It’s time to get down to business, candy season is upon us
Normally my column is about politics or COVID-19 or social issues, but these are all tame compared to what we need to tackle today. Yes, folks, we have to talk about candy.
We are entering the candy season. Like the basketball season, it never really ends, but it really picks up in October and continues through spring. The three big candy festivals, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter, are the star events.
I am a big fan of candy corn. (This columnist is hiding because of the number of nasty emails that are being written even now.) And I hate Peeps. (This columnist is now searching online for bulletproof vests to buy, as Peeps supporters are notoriously vicious.) But it’s the jelly candy that really wins my heart or my stomach.
Jelly Beans are a lot like Forrest Gump’s legendary box of chocolates – you never know what you’re getting until you bite one. And let me tell you, especially for those of you who are not jelly candy lovers, there are a wide variety of qualities and you need to know your craft to avoid serious disappointments.
First off, if you’re in a gas station style convenience store and find a bag of jelly beans for 99 cents, don’t. I’m serious. Bad. (This columnist did this yesterday and is still trying to get rid of the disappointment and the aftertaste.) Of course, there are high end jelly beans. You can go to some stores and buy them by the pound, but only if you have a direct line to the Fort Knox gold reserve.
How did a pound of jelly beans come to require refinancing of their mortgage? The world, as a popular pop-pop ad once said, may never know. That’s not to say these jelly beans aren’t good, but at this price point, I feel like I should be eating steak. And how did steak become the healthiest and cheapest option?
So that narrows down the field to grocery store jelly beans. Now, don’t promote any particular grocery chain or store, as I really haven’t tasted the selection of jelly beans from all the stores, but I have a favorite. I don’t taste every jelly candy I find because I like my waistline at least a little bit, but this is a store with a huge selection of store branded candy. (This columnist would really like to mention the grocery store in hopes of getting a lifetime supply of their jelly beans, but since I just finished a class on newsroom ethics, I wisely step away. of the keyboard.)
Instead, let me describe said jelly bean. It has a candy shell thick enough to provide excellent sweet treats, but not thick enough to test jaw muscles or break your teeth. Then the jelly center does not crumble. It’s more gelatin than jelly, but the gelatin center is firm and a bit chewy. And this particular store doesn’t have those horrible black jelly beans in their bags. (This columnist now dials 911 to request 24-hour police surveillance, as the licorice crowd is known to quickly form crowds and riots. This columnist dreads seeing pitchforks and torches outside his door.)
This same store also sells the best sweet corn. I have nothing against branded sweet corn, except it’s a little too waxy. Very sweet corn candy is solid, but when it sits on the tongue, it begins to crumble instead of dissolving. There is a sweet spot where it’s the perfect balance between the crumbly texture and the more industrialized texture of the brand.
Oh, and then there’s the candy corn pumpkins, oh my god. I love myself candy corn pumpkins. I walk into the store and have to put myself in a straitjacket as I approach the candy aisle. (This columnist notes that some emails have been written in the past suggesting a straitjacket, but on unrelated matters. This columnist suddenly hopes that there aren’t any Donald Trump-shaped candies on the market or he knows he will be castigated by Trump candy lovers.)
And no candy column could be complete without mentioning chocolate. I made stories about a popular local chocolatier and almost went into spasms of joy. Just the aroma in it is enough to make me gain 5 pounds. But of all the candies, chocolate is the king. Give me white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, high density super cocoa chocolate without sweetener. I don’t care, don’t stand between me and the chocolate. Things could go wrong if this happens.
(This columnist now plans to revise the column to lead with chocolate, dismisses the idea and instead tries to find his car keys and checks his bank account as a major assault on the candy aisles looms. This columnist decides. inform the police of an impending chocolate emergency and request an escort at the chocolate factory.)
Gary Cosby Jr. is The Tuscaloosa News photo editor. Readers can email him at [email protected]