According to an article you may have already seen in the New York Times this week, candy sales are up! Sure, the economy is in the gutter and unemployment is rising, but people seem to be handling it with a veritable spoonful of sugar. And, they say, there’s some historic precedent to this sort of sweet salvation—citing evidence that during and after the depression was when some of the most popular candy varieties really took off.
While I must say that these sorts of trendy, silver-lining-to-a-bad-economy stories are getting a bit annoying (and can feel fairly thin), I will admit that read this candy piece with a special interest. After all: I’m the first to admit that I have a huge sweet tooth. I’ve been a bit better lately about reining in my sugar consumption, but I can mark nearly every few years of my life with a different candy obsession.
As a really little kid, I virtually inhaled Hershey’s Kisses by the bag, with nary a thought to fat, sugar, or diet. At summer camp in my tweens I lived for Pop Rocks—because it was considered "gum" we were allowed to receive it in the mail. I went crazy for Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids in high school. (I happen to love the Swedish Fish slogan: "A Friend You Can Eat." Umm, really??) Dots, gumdrops (a.k.a. spice drops) and jellybeans were a constant throughout my childhood and remain so today. In college I favored the extra large-sized Swedish fish in rainbow colors you could find at the campus variety story. I studied for many exams with a bag of those fishes by my side.
Now that I’m rolling, here’s my all-time Top Five Favorite Candies—Desert Island must-haves, if you will. (Note: this list was HARD to make! A veritable Sophie’s Choice for this sugar fiend.)
1. Necco Wafers (Yes, those odd, chalky disks in the white tubular wrapper are catnip to me. Sometimes hard to find, but so worth it.)
2. A tie! Between two Valentine’s Day-related candies: Red Hots and Conversation Hearts (also from Necco)
3. Easter-season jellybeans—meaning, the bigger ones in just a handful of flavors/colors, not the small Jelly Belly ones. Sometimes they are called "Jelly Eggs".
4. "Aussie" licorice—meaning, the soft variety that is harder to find than the usual Twizzler sort, but SO addictive. Comes in several flavors, but I like the ‘red’ (strawberry? cherry?) kind.
5. Those good-old silver foil-wrapped Hershey Kisses!
So, putting aside health and diet for a second—because, let’s face it, a bucket of corn syrup doused with food coloring ain’t doing anyone any good—what candies make your teeth ache? (In a good way.) What are your top five favorite candies?