Vintage Candy, A Sugar - Induced Sprint Down Memory Lane, Volume Ii
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Vintage Candy, A Sugar   -   induced Sprint Down Memory Lane, Volume Ii

As promised, my second instalment of Vintage Candy is here! I am not sure how many volumes will comprise this nostalgic, insulin-spiked compendium of fructose facts, but I will let you know when I run out of steam. For those of you who did not read Volume I, I indicate the year it was released to the world, whether or not these candies are, to my knowledge, still around (“SWEET”), or no longer available through conventional retail means, “SOUR”. I will note a number at the end which indicates the number of Clydesdales it would take to pull me off of this treat during a sugar craving.

Kraft Caramels 1933

Singlehandedly responsible for putting more dentists in vacation homes than bar fights, these beyond chewy bricks of honey coloured bliss were Kraft’s magnum opus. Not only available at the corner store, but generously dispersed during Halloween, their popularity is timeless. An eleven out of ten on the sweet scale, more than three could induce hallucinations and type 2 diabetes. Do not ingest the cellophane wrapper as it is like choking on a butterfly. SWEET - 7

Marshmallow Bananas , circa 1940

Brazenly listing sugar as its first, second and third ingredient, if candy were boyfriends, this was the one that got away. I have had a lifelong love affair with these little yellow bastards and they are either putting heroine in these things or I have a serious addiction issue that should be professionally addressed. They also come in a peanut shape but there is something disheartening about tasting banana from a peanut shape. Stick with the bananas. SWEET - 9.5

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, 1922

Sigh. How could something so wrong be so right? For over ninety years the world has indulged in these tasty circles of ecstasy. The marriage of the skating rink-smooth top, surrounded by the gently corrugated sides offers a juxtaposition of textures before its outer perfection is hungrily broken by teeth, knowing the explosion of peanut buttery goodness will cause your eyes to close involuntarily while moaning. I still steal these from my son’s Halloween loot bag while he sleeps. SWEET - 9

PEZ, 1927

PEZ were innovators of branding before branding was cool and was only known as a verb referring to poking a hot iron on a roped cow. I cannot even believe these things are still around. These sculpted plastic reflections of pop culture have depicted almost every significant personality, real or fictional, from Betty Boop to Willie Nelson. With the most expensive dispenser, the 1982 World’s Fair, once being listed for sale for $100K, the tiny bricks of sugary cement do possess a unique flavour that sets them apart from candies in this genre, but not as sweet which is a welcome trait. Subtly tart, these also put you in the danger zone for over-consuming and have left me napping in the troughs of a sugar crash on more occasions than I care to admit. SWEET - 9

Smarties, 1949

I do not eat the red ones last, the green ones do not make you horny, and I do not endorse the new fangled colours. Blue is wrong. Brown ones taste the best. The perfect crunch of the outer candy shell and the smooth chocolate filling is genius. They have stayed current and still have market share. They have a Facebook page for goodness sake. Suck them, chew them, it just does not matter. They are perfect. If a Smartie and an M&M were drowning and I could only save one, the M&M would be swimming with the fishes. SWEET - 8.8

Wagon Wheels, 1948

AKA Moon Pie, not just TBBT’s Sheldon Cooper's pet name from Meemaw, these soft and yielding treats were usually packaged in boxes of a dozen at the grocery store. My mother was not gullible enough to buy them, especially for an only child. Luckily they were sold individually by the genius who managed the local corner store. What’s not to like? Chocolate covered graham cracker biscuits with marshmallow centre. Crumbing ensued when the first huge bite was taken, and unlike a stale pistachio which was promptly ejected, even stale, you’d shrug and keep eating it. I always thought that about six hundred of them configured in a large rectangle would make a stellar mattress. SWEET – 7

Wax Syrup Sticks (Date unknown, possibly since the dawn of time)

These beauties were basically wax sticks about three to four inches long, filled with dyed sugar water. Chewing through the was released the cloying, messy liquid giving a fleeting rush of sweet and a lingering, tasteless wad of wax in your mouth that was impossible to stop chewing, causing eventual lockjaw. The bizarre and impractical delivery of sucrose was both inconvenient and messy, yet I am certain I left pounds of spent wax in my five year old wake. SOUR - 6

Wig Wag, 1970

Great one to end today’s journey. AKA the Curly Wurly, it was milk chocolate covered toffee, braided into about seven inches of serpentine temptation that was nothing less than biblical. I used to put them into the freezer and try to crunch the toffee before it melted. Pretty sure this was responsible for most of my childhood fillings. I have not seen one in years but would probably pay just about anything to have a five minute relationship with one. SOUR - 8.6

I hope this has spurred you to visit the snack cupboard, but if it has not, I will again attempt to tempt your sweet tooth with Volume III in the coming days.


Street Talk

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