Candies and sweets have a rich world history.
Here in America, Grandparents were famous for having a bowl of hard candy in the house. There doesn't seem to be an expiration date on those things. Round wrapped pieces of butterscotch in yellow, gold wrapped caramel, spearmint and peppermint in clear wrap dominated my grandparents' house, along with faux strawberry hard pieces filled with a soft strawberry paste inside. These came in red and green wrappers and seemed to be my Grandma's favorite. "Aren't they good?" she would ask, smiling and nodding. I liked them. My sisters didn't.
My older sister didn't seem to have any candy preferences that I'd ever heard spoken. She liked chocolate. My younger sister (I only had the one at the time) loved Three Musketeers Bars. Give a nickel and that's what she bought.
My sister has always been sort of my eating counter balance. Whereas I ate everything, she had a list of acceptable foods. Cheerios or toast was okay for breakfast for her but nothing else, except pancakes. No eggs, though, unless they were scrambled. No foods could touch one another on her plate, either.
At Halloween my sisters and I went through a swapping ritual. My little sister traded everything for Three Musketeers. My Mom had a preference for Fifth Avenue and Butterfingers. My sisters didn't like these and gave them to Mom. I shared my with Mom but frankly, like pie and ice cream, there's not a flavor I don't like. I'm not a very discriminate eater when it comes to taste.
I developed preferences as I grew older. My favorite candy bar would be Payday. This is a salty nut and caramel concoction. While I don't know what my older sister likes in candy bars, she and my younger sister share disdain in my preference for this candy bar that didn't even have chocolate. So does my wife.
Seasons change, and so do I, as did my candy tastes. The chocolate desire remained but with marriage, my wife and I moved from candy bars to boxes of chocolates. That was greatly enhanced by my wife's employment in Germany, as a Godiva Chocolate store manager. See, when the chocolates are expired, they must be removed. They often were removed to our home or friends' homes for safe disposal.
Of course being exposed to Godiva twisted our tastes. We discovered how delicious dark chocolates could taste. (Germany twisted our tastes about beer, wine, cheese, chocolate, cars, history and architecture. I guess it was because we were just in our thirties so we were young and impressionable.)
We brought our tastes back and our stateside favorites became See's Candies. We have a sport of creating a custom box. What's great about making up a box at See's Candies is that they will give you samples of everything. "What's that one, you wondered aloud," reading the description.
"Would you like to sample one?" they ask.
"Yes, but I've had nine samples already."
"Here, have another."
My wife developed a fondness for dark chocolate with maple. I developed a fondness for everything. She's much fussier about her chocolates. When we buy a box that's already made up, she'll go through and taste things, taking a nibble. My mother had a similar habit, not of taking a nibble, but of poking a fingernail in the chocolate's bottom to see what's inside it.
Besides the maples, my wife likes peanut butter, caramel, coconut, and mint. When we get a box, she'll often go through and pull her favorites, leaving me with the rest. She gets the quality, I get the quantity.
While on an errand last night, I indulged in an urge and bought a Mounds bar. This is a dark chocolate and coconut confection. They're high on my list. Here's my top 10:
- Baby Ruth
- Butterfinger (introduced to me by Mom)
- Peppermint Patty
- Cinnamon Gummi Bears
- Almond Joy
- Three Musketeer
I don't know what the rest of America or the world eats. I was surprised by how sweet the Mounds was. My god, what a sugar rush. Very nauseating, through every bite.
We, like our grandparents, keep a bowl of hard candy on hand in the living room. It's for company. Every once in a while, one of us will want something sweet and venture to the bowl to see what can be found but we don't do that often.
All the good stuff is already gone.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com