The Complete History of Candy (Juice Blog Style)

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During my time at this blog, I’ve written on some pretty insubstantial topics. The following piece might be the biggest waste of space on the internet, well besides this. The idea started as a follow-up to my orignal post on candy bars, as I would cover the non-candy bars which are worthy of space on convenience shelf stores. So I began to rack my brain of all the candy I’ve consumed in my life and after an hour, I made an appointment with my physician for a complete check-up. Jesus H. Wonka I’ve shoved a lot of junk down my gullet. Unlike candy bars, which can only feature a few different combinations and flavors, candy has endless possibilities. Also, at the end of this piece I discuss the candies that should be put in some type of junkfood graveyard. So here we go with a walk down Candyland Lane.

 
CANDY HEAVEN

Lifesavers
Every year for Christmas, I used to get in my stocking a Santa’s Sweet Storybook. One of my earliest memories was Christmas of 1971, as I sat down with my Storybook and watched my first football game, a NFL playoff matchup between the Chiefs and Dolphins. Backup QB Mike Livingston had recently spoken at our church’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes dinner, so I had decided to be a Chief fan. I sat in front of the TV and went through one Life Saver after another. I ended up eating all eight packs of my Storybook. Looking back here are the 3 things I have come to a realization about that day.

  1. I remember thinking that football goes on forever, which was the case on this day, as the Chiefs and Dolphins played the longest game in NFL history.
  2. The roof of my mouth was raw and my teeth had 6 coatings of sugar.
  3. My parents were young and not always that knowledgeable on the ways of raising a 5 year-old boy.

Best Lifesaver packet is the Tropical Fruit, as it beats the original 5 flavor roll packet. Kind of like why Physical Graffiti is what I want over Zeppelin 4, as it’s not oversaturated.

Twizzlers
Hard to say there is a better candy, which doesn’t contain chocolate. Best flavor is the strawberry twists, though the Cherry bites are a close 2nd. The watermelon pull and peel is damned good, as well. Cherry Nibs are also a Twizzler product.

Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Fruit Rolls
Tootsie Pops

All of them are good, but the best Tootsie Roll is the medium size, as it provides the best chewing texture. The fruit flavored tootsie rolls are underrated, with lime the best flavor. Tootsie Pops are one of those candies that reconnect me to my childhood. I’m not positive, but I might have learned to count to three from watching professor Owl in the commercial explain how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Pop center.

Charms Blow Pop
It depends on your mood, but the Blow Pop is right there with the Tootsie Pop as the greatest sucker. Charms sweet and sour lollipops were one of my favs, though I’m not sure if they are still made.

Saf-T-Pops
Dum Dum Pops
Chupa Chups (Strawberries and Cream)
Lollies

During my childhood, the doctor would actually give you the pure sugar cane of a Saf-T-Pop, if you were good during the appointment. How about an expose if Dr. Oz ever did this during his practice? Dum Dum Pops are most famous for being given out at the bank. Give me the Mystery Flavor! It would appear that some smart corporate exec. decided to corner the market for medical offices and banks. Chupa Chups are a little more sophisticated in their flavors. I vote for the Strawberries and Cream. Lollies are a rounded lollipop on a hollow, plastic stick. Two-toned, with a consistency of a SweeTart, without the tart part. They were always part of my order, when I hit the concession stand after my Little League games.

Sugar Daddy
Slopoke
Black Cow

My parents had just turned 20 and 18, when I was born. They came from very flawed families and had no idea how to raise a child. For example, I cannot remember either one of them ever being on my case about brushing my teeth. I did very little of it. Considering all the candy I have eaten in my life, it is amazing that I don’t look like this.

The 3 rock hard taffy suckers above were some of my favorite candies and also possibly the worst food for your teeth. (Looking back at the italicized words of the last sentence makes me think I will have gay porn google ads below this piece.)

Sugar Babies are the safer, easier to eat version of Sugar Daddy’s.

Laffy Taffy
BB Bats and Kits
Giant Old Fashioned Taffy

Continuing on the category of filling pullers. Laffy Taffy is kind of artificial, but I do have a thing for the banana flavor. BB Bats and Kits are basically the same product, just packaged differently. Put me down for the strawberry. When I was in single digits, I would probably have rated the Old Fashioned Taffy first on my list of candy. I used to buy them at the concession stand, when going to high school football games with my parents. Depending on the freshness, it would either be chewy or it would crack from its brittleness. Either way, it was delicacy for a 8 year-old, especially the banana version.

