November
1st 2012
Dia de los Muertos/All Saints Day quiz

Posted under: childhood, fluff

I meant to get this post up last night, but for some reason my blog was off-line for a spell.  (BTW, this is not my pumpkin-carving kit, which tends more toward the soiled yoga pants-and-crummy sweatshirt variety.)  I hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween.

Now that the candy has been counted, stashed, and secretly raided by those of you with children under the age of 8, here’s my question:  Which is the most disgusting candy ever invented:  candy corn or circus peanuts?  (Or, suggest your own entries in the comments below.)  Does anyone actually like this stuff?  Why do they bother making it?

46 Comments »

46 Responses to “Dia de los Muertos/All Saints Day quiz”

  1. Nikki on 01 Nov 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Really? I love candy corn. What I could do without are those peanut butter chewy candies, in the orange or black wax paper.

    I am neutral on circus peanuts.

  2. Sweet Sue on 01 Nov 2012 at 9:43 am #

    I can’t stand those ropes of licorice; the red ones are bad enough but the black–just, yuk, blech, gag.

  3. Dr. Koshary on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I’d call it a toss-up between circus peanuts and malted milk balls. Utterly disgusting things, both of them.

  4. squadratomagico on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:48 am #

    The thing about malted milk balls is that the most commonly available ones – whoppers – are gross. However, the ones that sometimes are available in bulk bins, either in whole foods or co-ops, and made with real chocolate, are quite good.

    I don’t care for any form of mint candy, from the little hard swirly suckers in restaurants, all the way up to peppermint patties. I want sweet in my candy, not toothpaste-tasting.

  5. Indyanna on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I was never much on those “mallow” chicks, dyed in various colors. On the other side of the coin, I was almost painfully addicted to Reeses P-butter cups at one point.

  6. Les Work on 01 Nov 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I used to reject candy corn without exception until I was given a handful of a mix of salted peanuts and candy corn. Together, these two “foods” I can take or leave are elevated to something resembling the taste of a really, really good white chocolate-covered pretzel. And so seasonal.
    Circus peanuts are only really good when they have been dried out in the bottom of grandma’s “candy drawer” and been pulled out to fling at favorite cousins (outdoors, naturally).

  7. ntbw on 01 Nov 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Even as a candy loving kid, I could not stand circus peanuts. My parents were really strict about when we were allowed candy, and I vividly remember one time being given the OK to have some candy at an aunt’s house, and the candy on offer was circus peanuts. I turned them down. Candy corn, though, I like in very small quantities (more than a couple of pieces is too cloying), or mixed with peanuts like Les Work describes.

  8. Dr. Crazy on 01 Nov 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Count me among the lovers of candy corn. Only once a year, but typically I have a day of candy corn which is characterized by many highs and lows (because of the spiking sugar) and a vaguely sick feeling at the end. It’s a halloween tradition.

    I’m going to vote for Necco Wafers as my least favorite candy. I haven’t had one in at least 25 years, and yet I still remember my hatred of them.

  9. koshembos on 01 Nov 2012 at 11:58 am #

    As a documented worker, I know very little about half the candies available to the public. Yet, I am, as any other adult, a world expert on sweets. Many years ago we were in the Schwarzwald north of Munich eating huge slices of cream filled and covered of cake. We agreed that: 1) the cake is disgusting and 2) we want more of it. You have to know the German cakes, though.

  10. truffula on 01 Nov 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Well, I’m not much for candy (chocolate, yes, candy, no) but my favorite candies– salmiak rondos–leave most other people gagging. They are not as salty as other salmiak but I like their texture the best.

  11. Historiann on 01 Nov 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    I adore strong herb flavors, which is why I have always dug black licorice. (Black jellybeans were always my fave!) Maybe this is why I don’t like candy corn or circus peanuts, which just taste sweet without any real flavor to them.

    Good call on those peanut butter taffies and the Necco wafers, both of which just seemed to me to be pointless wastes of sugar and resources.

