| 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
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
vegetable oil: 植物油
bubble gum: 泡泡糖
cinnamon: 肉桂, 桂皮
saliva: 口水, 唾液