Black Jacks
I loathe black licorice (more on that later), but for some reason, loved these licorice flavored small taffies. The black, pink, and white look is kind of bizarre, but I had one recently and it still worked for me.

Hot Tamales
Most jelly candies I’m kind of lukewarm about, but the Hot Tamales have a synthetically magical appeal.

Jelly Belly
Never got the whole jelly bean fetish that some have, as it just seemed like a candy my Grandmother could keep in dish and not have to worry I would scarf them down like some kind of manic meth user. When Jelly Belly’s came out, it was a revolution in the candy industry, as the flavor punch out of such a small object was incredible. Even cooler was the amazing replicas of things that had never been done in the candy world. My top 5 Jelly Belly’s. Caramel Corn , Buttered Popcorn, Pina Colada, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cotton Candy.

Starburst
Skittles

Both of these came out in the mid-70’s, kind of like Dave Kopay. I had a friend who I swear lived on Starburst during high school. He was a really great all-around athlete, which just shows the miracle of the human body.

Brach’s Milkmaid Caramels
Brach’s Butterscotch disks
Brachs Neopolitans
Brachs Royals Caramels

Brach’s makes old people candy, but these I dug. Raspberry is my choice of the royal caramels. There are lots of generic butterscotch disks, but only Brach’s is good.

Bottle Caps
The cola flavored bottle cap is one of the top 10 flavors in the world!

Old fashioned candy sticks
The cherry cola is great, but most of the flavors are worth checking out. Usually found at Stuckeys or Cracker Barrels.

Jolly Ranchers
They can be hit or miss, but the grape and watermelon flavors are outstanding!

Lemonheads
The Ferrara Pan Company makes some of the weirdest candy. Only Lemonheads are consistently good. A real lemon drop is better, though they really f— your tongue up.

Spree
A less tart, slick textured SweeTart. Very artificial in concept and taste, but in the case of Spree’s, that’s a good thing.

Chewy SweeTarts
You might have noticed the absence of SweeTarts. Not a big fan, but I always dug the Chewy version, which looked like an Alka Seltzer on steroids.

Smarties
Not particularly good individually, but when you stuff the whole package in your mouth at one time, it works. This should be the instructions on Smarties.

Pixie Stix
Fun Dip

If you need a fast rush of adrenaline and can’t find a coke dealer, slam a couple Pixie Stix. Kind of like sucking down a pre-sweetened packet of Kool-Aid. By the way, Pixie Stix doesn’t work the opposite way, as when you add water, it fails to replicate Kool-Aid, or even Wyler’s.

Fun Dip is a less grainy version of Pixie Stix. The sticks that you use to get the sugar dust out of the packet are kind of lame, even though they are edible.

Bubble Yum
Bubblicious
Bazooka

I can remember the revolution that was Bubble Yum, when it originally hit the shelves. I was in 7th grade and I used to buy a packet of it and then sell pieces of it individually at school, so I could cover my habit. Grape Bubble Yum is the best gum in the history of mankind. It has an amazing fragrance, which just smelling it being chewed by someone else can make your mouth water.

The best pure bubble gum is Bubblicious. I would rate Bazooka right behind them and the bonus there is that you get one of the HILARIOUS Bazooka Joe cartoons as a bonus.

Fruit Stripe gum
Chiclets (mini)
Razzles
Gold Mine Bubblegum

Fruit Stripe gum loses it flavor seemingly before you even get the piece soft, but the first 10 chews are delicious. Not a fan of Chiclets, but the tiny fruit pieces they sold in the paper packet with the clear window was cool. Are they a candy or a gum? That is the Razzle dilemma. I dig me some Razzles. Gold Mine bubblegum hasn’t been carried in most stores for a long time, but they are a really unique product. Small pieces of gold (truthfully more yellow in color) that are packaged in a little burlap bag. Pure nostalgia here, as I haven’t seen them in a store in 25 years, but they belong on my list.