    There’s a new store in town selling vintage candy, and I found a pack of Violets there last week! I never buy candy for myself, but I bought the Violets.

  12. Mary Anne Mohanraj on 01 Nov 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Historiann, I assume you’ve had Benedictine? Very herby. :-)

  13. Historiann on 01 Nov 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Now, that’s the kind of treat I prefer (alcoholic, not sweet)!

  14. Also Temporarily Anon on 01 Nov 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    No one calling out NECCO wavers?

  15. Indyanna on 01 Nov 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I *loved* teh neccos, even before I walked past the New England Candy COmpany on the way back and forth to a Boston archive one of those years back then.

    I’m remembering now that my grandparents used to give each of their newborn grandkids a couple of stock shares in a small Connecticut candy company, as well as a few other small regional companies, sort of an introduction to capitalism I guess. And this particular company had the practice of sending a sampler box of their products to each stockholder at Christmas every year. (Talk about paternalistic capitalism). Then they stopped doing that. That was about when I got out of the markets, selling all twenty odd shares that I had to get through a tough fiscal patch in graduate school. So I’d have to say that I know a few things about creating jobs!

  16. Z on 01 Nov 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I like candy corn, but cannot abide cracker jack.

  17. Z on 01 Nov 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I also liked Necco Wafers as a child, had not thought of them in years.

  18. Historiann on 01 Nov 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    The great thing about Necco wafers is that they taste the same now as the day they rolled off the factory floor in 1947! I bet people are still finding packs of those in fallout shelters, and they’ve neither improved nor degraded with age.

    I always kind of like Cracker Jack. Must be the molasses-y taste, or the prize inside. (Probably the prize, actually).

  19. Undine on 01 Nov 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Have you read Candyfreak by Steve Almond? Regional candies and the obsessives who love them.

    Circus peanuts are the worst by a long margin, followed by some kind of pink wintergreen mint that my great-grandmother used to eat and bestow on us as a special treat. How do you say “I love you, Grandma, but get those things away from me?”

    Also terrible: any kind of jelly or gummy candy, like jelly beans. Any kind of candy that tries to incorporate fruit (chocolate-covered cherries) on the theory that if you like fruit and you like candy, you’ll love the two together. This is contrary to nature.

  20. Historiann on 01 Nov 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Undine, you’ve given me some kind of weird sense-memory flashback with the pink wintergreen mints. I’m recalling something similar. Did they taste like Pepto-Bismol?

  21. Indyanna on 01 Nov 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Neccos apparently *do* taste the same now, but a quick trip over to wikipedia after I posted the last comment reveals that in 2009 the New England Confectionary Company made the “Classic Coke” mistake by totally changing the product. They eliminated the green ones (my favorite kind) and “softened” the rest while modulating the color and flavor schemes. A consumer revolt erupted and they beat a hasty retreat to what had worked all along. The NECCO factory, in Cambridge, has a smokestack painted to look like a roll of the classic sugar lozenges–including the green ones I should say.

  22. Susan on 01 Nov 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I used to love candy corn, and then about 5 years ago I ate some again and wondered what I’d been thinking. I felt sick. Just too sweet: my tooth has become less sweet over the years. Always hated licorice and jelly beans, as well as anything marshmallow. Not much use for Necco wafers ever, and what about pez?

    I never was a candy freak. My junk food of choice is usually salty, not sweet.

  23. Z on 01 Nov 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Susan, here is something I actually like now: salted herring licorice.

    http://www.scandinavianbutik.com/store/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=77

    I am not joking, it is good.

  24. Z on 01 Nov 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    P.S. Here is a Google group of Danes stressing on whether they can get salty licorice through U.S. customs. They cannot live without it and they have already confirmed that it is available only in Denmark. https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/dk.fritid.rejse/Ut97OPjp86k

  25. Historiann on 01 Nov 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    Pez was always more about the dispenser than the candy, but the dispensers were very cool. (Who needs a “dispenser” for candy, anyway?)

