Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Best Laid Plans...

I must admit, I'm feeling a bit like Sally Brown after spending the night in the pumpkin patch with Linus. Here it is, Halloween night, All Hallows Eve, Hallo'een, and I'm sitting at the computer, drinking a glass of wine and eating a stale Russell Stover Coconut Cream Pumpkin while my little Henri, my perfect excuse for trick-or-treating, is asleep in his crib after crying the entire day. I had such plans! We were going to go downtown to the "Trick-or-Treat on Safety Street," then to my parents', my brother's, the church (to get one of Fr. John's full-sized candy bars) and maybe to visit a few friends. But alas, Henri in all his monkey-costumed glory decided that today would be the day when he turned evil. So here I sit, just happy that he's fallen asleep and praying that no teenagers decide to ring my doorbell even though the light is off. God help the uncostumed teenager that wakes my snoozy monkey. Ah, well, there's always next year.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Holy candy!

This is great. I was just reading the bulletin from my parents' church and here's what Father John had to say about Halloween:

Help me with something: Every year some friends of mine and I gather at the rectory to celebrate the holiday and hand out some candy. The first year I was here, there were only four trick-or-treaters and I was so disappointed! Almost every year, the count has gone up, but we've never made it into triple digits. (One year was achingly close at ninety-nine!)
So let's break 100 this year. I've done my part: we're talking Snickers, Hershey's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Nestle Crunch, Butterfingers, just to drop a few names-- and all in regular size bars. Because I am a man of hope, I have 167 of them waiting in the pantry.
I dare you: on Halloween, make me run out to the gas station for more!

Yeehah! We'll be there Father John!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

We interrupt our regular Halloween coverage to bring you this little tidbit.
So, a couple of years ago I made it my goal to attend the All-Candy Expo in Chicago. You know it-- that big trade show that's always featured on the Food Network. I used my press connections to get a press pass and used my frequent flier miles for the plane ticket and hotel. It was the highlight of my year but I never got to write about it because all sorts of stuff happened that prevented me from doing it justice. Anyhow, the most interesting person I met there was this dude Dr. Wolpa who is a podiatrist by day, but a candy entrepreneur by night. Specifically, he makes candy with foot and toe themes. His website? www.toefood.com. I kid you not. Talk about the ultimate foot fetish. His company makes chocolate feet, gummy feet, all sorts of ped treats. Weird? Yeah, a little. But hey, you've gotta love a doctor that loves candy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

How do YOU eat candy corn?

I don't think I've ever bought a bag of candy corn for myself. I have some every year, but I always seem to get it from other sources, particularly my mother's candy jar. I really like it, but it's just not one of those things that I think, "I have to have some RIGHT NOW!"
Why corn, though? It doesn't really look like corn. But it is fun to eat. Oh sure, you can just slam a handful in your mouth. But if you're a true aficianado, there are other methods, such as nibbling off one layer at a time. (If you're a layer-nibbler, then there's the question of which kind of candy corn you prefer: the orange, yellow and white or orange, brown and white.) Then there's the type of person who just can't resist jamming two corns into their teeth and making like Dracula or a walrus.
I think the best way to eat candy corn, though, is on a cupcake from a grade-school bakesale. A yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting and a single candy corn on top. Huzzah!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Halloween Hierarchy

Maslow had his hierarchy of needs. I have my hierarchy of Halloween. There's no getting around it-- some candies are just better than others.

Bottom of the barrel: If you want your house to get egged, there's no better way than to give out apples or raisins. Does anyone seriously give this stuff out anymore?
Also, anything that can't be eaten because of the likelihood of poisoning, such as loose candy corn, Smarties, Dum Dums or Hershey's Kisses.

Second tier:
That nasty peanut butter taffy wrapped in orange and black wax paper.
Any of that Boyer pseudo-chocolate crap.

