November 2010

The Candy You Get In Hell

This Candy El Pecas assortment of candy contained possibly the four worst things I have ever attempted to eat.

1.    Pal Bubble Gum
This is clearly a cheap rip-off of Double Bubble bubble gum.  And how sad is it, to be a cheaper version of Double Bubble?  The color and markings of the wrapper are identical, but the gum itself is a worse quality.

2.    Selz Soda
The bright orange packaging and use of the word "Soda" made me think this would be like a root beer barrel, but orange flavor.  I was puzzled when I opened the wrapper and found what looked for all the world like a eucalyptus cough drop. 

It was a white, almost silvery color, dusted lightly with corn starch.  It smelled… not like food.  It had barely any detectable odor.  Sniffing it closely (I have never had to sniff candy closely - that's a bad sign, methinks) I caught the faint whiff of… band aid, maybe.  Or plastic.  It might have been the scent of the wrapper, transferred to the candy.

Candy El Pecas, "Cacahuate Japones, Japanese-style peanuts"

I have tried a lot of oddball candies in my day, but these are just baffling.  Out of curiosity, I went back to that big convenience store/small grocery store where I bought Serpentinas a little while back.  The candy rack was still there, and this time I gave it closer scrutiny.

Most of the Candy El Pecas offerings strike me as being either actively repellant (slices of mango inside a packet of thick reddish goo) or "meh" (sugared tamarind slices).  This was one of the few candies on the rack that made me think something along the lines of, "???"

When I read the phrase "Japanese-style peanuts," my thoughts turn to wasabi peas, wasabi peanuts, and the spicy/sticky peanuts that you find in those Japanese cracker snack mixes.  (Kake no tane, oh how I love you!)

Necco Mint Julep Candy Chews

Although it turned out to be reasonably tasty, this candy struck me as ill-conceived in two ways:

1.    Hey, kids!  Have some candy named after booze!  It's fun!  Try a candy cigarette afterward, to complete the experience!

2.    What do mint juleps taste like?  Do people drink them for the taste?  I thought people only drank mint juleps for the booze.  Otherwise, we'd just be drinking mint tea. 

I can't really help with point #1.  Although it does occur to me that "pina colada" is a common candy flavor, and that's an alcoholic beverage too.  (I mean, just barely, but still.)  It makes me imagine a world of booze candy.  Manhattan Skittles.  Sidecar Chews.  Rum and Coke Slurpee.  Seabreeze Gum.  You get the picture.

Turkey Gumballs

At Thanksgiving, when presented with a tin of novelty gumballs in Cranberry, Pumpkin Pie, and Turkey flavor, I went straight for a Turkey gumball.  Because that is the kind of girl that I am.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that it was not very good.  But it was not very good in a very interesting way.  To my own surprise (much less that of the attendant onlookers), I ended up chewing it for a lot longer than I would have thought, just to see how the flavor developed. 

If you're looking for an unusual taste sensation, you can look no further than a turkey-flavored gumball.

Extra Dessert Delights: Key Lime Pie

What hath science wrought?  In a nation wracked by an obesity epidemic, the flavor specialists at the Extra Gum labs have come up with a gum which tastes uncannily like key lime pie.  This is one of the new line of Extra Dessert Delights gum: a gum which is overtly positioned as a dessert.

There are two ways you can go with this.  You can be either "Yay, a taste treat that doesn't make us fatter!" or "Oh sweet merciful Jesus, how sad and empty must your life be if you are eating gum for dessert." 

Then there's a third angle, which I don't think gets enough public acknowledgment, which is that these peppy, flavorful, calorie-free gums are much beloved by anorexics.  Feeling the sharp stabs of hunger?  Of course you are.  Here, have some gum!  It gives you a little kick, tricks your body into thinking that you have eaten something, and all for only 5 calories per stick.

Depressing, right?  But true. 

Brach's Gloria Mix

I was hoping to find some good old-fashioned ribbon candy at the store.  What with the holidays approaching. 

(Or hadn't you noticed?  With the way that every store of every kind has suddenly been taken over by red and green and tinsel and festive glitter banners saying "OH GOD BUY STUFF BUY IT BUY IT BUYYYYYY."  I'm sure you've noticed.)

And what could be more festive than ribbon candy?

Anyway, I didn't find any ribbon candy.  What I found instead is "Gloria Mix," which is a new one on me.  "Gloria" is I guess supposed to sound festive?  Like… no, wait, the song is "Glory Glory Hallelujah."  Sorry, I got confused.

Franz Chocolate Covered Raspberry Filled Doughnuts

I have only one question: Where have you been all my life?