    Pixie Stix were awesome. I also liked candy cigarettes a lot, although that was more just about the concept of the cigarettes. The candy itself was weird and chalky.

    That salty licorice would be worth a try, whether it’s with herrings or not. (I had Somali goat tonight for dinner–everything’s worth trying once, no?)

  26. Indyanna on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    There were two kinds of candy cigarettes. The weird and chalky kind were memorable especially for the red “lit” tips on them. There were also chocolate ones wrapped in real papers, which had a tendency to melt in your hand, not in your mouth. I was taken to a pleistocene-era version of a World Wrestling Federation event once, and clearly remember balling up about a half dozen of those chocolate ciggies and throwing the icky blob at one of the villains; either “The Sheik” or some monocled German bad guy. Parental discretion was advised, but in this instance seemingly dispensed with. I’m also going to put in a plug here for _Candyland_, the game. Not a calorie or a cavity in a boxful, but interesting enough.

  27. undine on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Historiann, I think they did taste the same, though I haven’t had either in many years *shudder*.

  28. Susan on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    What I love about H’ann’s place is I always learn something! Salted herring licorice…

    Oh, and the candy cigs: I agree, they were fun, for the fantasy of smoking. As for Pez containers, they usually broke.

    And I do remember meeting a historian who told me that her lunch while working in archives was peanut m&ms, as they had protein from the peanuts, and sugar from the coating!

  29. Western Dave on 02 Nov 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Hates: Mary Janes (which is a molasses and peanut butter candy), Necco wafers (inferior to both Pez and Smarties).

    Loves: Bottlecaps, Sweetarts,Spree, Fun Dip. We get the Wonka mix and I pick out all the Bottlecaps and refuse to give them out.

  30. Northern Barbarian on 02 Nov 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Circus peanuts — hated them even as a kid. Like others here, I’ve been losing my sweet tooth as I’ve gotten older, and now find myself craving bitter flavors. Have a bottle of Benedictine at home right now. My brother and sister-in-law run a caramel popcorn shop that also sells vintage candy, and they are continually surprised by people who drive 100 miles or more to buy candy they think is disgusting. Candy “potatoes” (some kind of marshmallow covered with cheap chocolate) and very odd little flying saucers (sugar styrofoam with little sugar balls rattling around inside) are particular puzzles. But hey, it sells!

  31. Historiann on 02 Nov 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Indyanna–I think I remember those chocolate ciggies, only weren’t they maybe cigars? I also remember a really good candy lipstick that was soft and chocolate-y, more like the texture of real lipstick, but then it seemed that all candy lipsticks were made to feel and taste like Swee-Tarts. Bleah.

    Western Dave: Fun Dip is what they used to call Lik-m-Aid, which was pixie stix powder in a pouch you eat with a candy spoon? (Or, really a stick, since you’re supposed to lick the stick to get the powdered candy to stick to it. Pretty disgusting, actually. Or is it made to recall dip tobacco? That seems unlikely, but you never know!)

  32. Indyanna on 02 Nov 2012 at 10:14 am #

    If I had thrown a blob of six hand-melted chocolate segars right past Haystack Calhoun’s ear and at his mean adversary, The Sheik, I would have been arrested. Even in Nassau County, which was having its little fun-run with juvenile delinquency at that time. (This was @ the old Island Garden in Hempstead, the predecessor of Nassau County Coliseum, which will soon enough have nothing to show except an occasional Billy Joel or Van Halen retro-tour event). The reference to candy lipsticks is also reminding me of bulbous, waxy actual lips, which I’m not sure were intended as candy, but rather to give the illusion of having bulbous lips. You just bit into the back flange and looked ridiculous. But with kids, anything that gets near la bouche probably has some chance of being ingested.

