simple, usually homemade candy.

According to some, the candy got its name from students who would use the making of it as an excuse to stay up past curfew and thus “fudge” the rules.  


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