Last Updated on March 10, 2019
“Sit down, please, there are plenty of chairs; and I will tell you my story.”
So they sat down and listened while he told the following tale.
“I was born in Omaha–“
“Why, that isn’t very far from Kansas!” cried Dorothy.
“No, but it’s farther from here,” he said, shaking his head at her sadly. “When I grew up I became a ventriloquist,
and at that I was very well trained by a great master. I can imitate any kind of a bird or beast.” Here he mewed so
like a kitten that Toto pricked up his ears and looked everywhere to see where she was.
“After a time,” continued Oz, “I tired of that, and became a balloonist.”
“What is that?” asked Dorothy.
“A man who goes up in a balloon on circus day, so as to draw a crowd of people together and get them to pay to
see the circus,” he explained.
“Oh,” she said, “I know.”
“Well, one day I went up in a balloon and the ropes got twisted, so that I couldn’t come down again. It went way
up above the clouds, so far that a current of air struck it and carried it many, many miles away. For a day and a
night I traveled through the air, and on the morning of the second day I awoke and found the balloon floating over
a strange and beautiful country.
“It came down gradually, and I was not hurt a bit. But I found myself in the midst of a strange people, who, seeing
me come from the clouds, thought I was a great Wizard. Of course I let them think so, because they were afraid of me, and promised to do anything I wished them to.
“Just to amuse myself, and keep the good people busy, I ordered them to build this City, and my Palace; and they did it all willingly and well. Then I thought, as the
country was so green and beautiful, I would call it the Emerald City; and to make the name fit better I put green spectacles on all the people, so that everything they
saw was green.”
“But isn’t everything here green?” asked Dorothy.
“No more than in any other city,” replied Oz; “but when you wear green spectacles, why of course everything you see looks green to you. The Emerald City was built
a great many years ago, for I was a young man when the balloon brought me here, and I am a very old man now. But my people have worn green glasses on their eyes
so long that most of them think it really is an Emerald City, and it certainly is a beautiful place, abounding in jewels and precious metals, and every good thing that is
needed to make one happy. I have been good to the people, and they like me; but ever since this Palace was built, I have shut myself up and would not see any of them.
“One of my greatest fears was the Witches, for while I had no magical powers at all I soon found out that the Witches were really able to do wonderful things. There were
four of them in this country, and they ruled the people who live in the North and South and East and West. Fortunately, the Witches of the North and South were good, and
I knew they would do me no harm; but the Witches of the East and West were terribly wicked, and had they not thought I was more powerful than they themselves, they would
surely have destroyed me. As it was, I lived in deadly fear of them for many years; so you can imagine how pleased I was when I heard your house had fallen on the Wicked
Witch of the East. When you came to me, I was willing to promise anything if you would only do away with the other Witch; but, now that you have melted her, I am ashamed
to say that I cannot keep my promises.”
“I think you are a very bad man,” said Dorothy.
“Oh, no, my dear; I’m really a very good man, but I’m a very bad Wizard, I must admit.”
-Chapter 15, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
With the movie ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ coming out in cinemas soon, I thought it would be fun to turn to Oz himself as inspiration. Dorothy can inspire later. The previous excerpt from the original book ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ is what the upcoming movie seems to be based around.
Oz is a magician from a circus from Ohama, Nebraska. With the book published in 1900, I thought it would be suiting to look at foods circuses served back in the day.
A couple hours of google searches later, and turns out it’s pretty hard to find out what was actually served in circuses in the late 1800s- early 1900s unless you research the history of each food individually. Not like there’s a list out there.
I did find out that candy apples didn’t come around until 1908.
Machine spun cotton candy was first introduced to the public at the 1904 World Fair.
Popcorn has been around for centuries. Cracker Jacks were introduced in 1893.
And I did find this little tidbit on the history of peanuts from a website called Peanut Inn (love the name).
“In 1870 P.T. Barnum’s circus introduced “HOT ROASTED PEANUTS”. As his circus wagons traveled from city to city the Roasted Peanut became famous, and began showing up in ballparks and movie theaters.”
Hot roasted peanuts it is. Makes for a neat circus themed party treat. And it helps that March is National Peanut Month. Chow time!
To make, grab that bag of either raw shelled peanuts or unshelled peanuts. I’m going with unshelled since my guess would be they would have been served this way. It would have meant less work and the shells would’ve kept the peanuts fresher until they were ready for roasting. Plus pulling off the shells is half the fun.
Preheat your oven to 180oC or 350oF. Spread out your peanuts evenly on a baking tray.
For the unshelled peanuts, cook them for ~20 minutes. For unshelled, check on them five minutes before, shelled you may need to cook them for five minutes longer. But keep an eye on them! They burn easily.
Serve up in little paper bags.