Tag Archives: candy

31 Days of Junk: Pumpkin Patch Orange Pop Rocks (#11)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I was on my third glass of wine (2014 Syrah, Gainey Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley) when I remembered I hadn’t eaten my #31DaysOfJunk candy for the day. Suddenly, I was struck with a bit of a dilemma: what candy would pair well with a wine that features flavors like dark fruit, chocolate, and black pepper?

I would have gone with some Hershey’s Miniatures—they probably would’ve been pretty perfect, in fact—but I’ll be danged if I didn’t already review them earlier in the week. My other options included sour things, marshmallowy things, and a few candy corn/mellowcreme style treats—none of which really called out to me and my purple tongue.

I eventually decided on Pumpkin Patch Orange Pop Rocks. For whatever reason, I felt the zip and effervescence of the ‘rocks would pair nicely with the juicy, big flavor of this delicious goddamn wine I’m currently in the middle of drinking.

And pair well I think they did. Look, you can never really go wrong with Pop Rocks. Their packaging is great (gotta love bright colors on a black background) and the product itself is pure magic: it feels like you’re eating carbonated moon dust or something.

The flavor here isn’t anything out of the ordinary—straight-up orange. And the thing about Pop Rocks is the flavor is never overpowering. It’s present, but the main draw is the popping action. That’s what you come from, that’s what takes center stage. So the subtle flavoring made it a good choice to pair with this wine. Have I mentioned how delicious it is? Seriously, if you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara County along the 1, I highly recommend stopping by one of their many wineries. So many great wines out there!

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31 Days of Junk: Trader Joe’s Candy Corn Popcorn (#9)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Quick: what does candy corn taste like? Tastes like…candy corn, right?

To me, candy corn isn’t a flavor but an experience. What candy corn is supposed to taste like is secondary to the actual act of eating the candy corn.

The semi-gloss surface giving way to a soft, waxy body with each tiny bite–starting with the white tip, or perhaps from the other end. Or by the palmful, letting the little triangular pieces sit in your mouth, your tongue examining the smoothness of each side, over and over.

Candy corn is seasonal, so just seeing them–before you even eat them–can illicit feelings of fall. Images of grey afternoons and wet sidewalks, red and yellow leaves, comfy sweaters and gathered family, all are conjured up just by looking at the little tri-colored candies.

Or how a freshly opened bag simply smells of confection, sweet and soft, unspecific–but somehow specific to candy corn.

So to say something is “candy corn-flavored” is to take away the aspects of what makes candy corn candy corn. Because really, candy corn doesn’t have a unique flavor. Jelly Belly has said that the flavor is “a blend of creamy fondant, rich marshmallow and warm vanilla notes”. So essentially, birthday cake. Candy corn tastes like birthday cake.

And it’s true: Trader Joe’s Candy Corn Popcorn tastes exactly like yummy, buttery birthday cake. The colored corn helps sell the idea, but ultimately, nothing can replicate the experience of eating actual candy corn.

Still, the popcorn is delicious, and this little bag didn’t stand a chance. If you like kettle corn, or caramel corn, or any sort of shellacked popped corn, you will love this.

31 Days of Junk: Jones Soda “Blood Orange” (#8)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I don’t remember how old I was when I and my friends discovered Jones Soda—14 or 15, probably—but I do remember what an impact it had on us as a group. At the time, our punk rock inklings were starting to mineralize; our obsession with art, and counter-culture, and whatever it was we thought was the meaning of life (skateboarding and watching movies), all coming together, coalescing to create who we were as young people and future adults. And suddenly, we had the perfect beverage which embodied all of that and more: Jones Soda.

Artsy photographs, a different one on each bottle, instead of a repetitive boring logo? Photos which could be submitted by anyone—even us? It was a game-changer. We’d had enough of Coca-Cola! We were through with Mug Root Beer. No more Surge! We wanted Jones Soda! And have Jones Soda, we did: we drank the stuff religiously, shelling out our allowances for over-priced 4-packs of the stuff.

It’s how I imagine Gen Xers felt when OK Soda came out.

I mention all of this because I probably haven’t had Jones Soda since then—so 20 years, give or take. (Good lord, where does the time go?) Wait, I take it back: last year, I did have a sip of some of their Thanksgiving-flavored sodas at a party. (Which were from the year 2005; we were drinking sodas that were 12-years-old.) All of this is to say: I haven’t had a proper, unexpired Jones Soda in a very long time.

I also haven’t had a blood orange in a very long time either, so I’m not sure if the flavor of this Halloweeny treat is spot-on. But it’s definitely orangey. Much like the soda I drank last week for #31DaysOfJunk, this one also tastes like a melted popsicle. That’s my biggest takeaway: Jones Soda Blood Orange tastes like a melted orange popsicle. So, y’know, good and sugary.

