The Real Story of How Reese’s Cups Were Invented.
Lee Benjamin Crane was a happy guy. His care package from home had just come in and after six weeks at sea, he was looking forward to the collection of letters, postcards, and pictures from his mother. Nora Crane, a photojournalist, was gone near as much as her son and while she did her best to home for holidays, sometimes the shoots just didn’t allow for that. She did the best she could by writing journals and letters for her son. The hefty box, forwarded though necessary channels by his aunt, had also contained two pints of homemade peanut butter.
As a teenager, Lee had grown up with the stuff. His aunt Mary, a persnickety woman who blamed sugar for the ills of the world, didn’t go in for snacks like cookies and candies that other kids had access to. With his mother gone so much, his Aunt Mary had a fair hand at raising him from the age of fourteen until he left for the academy. So Lee’s afterschool snack was more often than not fruit or the homemade peanut from a bakery his aunt frequented on a regular basis.
The stuff put store bought brands to shame; creamy and thick, with just the right amount of natural sugar and oil. Lee, grown man that he was, had been excited to find the two jars nestled among the notebooks and letters. With the joy of a child on Christmas morning, he’d tore the lid of the first jar and ran his finger across the top of the contents, sticking the digit in his mouth and savoring the taste.
He needed a spoon though. Or a knife and some crackers…With his spoils still griped in one hand, Lee headed for the galley. It should be empty this time of night and he could pilfer some crackers at his leisure, come back to his cabin and enjoy himself for a bit.
With an open jar of peanut butter in his hand, Lee set out for the galley.
Charles Philip ‘Chip’ Morton was a happy guy. His care package from home held the usual; letters from his sisters, pictures, his mother’s crumbly chocolate fudge and two dozen chocolate chip cookies. He’d been hoping that his mother would send some of the fudge as he wanted to give Cookie a sample as well the recipe he’d asked his mother for.
Chip was on his way back from the galley, slightly disappointed not to find Cookie in his realm. Instead Chip had left the recipe where the cook would find it but he didn’t leave the fudge sample, figuring some marauding crewmen would come along, not know what it was for and have themselves a midnight snack. Not feeling generous, Chip carried his fudge back to his cabin, nibbling at the crumbly bits as he walked.
As he turned the corner, he didn’t realize there was oncoming traffic and he ran smack into his commanding officer and friend, Lee Crane. In surprise, he accidently dropped his chocolate fudge into, of all things, an open jar of peanut butter.
Lee and Chip stared at each other. “You’ve got chocolate in my peanut butter,” Lee announced, blinking in disbelief.
“Well,” Chip counter, picking his fudge out of the jar. Half the candy was covered in a creamy peanut butter coating. Chunks of fudge had come loose and were laying on top the jar. “You’ve got peanut butter on my chocolate.”
Lee reached down and with long fingers he plucked a fudgy chunk from his peanut butter. He held it up as Chip did the same, eying the combination speculatively. At the same time, they both took a bite, each savoring the texture and flavor as chocolate and peanut butter came together.
“Hey, that’s not half bad,” Chip declared.
Lee grinned, his eyes alight with pleasure. “You’re not kidding!”
Chip was about to take another bite when out of the blue, Admiral Nelson made his appearance, took one look at the two standing in the corridor and raised an eyebrow. “Secret meeting I wasn’t informed about?” he asked dryly.
“Ah, no, sir. My chocolate ended up in Lee’s peanut butter.”
“My peanut butter got all over Chip’s chocolate fudge.”
Nelson stared at the two men then his eyes drifted to the jar in Lee’s hands, the surface of the peanut butter in the jar dusted with chunks of crumbly chocolate fudge. “Was that tested for contaminates?” Nelson asked, realizing neither peanut butter nor fudge were indigenous to the boat. With the mail pick up from the Foster earlier in the day, they had to have come out of care packages from home.
Lee and Chip gapped at each other. “Well…” Chip stammered, not sure how to even answer.
“Then you’d better give that to me,” Nelson replied, and before either could react he’d confiscated both the fudge and the jar of peanut butter!
Lee and Chip stared after their employer as the older man took off down the corridor as “I’ll be in the lab,” floated back to them.
For a second both men stood flatfooted and distraught in the empty corridor. Lee finally glanced back to Chip. “I have another jar,” he said hopefully.
Chip grinned. “I have more fudge.”
“Meet me in my cabin. Get some milk from the galley,” Lee said.
“Right. Let’s just keep this between ourselves,” Chip agreed.