Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'm Crazy BeckEye, Now Gimme Some Candy!

My niece just came back from a birthday party with this bag of candy which has definitely caught my eye. I can see Tootsie Rolls and their even more delicious cousins, Tootsie Pops, peeking out from the party-size cellophane sack. For some reason, my niece is not really all that into candy. She's more of a cake/cookie girl. I, on the other hand, loves me some candy. I crave salty snacks too. Anything that's bad for me really, but being a nutritional know-nothing is not really the point of this post. I'm writing to ask you folks out there where the hell has all the good candy gone?

After confiscating the treats, I soon found out that the Tootsie Family of goodies were acting as a decoy to lure me in. Rifling through the bag, I discovered a bunch of crap. Crap like...amazing Dubble Bubble gum. I call it amazing because after being in your mouth for only 3 seconds, it miraculously turns into plaster. And then there is the generic strawberry licorice. Generally, if they're not Twizzlers (or certain licorice products I will discuss later), they're most likely just pieces of garden hose twisted up and painted pink. Now, I'll probably still eat these confectionary flops because Dr. Phil says I'm trying to fill the hole in my soul with food. Still, I only do so begrudgingly. I mean, if I'm gonna sit around and eat junk and end up having to do 200 crunches a day to avoid turning into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, er Woman, it better damn well be worth it.

This particular baggie aside, I've noticed a steady decline in the quality of candy since I was a kid. (Laffy Taffy excluded.) I can't believe that I'm actually old enough to remember penny candy, but I do, so I guess I am. Well, the drugstore that I used to bike to for my candy fix actually had slightly higher prices. I think the average item was around 5 cents instead of 1. But they were premium goods, so I didn't mind.

I liked to mix up my sweets so I didn't get bored, but there were just certain ones I had to have every trip. My paper-bag was never without the following:

Delfa RollsOH GOD. I love the Delfa Roll. I never see these sold anywhere these days, except for one place. There is a little snack kiosk outside the movie theater in a mall that no one ever goes to, other than to see a movie or to shop at Dick's and/or Old Navy. I never go out of my way to go there, but every time I do, I make sure to stop and get a few packs of my darling Delfa. The fun part as a kid was unfurling them and whipping myself in the face with them. That could partially help explain why I am the way I am today.

Shoestring LicoriceGenerally, I wouldn't get Delfa Rolls AND shoestrings at the same time, but occasionally I had a hankering for some serious licorice overload. Shoestrings were great, because you could look cool by draping them around your neck like a feather boa while sort of nonchalantly chewing on the ends. Or you could take a bunch and make a big braid out of them. Or better yet, take some strands, roll them up into a huge ball and shove the whole thing in your mouth. The latter method was never performed solo; you always had to have a friend spotting you, should a Heimlich situation ever arise.

Buttons/DotsI really don't know the technical name for this candy. Basically, it was a long strip of paper about the size of register tape, and it had sets of colored dots all over it. You had to suck and chew the dots off of the paper, which wasn't as easy as it sounds. It could be a struggle. It could get messy. Knowing what I know now, we should've just rolled up the piece of paper and put the whole wad in our mouths. You ended up eating 90% of the paper anyway.

SixletsThese are still sold today and seem to be pretty popular. They're just chocolate with a little candy shell, but why are they so much better than M&M's?? There must be a hundred variations of candy-coated chocolate out there, but Sixlets practically make me weak at the knees. And although you can buy larger boxes of them, it's so much more fun to get the single packs. Then you just open one end and smooth out the wrapper to pop them in your mouth. There was usually always one, on a really hot day, that would get stuck on the other end of the wrapper and the more you tried to move it, the more cracked and mushed up it would get. Of course, instead of just opening the other end to get it out, you had to deep-throat the wrapper and gnaw it out of there, like a bear trying to get out of a trap. Fun.

SpaceshipsI don't know if there's a technical name for these either, but man I loved these things. They were little flying saucers made out of some type of edible paper. Then they had all these little candy beads inside. I always ate these the same way. The technique never varied. I would tear a little square hole out of the side of the saucer, so it looked like a door. Then I would say something stupid like "We come in peace," pretending it was the "aliens" inside. But I was just a ravenously hungry Earth beast, so I dumped all the little candy beings into my mouth and ate them. Then I ate the spaceship to get rid of the evidence. Ha ha, suckas! "To Serve Man" was a cookbook! (Twilight Zone geeks will appreciate that joke.)

Swedish FishAnother staple of my childhood that, fortunately, is still just as popular today. Every once in a while I'll be at Wal-Mart or something and see the giant box of fishies sitting on the shelf, calling my name. I never seek them out. It's usually always an impulse buy. Then I go home and eat them until I'm on the brink of vomiting. Every time. That's the thing about Swedish Fish, you never can tell when you've had too many until it's almost too late. But they're so damn good, I'll usually try to sneak a few more in before my stomach gives me that stern, final warning.

Now, not all the candy we had when I was growing up was as good as those mentioned above. I was into some really strange stuff. Like those giant candy "diamond" rings. How disgusting were they? You sucked on that thing all day and it never seemed to get any smaller, but you ended up with this nasty sticky goo all over your hand and matted down arm hair. Yum. And what about those tubes of wax with the juice in them? What were they all about? You drank the juice out and then actually ate the wax! Then there were the ever-popular wax lips. With those, not only did you get your recommended daily allowance of wax, but you got to look like Mick Jagger for a day.

If I had really been a smart kid, I wouldn't have bothered with the Kool-Aid stand. I would've just collected all the wax I could from candles around the house and sold balls of it for a dime each. Hmm, now that everything retro is back with a bang, that might still be a good idea. I could be the next Willy Wonka.


Bekkah said...

Your post has my sweet tooth standing up and screaming out loud!