Freshen Up Gum
When this product came out, it was all the rave. If you haven’t had Freshen Up, it is a gum which contains a gel in the center that squirts in your mouth. I know many of you that are repulsed by the idea, but I’m no homophobe and can say, even though I haven’t see the product in a long time, I always dug the Spearmint flavor.

Pop Rocks
This just might be the most bizarre food item ever developed. Eating Pop Rocks is akin to having a chemistry experiment in your mouth.

 

CANDY PURGATORY

Zotz fizz candies
The only candy which can compete with Pop Rocks for being bizarre. I have no idea what is the filling that hits your tongue like battery acid, but it can’t be something the FDA should have ever approved.

SweeTarts
Now and Later
Mike and Ikes
Dots

All of these candies are favorites of many, but I kind of have a take or leave it attitude towards them. Dots are a great temporary filling for gaping dental damage, though.

Pez
The dispensers were awesome, but if you ate the candy by itself, you quickly realized it was a poor-man’s Smarties.

Switzers Licorice and Red Ropes
Not bad, but Twizzlers are way better.

Big League Chew
Pretty great, right out of the pouch, but if you don’t chew it all in the first hour, it starts to curdle into something not worth keeping.

Root Beer Barrels
Sounds good in concept, but is really hard to finish one.

Mamba
Poor Man’s Starburst.

Waxed bottles and Wax lips
Kind of like a flaming shot of Ouzo. They should be tried once, but not really a good idea after that.

Candy Cigarettes and Cigar Gum
Yes, the ethical elements of these do hold a shaky ground, but in the 70’s, the official disease was called Cancer, Schmancer. Actually eating a real menthol Kool tastes better than a candy cigarette. The Cigar Gum was better, but the pink and yellow color they came in didn’t exactly make you look like George Burns.

Bit O Honey
A strange product that I suspect will fall off the convenience store shelves within 20 years. Not bad, but it hits me as the official candy of The Greatest Generation.

Boston Baked Beans
Another bizarrely boxed candy by Ferrara Pan. Used to be found in lots of bulk candy vending machines, which never seemed very sanitary to me.

Wrigley’s Gum
I’ve chewed my share, but it has been eclipsed at this point. Added note: Wrigley’s infamous history with the Cubs doesn’t help it gain points with me.

Cinnamon Toothpicks
At one point in my childhood, it became a fad for boys in my class to buy these super hot liquid bottles of cinnamon and dip toothpicks in them. Then you would take them to school and see who could take the heat. Look, we didn’t have internet porn and our TV only received 4 channels.

Cough Drops
Sure they are not candy, but the cherry ones by Dr. Smith’s were pretty damn close. As horrid as Halls cough drops are, I got a strange enjoyment out of their Cherry flavored ones as well.

 

CANDY HELL

Candy Corn
Circus Peanuts
Peeps

These are the 3 candies I would most likely put in a Please Explain posting. Terrible texture and nasty flavor makes me really wonder how they have been popular for so long.

Chuckles and Regular Jelly Beans
Both are in the old person candy category. Not good.

Old Fashioned Horehound Candy Drops
If you see anyone who eats these, don’t be surprised if they aren’t a zombie who was born in the 1800’s.

NECCO wafers
For those kids in school that would eat chalk.

Teaberry, Beemans or Black Jack gum
Disgusting gums from my youth.

Clorets
Chiclet like gum which had a Scope like minty flavor.

Dubble Bubble
I always chewed the gum that came with my baseball cards, but I wouldn’t have bought it alone. Bazooka blows away Dubble Bubble.

Caramel Creams and Cow Tales
Good caramel is scrumptious. Cheap caramel is dismal and what is found in these products. I will admit that the caramel apple version of Cow Tales is decent.

Mary Janes
Molasses is not a flavor that should have existed past 1976. Molasses is Pre-bicentennial.

Starlite peppermint disks
Just like the Saf-T-Pop and Dum Dum Pops, these peppermint candies seem to corner the market in low-rent diners. Drop the extra dime and give me an Andes mint.

Candy necklaces
Edible panties=not bad. Edible jewelry=not good. While the candy necklace might not be the most beautiful piece of jewelry, it still would look superior to what most ballplayers wear around their necks.

Red Vines
I love most red licorice, but Red Vines…Yeech.

