Confection Connoisseur

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I just can’t stop at one candy column. It’d be like eating one M & M. Pretty near impossible. Yea, some people have matured and can act all intellectual and cultured because they can talk about a wine’s body and how it’s earthy yet pleases the palate, in a refined manner. But when they talk about a wine’s complex bouquet, I’m thinking about a Peppermint Patty.

Blindfold me and break a Peppermint Patty under my nostrils and I can tell you what vintage it was and what candy store sold it. That’s a bouquet.

Name a candy and the smell comes to mind. Close your eyes. You can’t smell a Milky Way or candy corn?

In the bad old days, when cavities were king, you went to candy stores and had tough choices when all you had was a nickel or a dime.

I think Chunky bars always cost a nickel more than other candy but I don’t know why. They never lived up to the hype. I thought 100 Grand Candy bars were overrated, too. 

Almond Joys, cousin to the Mounds bar, were ruined by the almond. Sometimes you could carefully pluck the almond out and enjoy the rest of the candy, which was coconut covered by milk chocolate. Some people tell me the almond was the best part. Ha, yea ok, health nuts.

I’d have to say Hershey bars were overrated, too. I mean, you’d eat them, but you’d take a Three Musketeers or a Snickers over them any day of the week. Starburst was good. You could buy a pack and eat them one at a time or you could open them all and mold them together like Play-Doh and then eat the whole rainbow creation.

Some candy you weren’t sure about. You could eat a bunch of Whoppers but never decide if you actually liked them. Chocolate-covered cherry candy was good as long as you didn’t think about them. What was that liquid about?

Pretty much everybody liked Charleston Chews. Some people put them in the freezer and would eat them later when they were rock hard. Others liked them soft and almost melting.

Some kids liked jawbreakers, which came by the name honestly. You’d watch somebody bite down and it was like watching a car accident in slow motion. Everybody else's  face would scrunch up anticipating injury. Sometimes it took a few seconds until —crack! It sounded like a femur snapped inside the kid’s mouth.

Some candies I just didn’t get. Smarties or Necco Wafers were like a roll of nickels that tasted like chalk. Some tart stuff came in a long straw and it’d make your eyes water. I was never big on Red Hots either. There’s sweet and there’s torture.            

Fancy candy was another thing. Sometimes a box of Russell Stover would show up. 

This candy was tricky. If you weren’t the first one to open the box, you’d find someone had already finger-poked the candies to see what was inside.

Breaking the outer chocolate shell meant if you didn’t like peanut butter or raspberry filling, it’d never reach your mouth. If you were late to the Russell Stover box, you sometimes had no choice but to eat a candy with someone else’s fingerprint.

For the longest time, I thought this was a shameful family thing, something only we did. Turns out, chocolate finger-poking was widespread, so much so that Russell Stover and other assorted chocolate manufactures started putting maps in the box. You want the coconut, the one that’s like a Mounds bar? Upper right hand corner. You want the creamy orange one?  Middle left.

Took a little bit of the fun out of it. Before the maps, you could try to use ESP and bite into one knowing the filling was gonna be a good one. It wouldn’t always work and sometimes you’d be running to a trash can to spit out whatever surprising, godawful stuff was inside.

Before maps, you’d hear someone yell, who touched all the candy?! That’s gross. (Yea, as if they wouldn’t have done it…)

Anyway, somebody just told me they’ve got chocolate wine now. It sounds gross but, who knows? Twix or Oh Henry! in a bottle?  Maybe I’ll become more cultured after all.

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