This week, film critic Roger Ebert wrote an entry in his blog about how he can no longer eat or drink after four unsuccessful surgeries for his thyroid cancer. "That sounds sad," a reader wrote to him. "Do you miss it?" The piece was wonderfully written. Of course, I wondered if he'd mention candy in his entry, and yes, he did:
"Another surprising area for sharp memory is the taste and texture of cheap candy. Not imported chocolates, but Red Hots, Good and Plenty, Milk Duds, Paydays, Chuckles. I dreamed I got a box of Chuckles with five licorice squares, and in my dream I exalted: "Finally!" With Necco wafers, there again, the licorice were the best. The peculiar off-purple wafers were space-wasters. As a general rule in candy, if anything is black, red or green, in that order, I like it. This got carried so far one day I found myself googling White Hen-style candy with the mad idea of writing an entire blog entry on the subject. During visits to a Cracker Barrel I would buy paper bags filled with licorice, root beer, horehound and cinnamon drops. Searching for Black Jack gum, I found whole web sites devoted licorice in its many forms."I like how he pointed out that his memories are of "cheap" candy, not fancy chocolates. He hit the nail on the head. Think back to some of your favorite candy memories. No doubt you can conjure up something about wax bottles, satellite wafers, Bit-O-Honeys and the like. And consider: when was the last time you really thought about the candy you were eating? Did you really savor a candy cane over Christmas? Did you think about how it just tastes so ... Christmassy? How it has its own particular mint flavor, how it forms a sharp point when you suck on the end or gets stuck in your molars when you chomp down on it? Take some time today to "be one" with a piece of candy. Look at it, smell it, taste it. Appreciate it for what it is, because you never know when you'll get to try another piece again.