It has a brilliant, almost glowing, orange color to it. Downright iridescent! I will still take this over Surge any day of the week.

31 Days of Junk: Cadbury Screme Egg (#4)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Full disclosure: I don’t like Cadbury Creme Eggs. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one, so maybe it’s unfair of me to say I don’t like them. As a kid, I genuinely thought it was a chocolate covered egg yolk/albumen, and that thought sickened me. So, naturally, I avoided them.

Here’s a funny story: In fifth grade, our teacher sprang an unexpected assignment on the class. “The first three people to turn in their papers,” he declared, “will get a surprise.” Of course, I just had to have that surprise, and being the little overachiever I was (a trait which waved bye-bye to me long ago), I actually finished first. I trotted up to my teacher’s desk, paper in hand, and eagerly awaited my surprise. He examined my work, gave an approving grunt, and then as if he’d suddenly remembered what he’d promised, frazzedly began rifling through his desk drawers, in search of the surprise he’d clearly fabricated in order to get the class to finish the assignment.

“Ah, here you go,” he said. From the top drawer of his desk, he produced an out-of-season Cadbury Creme Egg; dinged, dented, and flakes of foil peeled back and missing. This was my surprise. He handed me the egg (which, at the time, I think I still believed was a real egg), and sent me back to my desk. Talk about feeling scammed!

This is all to say that I really don’t have much to compare Cadbury’s spooky “Screme Egg” to. From the outside, it looks like a regular old Cadbury Creme Egg, the recognizable star shape stamped into the side of the chocolate shell. The inside of the Screme, however, is much cooler than a regular Creme: instead of yellow and white innards (barf), we get green and white innards! (Cool!)

The whiteness of the goo is a tad pearlescent, which is sort of pretty for a candy. When it got melty and mixed with the slime green, it created this minty color which looked like toothpaste. (Same consistency, too.) As for its flavor: straight-forward sugary vanilla, how I imagine it would taste eating a Yankee Candle.

All in all, a simple yet fun twist on the Easter treat.

31 Days of Junk: Reese’s Puffs Bats (#1)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Sometimes you don’t even have to change the recipe, all you gotta do is change the color, or, in the case of Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Bats, change the shape.

Now, if you’ve ever eaten a bowl of Reese’s Puffs, you know what to expect. It’s one of those mouth-destroying cereals that belong in same the category as Cap’n Crunch; one bowl, and the roof of your mouth is shredded—raw and tender to the touch of your tongue. There’s also a weird, oily film which coats the cereal pieces (and in turn, the inside of your mouth). Still, even with all the oral destruction, it’s easy to put away three bowls in one sitting.

The Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Bats are no different. Well, they are, shape-wise. But the flavor (even the weird, oily sheen) is still the same.

Still, there’s something to be said about the way the flattened pieces somehow do less damage to the inside of one’s mouth than the standard cubelet-shaped pieces. A true miracle in cereal engineering, the flat bats just crunch easier. A more comfortable chew. It got me to wondering: is there the same amount of “material” in a bat-shaped Reese’s Puff as the cubelet-shaped Reese’s Puff? Does one have more mass than the other? Can that explain why the bat shapes are more mouth-friendly?

Too much science for me. All I know is: these taste the same as the Puffs, but your mouth won’t be hurting by bowl three.

31 Days of Junk: Charms Spider Web Cotton Candy (#8)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I bought this solely for the packaging. Kinda hard to pass up a metallic black bag covered in a web pattern and fun, colorful fonts. It’s not even especially well designed, but it is, for whatever reason, incredibly nice to look at. I can’t explain why things like this work sometimes; it’s art, man.

First smell out of the bag was pure chemical. Almost like a cleaning agent, or hand soap. I assure you, this did not dissuade me from eating it.

While I wouldn’t exactly call it sour, it does have a nice tang when it first hits the tongue. Then a quick flash of a muted apple flavor, like the last sip from a glass of apple juice after all the ice cubes have melted. And then all of that gives way to pure sugary sweetness. Kinda crazy that’s all cotton candy is: flavored sugar. But hey, it’s been working for 120 years.

The dense little pillow form it came in is fun to pull apart into wispy chunks. Yes, the spider web comparison is an obvious first choice, but I bet they could go with something ghost-related if they wanted to switch things up next year.

Fun science fact: I walked away from my plate of cotton candy remnants for a few hours, and when I returned its texture had completely transformed—from soft and malleable to crisp and brittle. I tried picking some up, and it fell apart in my fingers, almost like the way a sand castle falls apart.

Come for the candy; stay for the science.