candy

I’m back with Katie Shafer, local candy expert and reviewer on Instagram, answering crucial questions about quality confections. (Click here to read Part 1.)

Katie, what are some old school candies you like that are still available but not typically found in grocery stores? By the way, I still have part of a Sugar Daddy from 1972 stuck between two of my molars if you'd like to see it.  

Old school candies are often overlooked, and that's so sad. There are some real winners out there.  Mary Janes (great texture), Bit O Honey (look what honey can do), Chick O Sticks, Wax Bottles (very fun), candy cigarettes (not tasty but so edgy), lemon drops (not lemon heads), Sky Bar (hard to find), Mallow Cups (again with the marshmallows), Bazooka Bubble gum (doesn't last long, but it's fun), candy necklaces (not super tasty, but lots of fun), and Astro pops (novel, fun, exciting) come to mind.   

What is a candy that is past due to retire? Basically, what is the Phil Collins, Cher, and KISS of candy?  

That’s easy--Fruity Tootsie Rolls.  

What is a candy that is not getting the credit it's due? Katie, you realize your endorsement here will have the same effect on sales as Oprah selecting a novel for her book club.  

Toffifay, no contest.  From presentation to flavor, it is an excellent candy.  

You’re a candy expert. You have your doctorate in candyology. Please explain nougat to us.  We hear that candy bars have it.  Candy bars also contain potassium sorbate, and we don't know what that is either.  But one mystery at a time-- what is nougat and which candy bar has the best of this magical substance? 

No one asks nougat, “What are you?”  Nougat just is.  Much the way we don't question the sun rising, or the DMV line growing, we don't question nougat.  Its greatest use is in Reese's Fast Break.  They took their classic peanut butter filling, turned into a nougat, and covered it in chocolate.  And angels sang at its release. It’s chewy, but not too chewy.  It's a little salty but cut with the sweet chocolate on the outside.  I recommend transcending life by indulging in this, the most underrated of candy bars.  

(I wish my wife and children spoke about me with even half the fondness by which Katie describes a Fast Break bar.) 

Katie, I heard that Brach’s just came out with Thanksgiving Dinner candy corn. I thought it had to be a joke, such as Adam Sandler winning an Oscar, but I Googled it, and not only does it exist, but stores can’t restock the shelves fast enough.  I understand that you hip-checked an elderly woman at Publix on Tuesday to get the last bag. Will your attorney let you comment?  

Sadly, I haven’t been able to try it, but I don’t even need to tell you it would be 1 out of 5 stars. Thanksgiving Dinner candy corn is just wrong! But I’ll try just about any candy, so if someone wants to gift me a bag, I’ll taste test it for them.  

Well, at $12 a bag, I wouldn’t hold your breath.  Sticking with the subject of questionable holiday candy, I understand that you are a super fan of those Easter yellow Peeps. Please explain; and also tell us at what age your taste buds apparently staged a revolt against goodness?  

Listen, Ramon, you either like marshmallows or you don't. So…   

Actually, I consider myself to be quite marshmallow tolerant. 

That’s very noble of you. But if you really liked marshmallows, you would clearly understand Peeps and their whimsical magic.  If you really don't like marshmallows, there is nothing I can do except silently judge you. I will add--if Peeps are so unpleasant and unpopular, who is buying them?  Cause I see a lot of Peeps in grocery store carts.  Just sayin'…   

Alright, Katie, I want to end here on a serious and profound note. What is your personal philosophy about chocolate?  

You will never be able to summarize its mysteries, contributions, and nuances in a single interview.  However, I will say that if you are going to buy chocolate, buy the best you can afford.  Among grocery store selections, the ranking goes like this (from low to high): Russell Stover, Whitman, Nestle, Hershey, Godiva, Ghirardelli, anything Canadian like Cadbury and Lindt.   

Wait, Canada has chocolate?  

Yes, really good chocolate. Canadian hockey isn’t what it used to be, but they’re making up for it with chocolate.  

So, good chocolate has the power to compensate for any setback or major disappointment in life. Is that what I hear you saying? 

Precisely. 

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Franklin, (www.ramonpressontherapy.com)  the author of multiple books, and a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He can be reached at [email protected].