Friday, February 26, 2010

"Pop, that's a Blow Pop, say from Charms!"

I love Candy. I loved candy as a kid, an adolescent, a teenager and now. Of course my tastes have varied as I grew up and my tolerance for all things sugary-sweet has dwindled - and the development of TMJ. I still eat candy, just different candy. Which leads me to the point of this particular entry.

Candy from the good ole' days (pt 1). There are a lot of different candies for each age group that you belong too. My grandparents remember penny candies and my mother remembers jawbreakers and what not from the 70's. It all depends on when you were born and what generation you were raised in.

Candy, to me, is a notoriously kid thing to eat. Adults frown upon candy and fear that it will spoil appetites (which yes, they can, I've seen the way my sister's eat candy) or that it will make them unbelievably hyper (studies show that it isn't necessarily the sugar but the anticipation). Adults think of candy as empty calories and things to remember from when they were younger. They sneak it when they think no one's looking or pretend to have you twist their arms when you offer it to them. It's almost Verbotten. In place of Candy Buttons, Ring Pops, Caramels or Zagnuts there is Sugar Free Candies and Sugarless gum. 

Kids, well, any kid that doesn't like candy of some kind probably will grow up to be a politician and no one wants that. At the mere mention of candy, kids will study grow quiet and obedient. They will clean their rooms or sweep the patio. They will raise their hands in class or learn math. Kids will steal candy. Kids will give candy. Kids will cry over candy. Kids want candy like an adult wants a strong drink after a long day of work (or visiting relatives). Candy is the great equalizer to kids. It makes everything ok. Until you take it away.

I ate candy, I stole candy, I horded candy. I counted candy (anyone remember the "how many M&M's are in the jar?" exercise). I gave out candy and I bet candy. I have always been a 'candy lady'. At work, it's no different. I can't keep it in my house because my husband likes salt. He should've been a politician.

So now, the top 13 favorite candies I had as a child in the late eighties/nineties. In no particular order of course. This will cover 5th - 10th grade.
1 Blow Pop

Oh Blow Pop how I loved thee. You made my mouth bleed with your sugar blades (or the tiny crevices where the sugar hadn't quite cooled properly and opened) and your vivacious fruit taste was mingled with the taste of coppery blood. I'm not talking about the new sour kind, the Blue Razz or the Black Cherry kinds either. Nor am I talking about the glutton's desire - the Super Blow Pop. I'm talking old school. The cherry, strawberry, sour apple, watermelon and finally the red-headed step-child of the group, the grape flavor.

Blow Pops were the Ultimate treat. It was an oral fixator's wet dream. Not only was it a lollipop but it had a secret garden of gum! Of GUM I tell ya! I always thought that Blow Pops were the older cooler sibling of the Tootsie Roll pop and about ten times more dangerous. You didn't have to be patient with a Blow Pop, there was no counting how many licks it would take to get to the center because nobody cared. In the world of instant gratification, these babies were GOD. You could lick 'em, suck, chomp 'em; it was oral masturbation!

Blow Pops were also a divider. It made the older kids feel superior when the younger ones couldn't have them because adults were scared they would choke on the gum. I relished that I was older enough to chew gum and have the added bonus of a hard candy. My little sister didn't like it so much. She would have to throw it out before it became gum. It was also the candy of the hip comfortable middle class kids. Blow Pops were not something that was had in my house as a kid. In fact I don't think we even had them until Halloween and then it was because the neighbors gave them out. I couldn't afford Blow Pops until I was in Middle School and by then I had moved on to other things.
2 Push Pop 
Push Pops were kind of disgusting if you think about it. Sure, the flavors were pretty good. They were the slightly blander, too smooth to be real cousin of the Blow Pop without all of the fun. I enjoyed eating this a lot as a young kid (like 4-5). They were safe for kids because the lollipop never came off* and you could CLIP them onto you! You could never lose them and unlike a real lollipop, if you tired of it you could always cap it and come back to it later (unlike having to put it back in the wrapper or putting it in a cup to put back in the fridge). 
BUT they were absolutely gross because unlike a lollipop on a stick, where any fluid would get absorbed into the paper, your saliva caught at the end of the Push Pop. Meaning, everytime you pushed the damn thing up your fingers were sticky. Try being a small kid and having sticky fingers. It does not work. You get lint on your hands, you get lint in the chamber of the Push Pop and all these equals getting lint on your pop. But I loved it as a kid. Who knows what I was thinking.

