The Taffy Men


Drawing by A. Minton

I'll admit up front that to try to describe the candy that Henry and Dick Kahn made and sold in their little stand, on the corner of Fifth Street (Morro Bay Boulevard) and Morro Avenue, is almost impossible. The Kahn's came to Morro Bay in 1918 from Atlantic City. They described their taffy as "Atlantic City Salt Water Taffy." There were two flavors--vanilla (white) and molasses (beige). I never knew which one to buy as they were both so good. For five cents one would receive a small white sack containing these morsels. They also sold peanuts and made popcorn at their stand. They opened their shop about ten in the morning, but only on Sundays. I don't ever remember seeing them there during the week. As far as I know this little stand was never broken into and was not particularly secure by todays standards. Admittedly in some respects it was a more gentile time. I would like to be able to describe the taffy men in a better fashion, but as I best remember they were short, stout and balding gray. One or both of them had a mustache and they were very well dressed anytime you would see them downtown. At their shop they wore suit pants, white shirts, ties and vests. A source that remembers them well says they were extremely frugal and they lived pretty much from what was available locally. That would be fish, abalone, clams, mussels, mustard greens and wild berries plus what they might grow in their garden. Regretably, when these fine little men died, they took their taffy recipe with them. I have heard rumors that the recipe still exists somewhere in Morro Bay, but after having tried one local recipe, I'm pretty well convinced we won't ever have taffy like that again.

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