According to the NRF, in 2014 Americans spend 2.2 billion dollars on candy.
I’ve always loved candy, had a sweet tooth for it. After twenty-some-odd years of an untainted image, it was a root canal that did it for me. It was mostly due to my failure to floss and brush twice a day. But my love of candy was a contributor.
I will eat most candies, but my fidelity is primarily to gummies. Hard candies take too long to consume, offer only a little at a time, and hurt the teeth. Chocolate melts too quickly and is too rich, almost in the category of “dessert,” not candy. Gummies can be consumed in any way you desire. You can suck on them, chew them fervently, bite them in half (vertically or horizontally), bite them into different sections of multi-colored gummi, lick all the sugar off, eat one alone, or two or three at a time (maybe five. I’ve done it). And the surface contact alone–the slightly rigid outer covering of any gummi is truly different from the inner gumminess. Rich and sticky and robust, yet sweet, and sometimes a little sour. Swedish fish, peach rings, gummi bears, sour bears, those frogs, those sharks, those root beer bottles. Hot tamales. Fruit snacks are a cousin who tries to dress up as a “snack.”
When I eat these gummy candies and their fruit snack cousins, I have a caste system. Yellow are the peasants. Green and orange bye for proletariat status. Red, blue and purple compete to be the king. It all depends on the specific candy.
Anyway, enough about gummies.
I am part of a nation with the same obsession. Over half the year is candy season. We deceptively label as “the holidays” that month of December (and part of November). We we may someday refer to as “the holidays” is actually the season of candy–the months from October to April. Between Halloween and Easter, we obsess over candy, and if you’re like me, you always have candy somewhere in the house during these non-summer months.
Halloween’s candy giveaway ushers in this season, its own harvest of sugar in heaping bags carried by children like Victorian poor-house workers about to lose a finger in factory machinery. Alongside the sweet feast of Thanksgiving chocolate turkeys and candy corn sneak their way into the crannies of kitchens. Christmas stockings are hung with varied sugar, candied nuts and popcorn fill the streets, and office party brownies sit on snowman plates from town to town. Add in a New Year‘s bottle of sparkling champagne. Valentine’s Day reprises with chocolate and hearts. You may find St. Patty’s Day with a green sucker, but beer has its own sugar content. Easter dispenses the final chocolate, mallow, jelly and grass in our baskets, a grand finale to the season of candy we have constructed.
The Hallowed Eve ushers the candy, the resurrection tops it off. Halloween Jack and Easter Bunny are herald and harbinger of the never-ending sugar time. I never run out of candy until May. This is why I have had three root canals.
Then there’s diabetes. That runs in the family.