Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2007: A Year of Characters and Mixing Candy with Religion

Hey Yumsters, here's another step back in time to 2007. What happened to 2006, you ask? The Sugar Baby happened, that's what. For an entire year I subsisted on grapefruits and donuts. (That was when I could actually eat, which was rare.)

Pictured above, the cake from the first official Wombat Day celebration, October 2007.


Father John has sent in this update on Halloween '07:

I am VERY happy to tell you that the grand total of trick-or-treaters was 155 kids, 9 adults, and 1 poodle! (Last year, 109 kids, 7 adults, and no poodles at all...)
[Editor's Note 2009: Here's the first mention of Mr. Goodbar]
Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Brian (Mr. "I-don't-like-Pay Days-Oh-wait-I-love-them") decided to catch up on my blog last night.
"Why does Mark get a cool nickname but I don't?" he said. Sigh.
"Fine," I said. "You want a nickname? I shall call you Mr. Goodbar."
There's no particular reason for that, but it did get me thinking about the very underrated candy bar. Think about it: when was the last time you went into the drug store or supermarket and actually bought a Mr. Goodbar? And no, the bag of Hershey Miniatures doesn't count.

(Let me digress here for a moment and talk about the Miniatures. The mix contains Hershey's milk chocolate, Special Dark, Krackel and Mr. Goodbar. I believe that each person has his or her own hierarchy of how they eat these. Here's mine: Special Dark, Krackel tied with Mr. Goodbar and then the milk chocolate. Here's how I eat them: I quarantine the Special Darks, because they're just in a category of their own. Then I eat the rest on a rotation: Krackel, then milk, then Mr. Goodbar, then milk, and so on. If there are milk ones left, and there usually are, I save them for eating with peanut butter. I wonder, is there any such person that actually DOESN'T sort out the Miniatures? A person that simply puts his or her hand into the bag and eats whatever they get? I don't think I'd like that person.)

So back to Mr. Goodbar. It's so simple: peanuts and chocolate. But it's so delicious. According to the Hershey site, Mr. Goodbar was developed in 1925 and in 1992, the formula was changed to include more peanuts.

Like the Chuckles jingle, I often have the Mr. Goodbar song going through my head. I don't really know the words, but in my mind, it goes like this: "Mr. Goodbar, peanuts and chocolate wherever you bite, peanuts and chocolate wherever you bite ..." I'll have to Google that and see if it's real or if it's just another candy delusion.

Anyhow, I fear for Mr. Goodbar. It's not as mainstream as a Snickers, or as sexy as a Whatchamacallit. Will it stand the test of time? I hope so, because it really is a Good Bar.


[Editor's Note 2009: The following is a rare sad candy story]

Candy Blues
Prepare yourself, Dear Reader, for I'm about to tell you a heartbreakingly sad story about candy. Get the tissues ready.

I was talking to my friend June yesterday and, as is the norm with me, our conversation turned to candy and nostalgia, but I was completely unprepared for her tale of woe. Here's the beast she unleashed:

She was little, maybe 10 years old, and she got her first "job" to shovel the walk. The house was on a corner, so there was a lot of sidewalk to shovel. When she finally finished, she was given $10."I went right to the store and bought $10 worth of candy," she said."What kind of candy?" I asked, licking my chops."All kinds of candy. Everything. Pixy Stix. Dubble Bubble. Lots of chocolate." She said she was so happy, so excited to have so much candy. And then ... and then ...Word of her purchase got to her mother. "She made me return all of it," said June. "Not only was I sad that I didn't have any candy, but I was mortified that she made me go back to the store and return it all."June didn't have the chance to even sneak one Bit o' Honey or caramel bullseye. Clearly the incident has scarred her forever. And who could blame her? I'm devastated and it didn't even happen to me. What a sad day, indeed.

*** Pictured above, my all-time favorite photo of the Sugar Baby trying to open a package of Newman's Own Organic Peanut Butter Cups

[Editor's Note 2009: Attention all publishers: the following manuscript is still available. Have your people call my people.]

The next Caldecott winner
The first official Candy Yum Yum! poll has closed and the results are in. Your favorite childhood summer candy is: PIXY STIX! Yay! They beat out wax bottles by one vote. So I declare today the official Candy Yum Yum Pixy Stix Day.

