Probably because it's almost Easter, I just received an email about a brand of candy called Peeps. Honestly, I had to google it. Never heard of it. But it seems to be a big deal. Very big seller.
Amazingly, somehow it also appears to be almost universally reviled.
* Maybe you've tried it. Did you like it? Spit it out? Fall on the ground gagging?
** If you tried it, please leave a comment below.
Anyway, Peeps got me thinking about candy in general: The good. The bad. The ugly.
For much of my life I've been a big sugar addict. (Guess what? Most people are!)
Growing up, we lived two blocks from a drugstore with a huge candy counter. I still remember the sheer joy of learning as a toddler that if I found a penny on the street I could take it to the drugstore and get a fix. Lots of choices back then for a penny. The hard part was choosing.
My favorite grandmother was my favorite because she fed my addiction. Every Sunday she would pick us kids up for church. After an hour of Sunday School designed to quash all questions about anything interesting (heaven, miracles, leprosy), she would take us across the street to that same drugstore. She'd let us spend about as much of her money as we wanted on candy and comics. I cringe to think how much candy you could by for 25 cents back then. So we came, we bought, we coated our teeth with sugar.
* Got the mercury fillings to prove it.
I've spent decades trying to kick the habit, and mostly been successful. I don't eat candy anymore. Really. Almost never. I honestly can't recall the last time. Unless you count the occasional, high cocoa content, sugar free dark chocolate.
So What Are The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly?
For me, it was always the chewy stuff. Caramels, tootsie rolls, milk duds, slo-pokes, jelly beans, hot tamales, anything with nougat, and any kind of gum. (Preferably several pieces at once.).
Rarely did I get offered any expensive candy, like Russell Stover's. But if I did, I wanted the caramel.
* Russell Stover Candy is still based here in Kansas City.
** The Stover mansion was the biggest house in the most expensive neighborhood in town.
*** There's a lot of money in sugar.
I just didn't care much for hard candy. The occasional jawbreaker maybe, but only if there was nothing else. And I didn't like milk chocolate. I didn't understand why back then, but it always gives me a queasy gut, even now. So I was never really into any M&Ms, Snickers, or any of the Mars stuff. Although any candy bar with coconut was worthy of consideration.
There are certain candies I not only never liked, I couldn't imagine eating them if I was starving. Not even if I needed a fix in the worst way. And in my mind, these would have been the worst way. I couldn't believe anybody thought they were edible.
So here's my list of the absolute worst candy, in no particular order:
- Goo Goo Clusters (didn't learn about these till I moved to Nashville)
- Cherry Mash (my best friend's favorite - arrrgh)
- Twinkies (an abomination, too sweet even for me)
- Horehound drops (my grandpa's favorite)
- Circus Peanuts (who ever thought of these?)
- Peeps? (Never tried 'em)
- Trader Joe's Chocolate Caramel Yolkies (honestly could not bring myself to even taste it)
Now this is my list. It's okay with me if it's not your list. It's a short list because I can't remember all of them. So please help me out and leave your choices in the comment box. Let's see if we can get a consensus on the 5 or 10 best and worst of all time.
And if you're looking for some really good sugar-free chocolate, I recommend my friend Mary Jo Kringas' ChocoPerfection. My favorite is the dark mint, but they're all good. Just click the pic.
© 2021 Greg Tamblyn