Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Loved or hated, candy corn is as Chicago as deep dish pizza

     This column was so much fun, I had trouble stopping—the first draft was twice as long as could fit into the paper. And still two essential aspects were left out: I had hoped to consider candy corn as an iconic design, an instantly recognizable image. And I wanted to point out that the hidden subtext of all the hate about candy corn online illustrates the frictionless, consequence-free toxicity of the internet. Next time.

     At least candy at Valentine’s Day makes sense. Love is sweet; you woo the object of your affection with a big heart-shaped box of chocolate.
     But what’s with Halloween? The ocean of candy ladled out Thursday to an army of children. Bribes? An echo of when Tom and Huck would soap your windows if you didn’t satisfy them after they rang your doorbell? Rewards? You did such a good job putting on that Spiderman mask that I’m giving you a Snickers?
     Controversies linger because they have depth, layers beneath the surface that sustain them over the years. For instance, I believe the whole you’re-not-a-Chicagoan-if-you-put-ketchup-on-your-hot-dog nonsense is not really about the mix of condiments atop a frank, but an unconscious parody of the get-off-my-block bigotry that Chicagoans used to casually exhibit. Can’t do that anymore but there are always hot dogs.
     Ditto for candy corn, the white, orange and yellow triangular treats that proliferate in October.
     For years the Internet has echoed with derision of candy corn. And not mild criticism. Full-throated condemnation.
     BuzzFeed’s 2013 list of “19 Things That Taste Better Than Candy Corn,” included chalk, urinal cakes and earwax.
     “Deodorant-flavored earwax nuggets,” Deadspin raged in 2014. “Wee little warhead-shaped misery pellets.”

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  1. Now candy corn can be found in part chocolate flavors, among some other varieties that improve it slightly.

  2. To me, the reactions to candy corn, Facebook, and ketchup on hot dogs are all manifestation of the same human quality: it’s not enough to accept that I dislike something while others like it. Those who like it have to be wrong, which means I’m right.

  3. You can count me in the crowd that is so certain that stuff is truly vile.
    But only once upon a time.

    I recently was handed a bowl of candy corn mixed with dried roasted peanuts.
    OMG! as the kids say.

    Life changing.

  4. The candy I love to eat, to hate. And wonder why..😂

  5. I think the problem with candy corn is that it must be 99% sugar and pure sugar isn't that much fun to eat, which also explains why mixing candy corn with peanuts is a more pleasurable experience.

    That solved, I'm intrigued that Neil would have so much to say about what is apparently such a insignificant issue. And will probably receive tons of comments as well. It's a strange, strange world.


  6. If you locked me in a room with a 55 gallon drum of candy corn, in one week the drum would be empty and I would be dead.

  7. I remember thinking of candy corn as a betrayal when trick or treating. We had a bag at home that Mom bought, so we already had plenty. I didn't want to get more. Snickers, Paydays, $100,000 bars, Butterfingers, Baby Ruths were on the agenda.

  8. My great-grandmother always had candy corn set out year round, in a certain cone shaped glass dish. It was the best when they were stale which the candy tended to be because it was in an open dish. My mom has the candy corn dish now, only candy corn goes into it, but they don't seem to go as stale as they used to. Maybe the recipe has changed.

    1. Nikki, Just curious. Why do you like stale candy corn better?

    2. It's the texture, stale ones had a bite to them that fresh candy corn doesn't. Completely different mouth feel. Maybe it's the way I was introduced to the candy, I first tried them stale, and I guess my brain and taste buds locked onto that as how candy corn is supposed to be.

  9. I LOVE candy corn! When we were kids we used to eat each color separately--first the yellow top, then the orange middle, then the white tip. Sometimes we would stick the white tips on our teeth like vampire fangs. I always thought the taste was like honey. It seems like they're basically fondant. Back in the 1980s Woolworth's used to have them in their nut and candy counter mixed with peanuts which were under a heat lamp, so they were warm and soft. Heavenly!

  10. Mister S. is right...candy corn does have a lot of similarities to the mouth feel of wax lips. And as for the racist get-off-my-block bigotry that Chicagoans "used to" casually exhibit, that sort of behavior is not exactly something out of the distant in point: Mount Greenwood, on Election Night in 2016.

    The powers-that-be prefer to sweep Chicago's century-old track record of hatred under the rug. When I commented on it, ABC News banned me from their website. Yes, that ABC News.

  11. My spouse loves it and we have to find it at certain stores, that are one of the few to carry it at other times of the year.


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