[ 2007-04-06 12:44 ]
All recipes for chewing gum manufactured today
share the same main ingredients: a gum base, sweeteners, primarily sugar and corn syrup, and flavorings. Some also contain softeners, such as glycerin and vegetable oil. The amount of each
added to the mix varies as to which type of gum is being manufactured. For
example, bubble gum contains more of
the gum base, so that your bubbles don't burst...especially during class!
Though gum manufacturers carefully guard their recipes, they all share the
same basic process to reach the finished product. Preparation of the gum base at
the factory, by far the lengthiest step, requires that the raw gum materials be
melted down in sterilized in a steam
cooker, and then pumped to a high-powered centrifuge to rid the gum base of undesirable
dirt and bark.
Once the factory workers clean the melted gum base, they combine
approximately 20% of the base with 63% sugar, 16% corn syrup, and 1% flavoring
oils, such as spearmint,
peppermint, and cinnamon. While still warm, they run the mixture
between pairs of rollers, which are coated on both sides with powdered sugar, to
prevent the resulting ribbon of gum from sticking. The final pair of rollers
comes fully equipped with knives, which snip the ribbon into sticks, which yet
another machine individually wraps.
The gum base used in these recipes is, for the most part, manufactured, due
to economic constraints. In the good old days, the entire gum base came directly
from the milky white sap, or
chicle, of the sapodilla tree found in Mexico and in Guatemala.
There, natives collect the chicle by the bucketful, boil it down, mold it into
25-pound blocks, and ship it directly to chewing gum factories. Those with
little or no self-restraint, chew their chicle directly from the tree, as did
New England settlers, after watching Indians do the same.
The concept of chewing gum stuck, and continues to play a vital role in our
economy, largely due to the many benefits associated with its use. Sales of
chewing gum first began in the early 1800s. Later, in the 1860s, chicle was
imported as a substitute for rubber, and finally, in approximately the 1890s,
for use in chewing gum.
The pure pleasure derived from enraging a schoolteacher by blowing bubbles in
class, or from annoying a co-worker by snapping it, is only one of the
attractions of chewing gum. Chewing gum actually helps to clean the teeth, and
to moisturize the mouth, by stimulating saliva production, which helps to neutralize
tooth-decay-forming acids left behind after eating fermented food.
The muscular action of chewing gum also helps to curb a person's appetite for
a snack or for a cigarette, to concentrate, to stay alert, to ease tension, and
to relax one's nerves and muscles. For these very reasons, the armed forces
supplied soldiers with chewing gum in World War I, World War II, in Korea, and
in Vietnam. Today, chewing gum is still included in field and combat rations. In
fact, the Wrigley Company, following the Department of Defense specifications
supplied to government contractors, supplied chewing gum for the distribution to
troops stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War. It is safe to say
that chewing gum has served our country well.
corn syrup: 玉米糖浆
flavoring: 调味品, 调味料
softener: 软化剂; 柔软剂
bubble gum: 泡泡糖
steam cooker: 蒸汽蒸煮器（杀菌器）
cinnamon: 肉桂, 桂皮
saliva: 口水, 唾液
(英语点津 Annabel 编辑)