Clearly I've fallen woefully behind in doughnut technology, because I was unaware that they could put filling in a ring doughnut.  When I first spotted the package, I was confused.  I thought it must be some kind of typo.  I peered in through the clear plastic window on the lid and confirmed that the doughnuts were shaped like toruses (torii?).  And that the package specified "raspberry filled."

Did I dare let my excitement rise?  My two favorite doughnuts are chocolate covered and raspberry filled.  Except that chocolate covered doughnuts are often dry in the middle, and raspberry filled doughnuts are usually covered in that loathsome powdered sugar. 

The stuff dusts down all over your shirt and table top, and inevitably causes a coughing fit, which makes things even worse.  Powdered sugar doughnuts are one of the worst examples of product design known to mankind.  (And yet, I continue to eat them.)

Candy El Pecas "Serpentina"

It's easy to slip into that bored, cynical feeling that there's nothing new under the sun.  But I have to remind myself that this is untrue.  It just means you aren't trying hard enough.

Take… these, for example.  I was on my way home a few nights ago, when I realized that I had forgotten to pick up a loaf of bread at the store.  Instead of hauling all the way to the "real" grocery store, I decided to pop in at the corner shop a few blocks from where I was at the time.

This is one of those shops that's bigger than a 7-11 or bodega, but smaller than a grocery store.  The same goes for its prices and selection.  Good place to go if you just need one or two common items, and you don't have the time or inclination to suffer through a whole entire grocery store experience.

It was there that I spotted a rack of Candy El Pecas products.  At first, I honestly thought they were spices, similar to the assortment of things you can find at the end of the "Hispanic Food" section at the grocery store.  Except that the rack was positioned in the "candy and cookies" aisle, and it did say "Candy" right there on the package.

Christmas Dots

Gosh, these are pretty!  It's a pity they taste so awful.

That's right, folks: with Halloween behind us, the Christmas onslaught has begun.  I plucked these from an entire aisle display which was rapidly being filled by a harried-looking store employee.  I didn't get around to sampling the Halloween Dots this year, which makes me sad.  I love those things!  So I snatched up this box to compensate.  And now I am sad.

First of all, I have to give props to the Tootsie Corporation for actually labeling these "Christmas Dots" and not a more generic "Holiday Dots" or "Festive Dots."  Although it makes me wonder if they plan to sell blue and white dots for Hannukah, or orange, yellow, and green Dots for Kwanzaa.  (That would be awesome, wouldn't it?)

These special seasonal Dots are bi-flavored.  Which is pretty unusual in the Dots line-up, which tends to be single fruit-flavored and proud of it.  Dots are one of those old-school candies that I hope never change. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

At some point, cookie dough became more than "everyone's sordid little secret."  It left the refrigerator and hit grocery store shelves, becoming both a stand-alone candy and a popular ice cream inclusion.  How this happened I can't imagine.  Obviously someone first had the idea.  Whoever that person is, they deserve some kind of medal from candy-dom.

This indulgence was once only available to those who threw caution to the wind and ate raw cookie dough.  Uncooked cookie dough contains raw eggs, which can have salmonella, which can make you really sick. 

Although I have heard that the acidity of the sugar in the dough kills the BLAH BLAH BLAH.  That little secret thrill is one of the few risks most of us take in life anymore.  It's like the fat Westerner's version of eating fugu.

Thingamajig Bar

I'm not sure if it's the holiday season bringing out all these special edition candy bars, or if I just happened to visit the right store.  I picked this bar up at Walmart, too, along with the Snickers Fudge.  I only go to Walmart about once every three years (they carry the big solid-colored storage tubs that I like).  Maybe I should go more often!

When I first spotted this bar, I assumed that it was an off-brand Whatchamacallit rip-off.  It turns out to be a related candy - a sister candy bar, if you will - very similar to a Whatchamacallit but with slightly different ingredients.

Snickers Fudge

Hi there, Fatty McLardypants here.  I have been trying very hard to cut back on the treats lately.  And I've done pretty well, maybe this will finally be the time that I, etc etc etc.  But I was undone by the discovery of Snickers Fudge.

Do you know what I had to not eat, in order to afford (calorically speaking) this candy bar?  An awful lot of baby carrots, that's what.  In retrospect, maybe that was not such a bad trade. 

There are 250 calories in one Snickers Fudge bar.  That is equivalent to 50 baby carrots, 1.5 pounds of broccoli, 2.7 large eggs, or three cups of skim milk. 

When you tear open the wrapper of a Snickers Fudge, it will release a waft of delicious fudge smell which is about enough to make you weak at the knees.  Unlike tearing open the wrapper on 50 baby carrots.