Third tier:
Necco wafers. I will say, though, that these have great value for playing First Communion and a good trade with kids who've never had them before. I remember babysitting when I was in high school and the brother and sister were fighting over the Necco wafers in their Trick or Treat bags. I asked them if they had even tried them before and they hadn't. This was obvious, as the boy was willing to trade his Mr. Goodbars for the wafers. Bad trade.
Any predominately caramel candies, like Milk Duds or Sugar Babies

Fourth tier:
This is where it starts to get tricky. This category is reserved for those things that are pretty yummy, but are of lesser value than other goodies, such as:
Three Musketeers

Fifth tier:
Milky Ways
Hershey bars
Mr. Goodbar

Cream of the Crop:
Kit Kats
Nestle Crunch
Baby Ruth
Almond Joy

Big-time bonus points for:
Full-sized candy bars (any type)
Little bags of assorted goodies
Quarters or dollars
Cracker Jacks
Mallo Cups

How does your Halloween Hierarchy measure up?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Do Ham and Cheese Sandwiches Come in "Fun Size"?

And now, some fun memories from Betsy of Stamford, Connecticut:

Here are my favorite halloween memories...
... almost as fun as halloween itself... the night before where we rang the neighbor's doorbell at least a dozen times, called out derogatory remarks about the kid down the street and tried to scare Mrs. Worth as she walked her dog Cobber around the block.
... the excitement of rushing through dinner cause you knew you could get dressed right after and your friends would be waiting to run door-to-door around the neighborhood and up to the rich people's houses near the sheep field.
... one year, dressing as a mouse and collecting candy for my brothers and older sister who all had the chicken pox
... waiting at the back of a pack of kids while they received quarters, only to get to the front in time for the wife to rush up with ham & cheese sandwiches that she threw together since they ran out of candy and were quickly running out of quarters!!
Happy Halloween!

New and improved!

Yes, the look of Candy Yum Yum is changing. A big chocolately Hershey's Kiss to Jeanna over at Wisconsin Candy Dish for helping me figure out how to post links on here. Hey, I never said I was techno-savvy.
And just to whet your appetite: lots of fun stuff coming up! More Halloween stories and a review of a special candy bar sent to me by my friend Kris in Hawaii.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Halloween Heroics

Thanks to everyone who's sent me their favorite Halloween memories. It's been so much fun reading about all your experiences. I'm going to start posting some of the responses I've gotten. Here's a great story from Diana in Massachusetts:

When I was maybe 10 or 11 and nearing the end of my trick-or-treating lifespan, I decided to upgrade my candy-holding vessel. Screw the plastic pumpkin -- my 8-year-old brother and I got pillowcases. We'd seen other (bigger, brawnier) kids use pillowcases, and we figured we'd get more candy this way. We mapped out our strategy, started knocking early, and by 7:30 or so, we both had pillowcases heavy with Reeses, snack bags of candy corn, Baby Ruths, mini Marathon bars (remember those?) and lollypops that would last us till December. Then, the unthinkable happened. My brother got candyjacked. Yep, some little turkeys came blowing by on his bike and ripped my brother's pillowcase out of his hand. We both stood there, our mouths gaping, the sound of the kids' gleeful laughter bouncing off parked cars as he careened down the street. Then God interceded. The kid lost his balance and fell off the bike. Now, I was a total candy addict, as well as a quick thinker. As my brother stood next to me, starting to whimper, I realized that a. I'd have to share my haul with him now and b. I was pissed. The anger and indignation rose in my chest as I thought about how much hard work had gone into collecting all that candy. And now some little punk would be snacking on my brother's blood, sweat, and sucrose at my expense? I don't think so. I was something of a little track star as a kid, all legs and energy. Before the punk could get off the ground, I was on him, alternately scratching his face up and pulling his hair (such a girl fighter!) and grabbing the pillowcase away from him. I was also screaming every horrible obscenity my 10-year-old self could muster, stuff like, "You wimp! You're so GAY for stealing candy from a little kid, you RETARD!" The fear coming off the downed candysnatcher was nearly palpable. He released his claim on my brother's candy, pushed me off him, and jumped on his bike. My brother ran over, crying and screaming, "You got it? You got my candy?" That night was a shining moment in sister/brother relations. My brother wrapped the top of his bag around one wrist, held onto my arm with his other hand, and every few minutes or so would say, "I think he was crying," or "I bet he never had a girl beat him up." We got home and my brother, admiringly, relayed the story to my parents. Best of all, he gave me all his Reeses that year.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Okay, so I tried the Hershey's with Corn Bits and believe it or not, it's really yummy! It's similar to crisped rice, like a Nestle's Crunch, only the bits are smaller and crunchier. But I have to say, I don't think it's going to do very well with that name. It makes me think of corn niblets covered in chocolate. Yuck. If I named it, I'd call it something like Hershey's with Krispee Krunchees.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fruit Fiesta