Runts
The name is good, but what is in the box is not. Not to be confused with a product conceived by Ann Coulter…

Snaps (black licorice center)
Good and Plenty
Dollars
Crows

Besides my strange enjoyment of Black Jack taffy, black licorice is one of the 5 nastiest flavors that I’ve ever tasted. (2 of this 5 I cannot divulge, as I don’t want to be sued.)

Gummi Bears
Swedish Fish
Jujyfruits

I don’t get the whole gummi bear thing. Why not just munch on a flavored condom. The other 2 listed here fail to even reach Dots quality.

Sixlets
This is the only pure chocolate product I address here. If you prefer Sixlets over M&M’s, you have serious taste bud issues and should consult a doctor.

Gobstoppers or Jawbreakers
If I want my jaw to feel tired, I would take a hit of ecstasy, as at least with it, I would feel one with the mankind and I would have a good excuse to get out the glowsticks and the Vicks Vapo Rub.

Candy Buttons
And you thought candy cigarettes are bad, how about an acid blotter of sugar. Honestly, 2 hits of Microdot or Yellow Sunshine tastes better and afterwards, you get to see colors, dude.

 

So there is the list. This piece should create conservation here until at least spring training begins. Fire away.

23 thoughts on “The Complete History of Candy (Juice Blog Style)

  1. 1.  in college, before a test, my buddies and i would each down 7 or 8 rolls of smarties all at once just like you suggested. and i never failed a class. i do have cavities.

  2. 3.  There is a serious lack of sour candy on this list. Sour Punch straws, sour gummi worms, Sour Jacks, Sour Patch Kids, sour Airheads…I could go on for days.

  3. 4.  I much prefer Red Vines over Twizzlers; I couldn’t find Red Vines on the east coast, and missed them most at movies.

    As kids, we’d bite the ends off and use them as straws. Then we’d eat them, but they’d be hard as a rock.

  4. 5.  oh man…I can’t believe you forgot hot balls. They fall way outside the jawbreaker zone. I still love those things.

    And what are those candy’s that are brown, almost taffy like on the outside but the inner core is pure white sugar?

    AFA Taffy goes, nothing beats Cape Cod taffy IMO.

    Other good stuff is mike & ikes (the bookend to hot tamales) although I hate good & plenty, because, like Scott I also abhor black licorice along with black jelly beans.

    yeah…I’ve got quite the sweet tooth. I love the apple jolly ranchers along with watermellon and cherry.

    Sour candy appears to be a trend among the younger generation of candy lovers. My kids will eat stuff so sour it’s amazing. They buy this sour spray and squirt it directly into their mouths.

  5. 6.  I’m with you on most of this but I love Mary Janes.

    The Lifesavers Santa’s Storybook along with Cadbury Eggs were the only things in my childhood that made me wish I wasn’t Jewish. Well, that and having to go to Hebrew school. Peeps made me realize that God is Jewish. Peeps are not for eating, they are for jousting. Stick toothpicks into two Peeps like lances then place them in the microwave facing each other and turn it on. The Peeps will expand. The first one to pierce the other is the winner. But don’t let Mom catch you.

  6. 7.  Green Apple Jolly Rancher – 2nd favorite non-chocolate candy all time. Has a nice tang to go with the sweet that makes me think it’s balanced somehow. I actually used to buy the larger sticks of this (which I haven’t seen for years), but they were awfully hard to eat (probably why you can’t find them), like consuming the textural equivalent of a compressed fly strip. Great value, though, since when I was eating them in the late ’70s the bite size beasties were 3 cents, and the larger stick was 10 cents (I’d say the sticks were probably the equivalent of 4-5 of the bite size).

    #1 All Time Non-Chocolate Binge Candy – I’ve never had a huge sweet tooth, but put a bag of tangerine Jelly Bellys in front of me, and I turn into one of those banks with the automated coin arm – only with candy (my terrifying metaphors have jumped blogs! Run!).

  7. 8.  So you were that Bubble Yum dealer? I remember paying a quarter for my first piece (yes, just one measly square) of BY because you couldn’t find the stuff in stores. But that was the only time I resorted to the black market (for BY at least, but that’s another story).

    I seem to like some of what you have in all 3 categories. Now that I’m thinking about it though, I don’t recall seeing Abba Zabba up there. Loved those. Peanut butter kills.

