I love candy. This isn’t some juvenile crush like the one I had on Donnie from The New Kids on the Block. Although, let it be known that I almost got in a fight in seventh grade at a NKOTB concert when the girl next to me had the audacity to tell me that she was going to marry Donnie. Lucky for her, they started singing Hangin’ Tough at that very moment. Otherwise, I might have had to scratch her eyes out or at the very least dump my soda on her Donnie t-shirt.
Anyway, back to candy. To say that I have a sweet tooth is like saying I’m tallish. All five feet eleven inches of me loves candy. I keep candy in my car, in my purse, in my filing cabinet at work, in the freezer, and of course the kitchen cupboard. Today as I munched on peanut M&M’s and chased them down with a few mini York peppermint patties, I started to ruminate, yes ruminate, on my favorite candies of all time. Here are my current top six, excluding holiday candies which are, of course, a category all their own.
6) York Peppermint Patties: The mini version of these are divine straight out of the freezer. Better yet, on top of a scoop of chocolate ice cream. The problem with these is that Terry likes them, too, and I am Very Bad At Sharing Candy.
5) Reese’s Bites: These are the far superior cousin to the peanut butter cup. The chocolate shell is just a touch waxy. If you bite into the chocolate, it cracks off and leaves a little round pearl of magical peanut butter perfection. These also increase in deliciousness when frozen.
4) Gobstoppers: I eat these in two’s, mostly while driving. I blame my previous car, a Subaru Forester, for my affinity for these little sugary marbles. In the driver’s side door there is a pocket that cradles the jumbo box of Gobstoppers perfectly. It’s like the designers of the Forester made that pocket for the express purpose of keeping that box upright. Pure genius, because let me tell you, it is tragic when a box of Gobstoppers empties itself in your car. For six months after the spill, Gobstoppers will roll under your feet at every moderately abrupt stop. So, making sure to keep the box upright, I pop one in each cheek and let them dissolve until they’re a tad chalky. When they reach that chalky state, they’re perfect for chewing, without chipping a tooth. Gobstoppers are also a great cycling candy. I like to dump them in a snack size Ziploc and carry them in my jersey pocket. Again, keeping them contained is a must. Two seasons ago I was straddling The Rocket at a stoplight, the perfect candy intermission, when the light changed to green sooner than I’d expected. I didn’t seal the bag completely and by the end of the ride, those babies were rolling around free and easy in my sweaty jersey pocket. All of the color had soaked into my jersey leaving little rainbow colored leopard spots. The only other downfall to Gobstoppers is that they’re a horrible movie candy. It is impossible to discreetly eat a box of Gobstoppers in the theater. Plus it is very embarrassing when you jump at a scary part of the movie and the box goes flying and Gobstoppers roll all the way down to the front row.
3) Sour Patch Kids: These are new to my favorite candy list. I tried them once a few years ago, but unfortunately I tried an old batch that had been exposed to the elements too long. The air had hardened them to an inedible state. At the urging of a friend, who is equally addicted to candy, I tried them again last year while riding somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. I was sweaty, tired, and running out of energy. A handful of Sour Patch Kids perked me right up and I was hooked. Sour Patch Kids have the added pleasure of being different colors so I can eat them until all the colors are even and then nibble them in turns. Sour Patch Kids don’t melt easily and they are in fact even better when they’re just a touch warm and a little bit soft. The downfall of The Kids is that they’re indeed sour and when eaten in mass quantities, you’re guaranteed to lose the top layer of taste buds. My husband has a friend who can’t turn down a dare. Terry dared him to ingest a spoonful of the sour white crystals left at the bottom of the bag of Sour Patch Kids. I swear he burned a hole in his esophagus, stomach lining, and intestines. I’ve never seen quite a pucker, nor such exquisite pain inflicted by an innocent candy. Way to go, Kids.
2) Mike & Ike’s: Ah, yes, my boyfriends, Mike and Ike. These are about as close to candy perfection as you can get. They are multi-colored for eating in evens, better when warm and soft, and not too loud for the movies. My dentist HATES that I eat these because I have terrible enamel and sticky candy is a big no-no. Unfortunately, my affection for Mike and Ike’s is not my worst offense when it comes to candy and my dentist. In high school and my first year of college I worked for my dentist, cleaning rooms, filing, answering phones, and whatever other odd jobs needed to be done. I worked there for three years and loved going to work every day. It’s rare to work for someone with a sense of integrity, humanity, and humor. My dentist has all three and years later I had the opportunity to fully appreciate his sense of humor. I ceased working at the dentist office to become a teacher. One day, shortly after Halloween, a student brought a mountain of Halloween candy to school and I’d offered to hold it until the end of the day. No, seriously, I wasn’t going to eat it. I’ll stoop pretty low when it comes to candy. I may eat a Gobstopper or two off the floor of my car, but in my book stealing candy from a kid is the kind of sin that would send me straight to hell. So, I’d shoveled my student’s candy in my pockets, but by the end of the day both of us had forgotten about it. That afternoon I rushed out of my classroom to make it to my dental appointment on time. After clipping that paper napkin thing around my neck, my dentist reclined the chair to look at my pearly whites. As the chair shifted back, my bulging pockets began to rain candy all over the examine room floor. It wasn’t just one or two pieces. It was deluge of candy that lasted a good seven or eight seconds. Go ahead and count out seven seconds. It’s a lot longer than you think. My dentist feigned outrage and we both began to laugh. Like a druggie caught with a stash I held up my hands and insisted “It’s not mine. Really, it’s not mine. I’m just holding it for someone.” This made my dentist laugh even harder and call all of the staff into the exam room to see the evidence splayed all over the floor. To this day, I don’t think my dentist believes that it wasn’t my candy, but I really can’t blame him. Now I’m careful to empty my pockets before each appointment. I just hope he doesn’t ever check my purse.
1) Peanut M&M’s: I can’t explain why, but Peanut M&M’s are the king of all candies in my book. Like my crush on Donnie, my affection for Peanut M&M’s isn’t at all rational. They make a terrible cycling candy, melting in thirty seven seconds. They are sure to cause dental peril when eaten frozen. They aren’t even uniform size. That means when I’m eating them I have to factor in color and size, eating the giant ones first, then the tiny ones, leaving the regular ones in happy even piles. Really, with a busy schedule like mine, I can’t afford candy that kind of time, but still I buy and savor Peanut M&M’s like it’s my job. Some things just can’t be explained, like the fact that NKOTB has reunited. This year I will be glued to the televised reunion tour while munching Peanut M&M’s and Sour Patch Kids and Mike & Ike’s and…