I had two fruity finds this weekend, one good, one bad. First the good.
We went out for sushi and when the waitress gave us our check, she also gave us two little boxes of Marukawa Orange Bubble Gum. Now, I'm not a gum person, but I have to say, this stuff was really good. The orange flavor was bright, juicy and tangy and lasted a long time. The gum itself was soft and good for blowing bubbles. I wonder where I can get some more? It was definitely worth trying, even for a non-gum-chewer.
Now the bad. Tic Tac Limited Edition Big Box Fruit Festival. Ick. This was a big box of Tic Tacs that look so fruitylicious-- red, orange, green and yellow. But the problem is, they're fruit AND mint combined. So gross. I was expecting them to taste like the Tic Tacs of my youth-- the orange ones that had the really fake, but palatable, orange flavor. And does anyone remember the Tic Tac competitor in the horizontal box? I think they were called Dynamints. Am I right?

Friday, October 06, 2006

More than just kielbasa!

Two friends recently returned back to the U.S. from their trip to Poland this summer. They brought me back a box of candy which says "marshmallow with strawberry jam" in English. Here we go again with the marshmallow. In these little rectangles, the marshmallow is more of a custardy-type of substance, more moist than fluffy. The strawberry jam part is nice-- it gives them a little zip. There are about 8,000 pieces of candy in the box. I think I'll be eating these forever.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Treasure Hunt!

The good folks over at Nestle want to spread the word about a new promotion they're doing. It's actually pretty groovy. It's a treasure hunt and there's lots of prizes, including free candy bars. Check it out at: www.nestletreasurequest.com.
To celebrate, I'm having the first-ever Candy Yum Yum giveaway. All you have to do is send me an e-mail about Halloween: your favorite candy, your best costume, great memories, whatever. I'll randomly pick three people to receive an assortment of Nestle Crunch, Baby Ruth and Butterfingers. (U.S. residents only please. I'm not made of money.)
And speaking of Nestle, let's talk about Baby Ruths for a moment. I've decided that they're totally undervalued. I usually gravitate toward Snickers when I want a peanut/caramel/chocolate bar, and I often forget about Baby Ruth. That's sad, because Baby Ruths are really good. The peanuts are big and the nougat is a little sweeter. Very yum.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Well that was easy

I went to the pharmacy the other day to buy an accordion folder in a lame attempt to organize my life. They were all out of them. Apparently other people have the same clutter issues that I do. Anyhow, as I was perusing the Halloween candy aisle, I turned to my left and there, like manna from heaven, was a box of Coffee Crisps! Hallelujah! I enjoyed this one with a glass of wine the other night. I think the beauty of the Coffee Crisp is that it's very subtle. It doesn't scream "JAVA!" Instead, it's like a crispety chocolate bar with a scent, a whiff, an angel's kiss of coffee. Delish.
In the same shopping spree, I also bought a few other bars. Now I know, I know, I recently ranted about how I hate the Special Edition candy bars. But I did give in and buy a Hershey's Special Dark Espresso and a Kit Kat Chocolate Mocha. Also, I bought a big Hershey's Milk Chocolate that contains "Crisp Corn Bits." Huh?? I have no idea what that is. Crumbled up Fritos or Bugles? Chopped up popcorn? I have no idea. I can't wait to report on that one. And last but not least, a Russell Stover Coconut Cream Pumpkin. I've never been a huge fan of coconut, but when I was pregnant I got addicted to the Coconut Cream eggs at Easter. We'll see if it still offers the same appeal.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Boston Brouhaha

The National Confectioner's Association named Boston as the Trick or Treat City of the Year. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/10/01/invented_here_boston_leads_us_in_halloween_observance/
Yay! Go New England! My big fear is that trick-or-treating is dying out. Where I live in Connecticut we get about 30 kids every year, but I'd say about half of them don't show up in costume, which is why every year I have a special "treat" just for them. Last year it was rancid granola bars, the year before it was tea bags. This year it'll probably be the box of Weight Watchers chocolate cakes that I just bought. Foolish me-- I thought they might actually be edible instead of tasting like powdered aluminum.