Jelly beans are a small bean-shaped lolly with a gelatine based shell and softer jelly interior. They usually come in a bag of mixed colours and flavours, however for our aniseed lovers, black jelly beans are highly prized on their own. Black jelly beans are the definitive comparison I use when people want to know what humbugs or sparkles taste like. They have a strong aniseed flavour and are much favoured by my fishing and truck driving clientele.
As I have written elsewhere about the development of flavours and colors in jelly beans, I thought this post might focus on some interesting historical information about the use of the terms jelly bean.
In United States slang in the 1910s and early 1920s a “Jellybean” or “Jelly-Bean” was a young man who dressed stylishly to attract women but had little else to recommend him; similar to the older terms dandy and fop. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a story about such a character, The Jelly-Bean in 1920. The song, “Jelly Bean (He’s a Curbstone Cutie)”, was made popular in the 1940s by Phil Harris. It was written by Jimmie Dupre, Sam Rosen, and Joe Verges and published in New Orleans in 1920 by Universal Music Publishers, Inc.
In the semiconductor industry, a “jelly bean” component is one which is widely available, used generically in many applications, and has no very unusual characteristics—as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed, like jelly beans.
More recently one of the Android operating systems for phones and tablets was codenamed Jelly Bean.
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