  33. Linden on 02 Nov 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I used to eat the waxy lips, I guess for the reason you describe, but I was never sure if I was supposed to and they were never very good. I’d take them any day over circus peanuts, however.

    My favorite regional candy is Nut Goodies. My father in Minnesota sends me a box once a year.

  34. Historiann on 02 Nov 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Speaking of those waxy candies: what about the little wax pop bottles, filled with sugar syrup? Again, like Pez, it was more of a concept candy, all about the delivery, and not a particularly tasty one.

  35. JeanP on 02 Nov 2012 at 10:57 am #

    What’s with the sexualized poses of the women in these three stories?

  36. comparatrice on 02 Nov 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    “Circus peanuts are the worst by a long margin”: true. I’m amazed that there isn’t more hatred of gummy worms and everything made by Haribo here, though. I also recall some kind of chewy candy made to simulate Neapolitan ice cream: the chocolate part tasted a little like a tootsie roll, the pink part tasted like gaaaack, and the white part seemed to contain bits of coconut, which provoked massive shudders. But I think I ate them anyway out of fascination at the horror. As a kid I felt a mystifying obligation to eat every piece of candy, although there was still no way I could get the circus peanuts or gummy things down. It was my Halloween duty! I had had the fun of collecting the candy, and now I had to eat it, slowly but surely.

    I think candy corn had some vaguely salty savor to make it more addictive.

  37. Ruth on 02 Nov 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    I loved those pink wintergreen things. Also candy corn.

  38. Western Dave on 02 Nov 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Yes, Fun Dip = Lik-m-aid. I always had trouble with pixie sticks because I would get the paper all wet and then the sugar wouldn’t come out.

    I also loved sugar dots (the colored ones that came on paper and you peeled them off but ate a lot of paper that stuck to the back).

  39. Historiann on 02 Nov 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Candy pills! They kind of sucked, but they were irresistable.

    I’ve noticed that they call those “candy buttons” now. I guess it’s not cool any longer to suggest to children that medication is “like candy!”

  40. Tenured Radical on 02 Nov 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Mike and Ikes. Yecccchhhhh.

  41. Tenured Radical on 02 Nov 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh yeah — and how about wax lips?????

  42. Feminist Avatar on 03 Nov 2012 at 2:21 am #

    This is like reading a foreign language. I think the only thing I can identify is haribo sweets and candy cigarettes, which also tasted like chalk in the UK.

  43. Sweet Sue on 03 Nov 2012 at 9:28 am #

    I love the taste of coconut and real, toasted coconut but I hate the weird, gummy stuff in candies, like Almond Joy. Shudder.
    Also, add my name to the list of jelly candy haters.

  44. Indyanna on 03 Nov 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Almond Joy was from the company, long ago gobbled up by a corporate raider, that used to send me small sample boxes of product at Christmas to generate sugar-haze meltdowns and extract fillings between dental visits. I actually liked the Mounds better. And who wouldn’t like those little packs of Walnetos? I’m now remembering a kind of candy that was little squared layers of pastel colors joined by layers of I guess sludge. Hard to describe in the universe of junk, but the staler they got, the better I liked them.

  45. Dr. Virago on 04 Nov 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Huh. I’ve never even *seen* circus peanuts, though I think I’ve read references to them. I had to Google them. I’d probably hate them, as I hate candy corn, too (though the suggestion to mix them with salty *real* nuts has me intrigued). I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Necco wafer, either, but at least I’ve heard of them.

    But for worst, I’m voting with those of you who suggested and voted for those hard-as-a-rock peanut butter chews in the black and orange wrappers. Those things *sucked*.

  46. Historiann on 04 Nov 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Hi, Dr. V.!

    I agree with you (and whoever upthread suggested the nasty PB taffies in the first place.) They’re a pretty crappy candy, especially considering that most peanut-butter candies are a cut above the sugary masses (Reese’s PB Cups, Reese’s Pieces, etc.)