Monday, November 23, 2009
I love Lemonheads. Yes, the candy. Those little sweet/sour balls that perfectly balance the hardness and chewiness of life. I have always loved them, loved everything about them. The box, the sound the candy made rolling around inside the box (which was somewhat sad, because it never seemed full enough, only sort of full) and the fused pairs of Lemonheads that fell into your hand with a plop when you deliciously turned the box over for the first time. I was (and remain) one of those weird kids who loves anything sour, and between Lemonheads and the kosher lemon hard candy my grandma used to keep on her dining room table in a white trifle bowl--zour kendies, she used to call them in her Yiddish accent--my craving for sour was pretty well covered. Small got several boxes of Lemonheads in her Halloween bag this year, which she generously shared with me, knowing how much I love them. And the Mom n Pop store I sometimes stop at before I pick up Large from school has that same size box for fifteen cents each. I don't always buy them, but alongside the individually wrapped Swedish Fish and the chocolate Ice Cubes, they make me happy.
Don't think I am not aware of how sad this makes me sound. Certain things make me happy that, to me, fall into the category of "simple pleasures" and to others may qualify as "mental illness." Going to Costco and seeing the huge stacks of Coca-Cola products is happy-making. Going to Marshalls and seeing all the potential treasures to be unearthed for a low, low price is another. Watching my dog romp in the snow makes me really happy, too, but not as happy as the photos of Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City. Aisles of by-the-pound candy love is one of the most thrilling things ever. I believe I have a love for Potential--perhaps I will find the perfect boots or the sourest or stickiest or most perplexing candy ever. A good life is about choices, and an endless array of choices at $3.99 a pound is pretty damn good.Mental illness? Maybe. But clearly, I am not alone.
At dinner the other night, while perusing the gift catalog I received from CVS, I saw a picture of something utterly fantastic: The World's Largest Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, each package containing two 8 oz. cups. I am a latecomer to the chocolate game, and my M&M (plain only!!) obsession arrived along with Large, 13 years ago. But predating that was a real love for Reese's and Kit Kats, which has never gone away. So of course, I MUST HAVE the world's largest peanut butter cups--of course!---but i started wondering whether it would cost me my whole day's caloric intake, this thought being a sad byproduct of getting old. So I googled the caloric intake, and it took me to a beautiful beautiful place--Candyblog.com. Holy shit, people, this is Nirvana. Beautifully photographed and thoroughly reviewed, this is one serious blog. Simply searching the word "reese's" brought me to a chart of peanut butter/chocolate products, the first of which was World's Biggest. Click on it, and find a really intelligent review with a hilarious rating system (ranging 1-10, from inedible to superb). This was rated as 6-Tempting. What cracked me up is finding a fellow candy weirdo--look at what the reviewer says:
This violates one of my primary rules of candy, which is that it requires some sort of tool. In this case it’s a knife to portion it. Most large chocolate bars are scored and can be broken into pieces. There is no other way to eat this other than huge bites ... which pretty much means you’re not sharing or you’re intimate enough with the other folks or so wasted you don’t care.
Doesn't that sound like something I would say? And incidentally, the caloric intake by the ounce is listed and it is depressing: 143 PER OUNCE, for an 8 ounce piece of chocolate times two. In short, 2,288 calories. Say hello to the World's Largest Muffin Top after eating these. Sigh. I have spent some time on this page, and while I still haven't found any candy that is Inedible, I have heard of some that I will definitely be trying. Dove Peppermint Bark, anyone?
This site sent me running back to one of my favorite books, Candyfreak by Steve Almond. While this book focuses exclusively on various oddball chocolate products, such as the Idaho Spud or the Goo Goo Cluster, the descriptions of how they are made, their history and people's tremendous attachment to them makes me laugh. No, that isn't it. It makes me laugh with delight, delight that I am not the only sweirdo (sweet+weirdo) out there. This book makes an excellent gift, along with a gift certificate to sweetnostalgia.com, where your sweirdo can buy Broadway Licorice and Wax Lips in bulk, sent directly to their home to be undulged in without judgement.
And I think the World's Largest Peanut Butter Cup will be a dessert on Thanksgiving, sliced and served with toothpicks. Because I have to have it. I just don't have to have it all.