  8. 9.  I used to bank Ferrara Pan Candy, yeah, they make some wierd stuff. Tootsie Roll used to be prospect of mine, and we’d visit the factory a lot, since it is right down the street from my house, and the last time I went, about 3 years ago, Charms still made sweet and sour lollipops, which I hate, but I never liked any sourness in any food, especially candy.

  9. 10.  Charms Blow Pop is still around in every little mama papa market in my area, the apple blow pop is just perfection in taste & quality really good to this day.

  10. 13.  NECCOS — not even close to my first choice of candies, but I always keep a few rolls in my glove compartment. They last forever, they never melt and they’re cheap as hell. Which is why they were issued to WWII soldiers. Best yet, they always work on fussy kids in the backseat. Well, not the licorice flavor.

    Speaking of which, licorice flavor only works on licorice. Be gone with it, I say.

  11. 14.  Wow, no Kraft’s Caramel cubes? I scarfed those by the bagful. Next to most things chocolate, those informed me (though it’s really hard to argue with Brach’s >;)

  12. 15.  It’s hard to discern much of difference between the Brach’s and the Kraft’s caramels. This is why I didn’t list them. I do remember that Kraft came out with these pre-formed caramel wraps that you could microwave around an apple. Sweet Buddha they were good.

  13. 16.  I soooo have to disagree with you on Pez. They are far superior to Smarties, as they don’t have that whole weird chalky thing going on. I seriously worried about choking to death on Smarties dust when I was a kid. Pez also crunch in a most unexpected and delightful way, and pull off the perfect blend of sour and sweet.

    Also, this Smarties tagline blows: >>Smarties are the great tablet candy with a great taste.<< Um, great.

  14. 17.  Why not just munch on a flavored condom.

    I think I’m done with Gummi Bears after that comparison.

  15. 18.  Dude at the San Francisco Art Institute taught me this: next time you’re at the movies dump a box of hot tamales into your bucket o’ popcorn. Then sit back and enjoy the show w/ your new taste phantasmagoria.
    Cinnamon, salt, butter, corn – it’s all there.
    You must be hankerin’ for some right NOW!

  16. 19.  Wow… The LifeSavers Storybook knocked some memories loose for me.

    True story: My neighbor’s dad was an attorney who worked for Squibb, which in the 70s was the chemical company that owned LifeSavers. He always had tons of those storybooks at his house and you’re right: Tropical Fruit was the best.

    Squibb/LifeSavers also developed Bubble Yum: Before it was out in the market, he’d bring home experimental strains of the stuff, which we tasted and commented upon on forms he presumably brought back to the lab. I distinctly recall trying two different versions of Grape Bubble Yum, and disagreeing with Chris Walsh over which one was better. I wish I knew whether it was my version or Chris Walsh’s version that finally made it to production. The aroma was overpowering and distinct, as you said, and of course the size, shape and softness of the gum just blew Bazooka out of the water (although Bazooka to me still has the best regular flavor).

    I eventually fell for Hubba Bubba (good bubble-blowing) and later, Strawberry Bubblicious.

  17. 20.  I’m sorry, I’m a fan of both Peeps and Gummi Bears. Peeps because I just love marshmallow and sugar-coated marshmallow is second only to chocolate-coated marshmallow. There are many varieties and brands of Gummi Bears, though, and some suck. The real key is they have to be very soft. Hard Gummi Bears are like eating wax.

    Also, you have to give Gummi Bears points for the fact that back in school my classmates used to suck on them then stick them to the ceiling and when our teacher would try to knock them down with a yardstick they’d just roll along the ceiling and stick on the other side. That’s a classic candy right there.

  18. 21.  Great story, mbtn01. To think you could have been the impetus for bubble gum history. Forgot all about hubba bubba. I would agree that the plain bubble gum flavor of hubba bubba was outstanding.

    Cliff. I would not argue that you don’t have better taste than me in regards to some music and art. When it comes to your tastebuds, though, if you are a fan of pre-packaged marshmallow products, this is on the level of loving Gloria Estefan or Kenny Chesney.

  19. 22.  Sixlets aren’t chocolate. They’re “chocolate flavored.” That they still exist makes me wonder. Are they made of some byproduct of the Whoppers manufacturing process? Are they a real-life soylent green?

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