3 Gummy Bears
 I loved loved loved loved Gummy Bears. I still do, even with this stupid TMJ that I have. Gummy bears were sort of a sadistic candy weren't they? I mean, here you are as a kid, going through the time where you are being taught how to be a good person, how to be kind and how to be gentle.
Then you are given a handful or a bagful of these delicious fruity gummies in the shape of an adorable bear, during a time when the Gummi Bears cartoon was on (and I loved it) and suddenly all lessons about being kind and gentle are thrown out the window because biting the head of a pineapple flavored bear is more important. Stephen Colbert probably ate these a lot as a child.

(Photo courtesy of flckr)
4 Candy Buttons/Dots

According to Wikipedia: Candy Buttons or Candy Dots are small rounded pegs of candy that are attached to a strip of paper...... Each strip of the candy includes three flavors: cherry (pink), lime (blue), and lemon (yellow)..... It is also known as paper candy, possibly because the difficulty in removing the buttons usually resulted in the ingestion of the poorly waxed (but digestively harmless) paper along with the candy

These candies, well I wouldn't even go so far as to call them candy, but they were something I enjoyed as a kid. I'm not sure what they were made of other than sugar but it was a type of candy where you could taste the chemicals; not the flavors. You could also taste the paper. In fact, this candy is really nothing but paper. I think I saw it as a challenge to see how many buttons I could get without getting paper. I think I was a bit thickheaded because instead of using my fingers, because that would make my fingers turn different colors, I would use my mouth. I ate a ton of paper as a kid due to this candy.

5 Starburst

Pink and Red were my favorite as a kid, in fact, I'm still pretty prejudiced against orange and lemon. Not only do I hate their colors but they pretty much taste like house hold cleaning products. No thanks! 
(photo courtesy of blog.ningin.com/.../)
I used to take these out of the wrapper and balance them according to flavor. I would eat the orange before the lemon but I would always eat the red and pink first (I know that they have flavors but my juvenile mind will always insist that they are red and pink not cherry and strawberry). I was that kid. The one that ate all the good ones and then was left with the natty disgusting flavors. As a grown up, I eat these pretty much the same way and now that I understand the flavors and have money, I tend to stay away from the originals. I get California or Tropical flavors but very rarely do I buy the regular.

http://images.food2.com/Food2/blog/2009/03/skittles_13.jpg (courtesy of food2.com)

6 Skittles
Packed with sugar and flavor, this was the cooler version of an M&M. Instead of chocolate in the center, it had...wait for it...sugar! In fact, I'm still not sure what the hell is in the center of a Skittle other than crystalized sugar but whatever it is it filled my little tummy with goodness. The other flavors became even better when I moved from elementary school into the finer culinary tastes of Middle School. Yes, 'tis true. The Berry Skittles were amazing and the Blue pack was even better. They were easy to eat and even easier to sneak into school when you weren't allowed to have candy.

They were also the best part of Halloween candy because your parents didn't care if you ate them because they were packaged in their own little packages.

Taste the Rainbow was the slogan and I remember associating Skittles with Rainbow Brite as a child.  Even though I can only stomach about a third of the small bag as an adult, Skittles will always be one of my favorite kid candies.

7 Strawberry Candies
(photo courtesy of friendshiphouse.com)
http://www.friendshiphouse.com/images/company_assets/512f1c7f-0d64-4a5e-9d91-785dc064755f/product_catalog/84CandyStrawberry_1a32.JPGI don't know if they had any other name other than the "candies that were in my Grandmother's candy dish, otherwise known as those Strawberry things" but I loved them. They were not as sweet as the other things that I mentioned but they had a strawberry center. I can't stomach those things now but once upon a time, my 4 year old self liked them.

That's it for part one. The next chapter of this wonderful quest will be the chocolate, gum and the teen version. I may have to expand it to more than 13 but we'll see.

Stay tuned...........................................

*unless you crunched it like I did


  1. Now I'm craving a push pop. And maybe a ring pop. And maybe a blow pop.

    Apparently you just want me high on sugar. Thanks.

  2. I'm very disappointed in your childhood choice of candies. How on earth could blowpop be #1 in any child's list? What type of childhood did you lead? Where are Charlston Chews? Where are Raisinettes? damn girl Pushpops? There is a hell of alot of sucking going on here? Freud would have a field day with this.

  3. Oh yeah, it's my job to make sure you are high on sugar.

    And Charleston chews? I didn't start liking those til much later but they aren't favorites. Oddly enough, I had a dream that I had found a shitload of Charleston Chews under a desk. The strawberry and original flavors...weird.