I loved fireballs, lemonheads and would never be caught without a Charms blowpop. But really, who could possibly forget (or not love) pixie stixs??? There's no better treat than dumping sour powder down your throat!!

I think you can still find all of these on the store shelves today, funny, I don't seem to recall seeing those fabulous little candy CIGARETTES at the store the last time I went?!!? Wonder why they stopped making those??? :)

Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

Soilent Green is PEOPLE! AHEM, I mean, Sweedish Fish are EVIL!

I once lost a filling to my insatiable hunger for the red fishies. Even after the filling came out and the agony of exposed nerves deep in my jaw hit me full force, I still tried in vain to suck on the fishes until tears welled up in my eyes and I had to call my dentist at home. Since then, I've been a recovering fish addict.

Now I steal Smarties and Tootsie Rolls from trick-or-treaters. They always have them in their bags/pumpkins/pillowcases that they use as candy receptacles, and I try to covertly drop in some generic jaw breakers and take out their good stuff. That's what I love most about kids -- they're so foolishly trusting!

Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

Oops, I spelled Soylent Green wrong. It was 5 AM when I posted that and I attest that we cannot be held accountable for misspellings at such an unreasonable hour! Can you forgive?

Kels said...

Sixlets are little balls of crack neatly colored and packaged as candy to be sold to children and adults alike.

And I am addicted to them..

Edge said...

I get to rediscover candy with my daughter. I find her tastes so diffrent. She loves dum dums. I could care less. I loved red hots, jordan almonds and other stuff. Candy cigarettes were great as well as lic-n-stix. Those are still around. Funny how regional candy is sometimes.


BeckEye said... could I forget Smarties ("pills")!?!? I love those. Yeah, candy cigarettes were great too. We were all like the cast of an all-child production of Valley of The Dolls, what with our pills and cigarettes. Then after drinking a pack of those wax juice vials, we would pass out.

Hey Librarian, I forgive your faux pas. If you can believe it, I've never seen Soylent Green. I've never seen Casablanca or Citizen Kane either. Too busy eating candy I guess.

The Everglades said...

Oh my God I love candy so much. And I love all the candies you described here. Incredible. I wanted to lick my monitor. I'm running to the store...


nin said...

wow !!! send me some.....plzzzz...

Arun said...

'swedish fish'..i can't but chuckle at the name. heh heh...

i love anything sweet, so i am drooling already!

Lavinia said...

My life is nothing without chocolate. My evening ritual is to eat one piece of pricey chocolate while I read before going to sleep.

I enjoy Snickers when I'm feeling trashy and craving carbs but for sheer enjoyment and decadence I can never do better than Lindt or Toblerone chocolates.

When I was younger I ate loads of candies (we call them sweets here) endemic to South Africa. We had long ones called Fizzers, which incredibly enough, fizzed like mad on contact with saliva. There were Pop Rocks, which were bits of sugar that exploded in your mouth.

I also loved sour worms which were extremely sour, gummed candies and jaw breakers (I know you have those in the US). It seems I like interactive sweets.

I loathed reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it was torture knowing I could never go to such a place to indulge myself.

Are you looking forward to Tim Burton's remake? I read that Roald Dahl's wife said he would have prefered this version to the original movie. Apparently he wanted Spike Milligan to play Willy Wonka, not Gene Wilder.

We'll see how it turns out.

pia said...

I'm a chocolate person--dark chocolate without much sugar. test of a true chocaholic. chocolate covered ginger is my favorite

And the dots. That's what they're called. Candy dots!

Anonymous said...

I miss Nerds and Bottle Caps and Pixie Sticks! I once had the Pig from Toy Story (Hamlet?) who was also a buttons dispenser. That candy lasted all of 2 days...


Cincysundevil said...

How could you forget Smarties, Pixie Sticks, and the all-time best, SweetTarts?? I love Easter because someone always snags me an entire bag of those great Easter egg shaped SweetTarts

Lee Ann said...

I tried someone's licorice twist once, I thought it tasted like wax covered rubber....yuck! Those space ship thingys look like they would be good. I think you are right though, the candy these days doesn't seem to compare to the candy of the past! One of my favs was sweet tarts. Oh, i always liked those round cinnamon gum balls.

Rex Venom said...

Yummy yummy yummy!
Power, dear! Power!
Rock on!

pia said...

Just have to say that I love the 'purple" thing--might just begin a purple America movement!

Think that you're way Kool. thanks

Sangroncito said...

Ah, the memories. I remember when I was a kid candy cost 5 cents each so with a dollar you'd get the biggest stomach ache in the world.

Anonymous said...

Do you still buy the delfa rolls? I can't find them anywhere and have been looking forever. Help:)

Dave said...

OMG, I loved the candy of my youth! When jaw breakers were a dentist best friend, they meant that when they put that crap on the package! I had a friend who had his jaw wired shut for 12 weeks. Why? Jawbreakers my friend. Delfa Rolls were so awesome I LOVED THOSE. You can be very creative with a 9" long strip of red sugar. I want those so bad and can't find them anywhere...other than some obscure movie theater in PA...BECK EYE!! Hint hint nudge nudge wink wink. Lemon heads, Boston baked beans, hitting your siblings with frozen Charleston chews just to hear the distinctive crack...just like in the commercials.

I loved it all, waxed lips, wax bottles of sugary kiddie booze, those pill necklaces and bracelets, Fun Dip... could go on. Bottom line: I have fond memories of that, it's good to reflect and smile and think of all the sugar coated memories and lolly pop dreams....What the....enough of the melancholic crap, give me some candy!!! I will continue on my quest to find the last box of stale Delfa Rolls. Maybe I can cryofreeze them and make my grandkids eat them someday? NAH! I'm eatin em!


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