What can I say about toolum? It’s black, chewy, sometimes sticky and molasses-y with a hint of orange peel and ginger. All natural, no preservatives. When I think of toolum, it throws me back straight into Primary School……..It was a hit among us as children and still is even as an adult.
Toolum: A Childhood Snack
In between all the salty, sour and peppery snacks, we had at school, a toolum from the parlour always hit the spot. I really enjoyed it when I was young. Strangely when you ate toolum, it stuck to your teeth, yet you never got cavities from eating it. Those were the good ole days …Sometimes I still wonder where it came from; who was the inventor, and what history it has to offer.
As for it’s history, it seems somewhat obscure and I can only make an educated guess. Quite possibly, it could have been made from the time the first sugar plantations were in Trinidad and Tobago. Some creative soul discovered a remarkable way to use the sugar and sugar by product ( molasses ) together with grated coconut to make a wholesome candy. Then overtime shared the recipe with people all over Trinidad and Tobago…..Well at least that’s what I came up with lol!!
Be it as it may, toolum has stayed with us over the centuries and continues to chug along, existing alongside the new “snacks” and still being as popular as all those hundreds of years aback. Anyhow, next time you bite one think of this for a while……You’re not only enjoying a piece of candy, but a piece of trini culture!
1 cup finely grated coconut
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp. fresh ground ginger
1/2 tsp. dried orange peel, broken into small pieces
2/3 c brown sugar
Note: To maintain the colour without burning stir over a low fire.
More recipes to come.
Enjoy your toolum before someone else take it from you!