On the other end of the spectrum, no one voted for the lowly Circus Peanut. I feel like I need to give comfort to this misunderstood candy. I thought about writing a poem, but my creativity has been inhibited by too much wine last night and not enough sleep. Since I'm pretty up on my children's literature, though, I've decided to write a story. Envision this as a board book, with bright pictures.

Who Will Share My Circus Peanuts?

Lucky Henri! He has a bag of Circus Peanuts.

Henri is a good boy, so he wants to share his candy with someone.

"Daddy, do you want a Circus Peanut?"

"No way!" says Daddy. "I hate those things!"

"Mommy, do you want a Circus Peanut?"

"No thank you, Henri. I'm busy eating this Goldenberg's Peanut Chew."
"Who will share my Circus Peanuts?"

"Well," thought Henri. "It is shaped like a peanut. Maybe Mr. Elephant would like one."

"Mr. Elephant, would you like a Circus Peanut?"

"Why sure, little Henri, I'll try one. Yuck! These taste like banana. I don't like banana. Why don't you give one to Mr. Monkey."

"Mr. Monkey, would you like a Circus Peanut?"

"I'll try one, Little Henri. Yuck! These are chewy! I don't like chewy!"

"Who will share my Circus Peanuts?" cried Henri. And then he had an idea.

"Grandma, will you share my Circus Peanuts?"

"Of course, Little Henri. They're my favorite!"And so Grandma and Henri sat on the porch and shared a bag of Circus Peanuts.


Thursday, July 19, 2007
Why I'm not a Buddhist
Brian's reading some crazy-ass Buddhism book called "Sit Down and Shut Up" by Brad Warner. He pointed out this gem to me. An early writing by Dogen (from like 1100 A.D. or some such time) lists proscriptions for students studying Buddhism. Here they are, with my comments:

Don't read or chant too much. Reading, I don't do too much. Chanting, not a problem.
Don't overwork. Okay, if you insist.
Don't eat onions. Seriously, I eat onions practically every day. But I suppose I could give them up.
Don't eat meat. I do eat meat, but I've been a vegetarian before and could do it again.
Don't drink too much milk. I never drink milk.
Don't drink alcohol. Oh boy. This is dangerous territory. I could probably do it, but it would suck.
Don't eat too many olives. No prob. I hate olives.
Don't eat fungi. Eh, it won't kill me to give up the occasionally stuffed mushroom.
Don't watch dancing women. My eyes! My eyes!
Don't pay attention to matters of fortune and fame. Probably good advice.
Don't be associated with eunuchs or hermaphrodites. As far as I know, I'm not. But really, we shouldn't discriminate.
Don't have too much candy. WHAT???? WHAT???? Sorry dude, I'm out. Buddhism ain't the way for me.

And so, the path has been chosen for me. Call me a heretic, but candy comes first over the seven-fold path.

(Just so you don't think I'm a complete heathen, I am easily able to follow one of the next rules: Don't stare at the ocean, bad pictures, hunchbacks or puppets.)


[Editor's Note 2009: And here, the first mention of the Baron]

Thursday, July 12, 2007
Notes from the field: Five a Day
Brother-in-law et al arrived safely in Germany. Mark (who from here on out shall be referred to as Baron von Schokolat) only managed to lose two passports in the process. Way to go! Anyhow, once the passports were retrieved, the von Schokolats hit the pavement looking for chocolatey goodness. Here's what he has to report:Thought you might like to know this. In Europe, you can get your daily fruit intake and still have chocolate. We went into Hussels Candy Store in Bonn and had our daily fruit intake. It just happened to be hand-dipped in milk chocolate. We all tried them. Mixed opinions, but let's just say the group agreeded [sic] that chocolate improved the taste. Apparently they had mango, banana, orange, apricot and melon. Mmmm. Sounds so yummy.

Acceptable and Not Acceptable Candy Yum Yum combinations:

Chocolate and ...

Peanut butter: yay

Mustard: nay

Raspberry: yay

Beets: nay

Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla: yay

Black pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, lavender and/or dill: nay

Marshmallow: yay

Mayonnaise: nay

Nuts: yay

Beans: nay (except, of course, cocoa beans and coffee beans)

Cheese: yay

Chalk: nay

Potato chips: yay

Wood chips: nay

There you have it. 2007 in Yum Yum Land. Stay tuned for 2008...

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