Susan's Blog

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sugar, Sugar

It is way past Halloween, and this post may seem as stale as your kid’s bag of leftover Mike-and-Ike’s and Milk Duds. Nevertheless, I have consulted on the matter of candy with all three of my sons, who are Sugar Addicts, marking their favorites so that I know how to properly reward and indulge, and I have taken stock of my own corn syrup proclivities. All of this is to completely rebut this particular blog, where one blogger claims to have accurately found the ultimate Candy Hierarchy.

He lists at the very top, the top, mind you: Caramel-based candy. Okay, that is just wrong. Caramellos? Please. Right up there with the aptly-named Milk Duds.

He puts chocolate-based candies second. Second! Most women of the world would disagree right there. Come now, we all know that chocolate is a magical elixir and caramel–? Well, the best you can say about caramel is that it has the magical quality of sealing your teeth together, a la Dr. DeSoto.

Here, then, is the Senator-Batchelder Candy Hierarchy:

1) Chocolate-based with a highly intense added ingredient (as opposed to pure chocolate. Chocolate-based has the necessary added oomph that takes a wonderful but monolithic taste and juices it up with that extra twist. Chocolate is like the beautiful ballgown, but Chocolate-based is the ballgown + tiara.) For example: Cadbury Chocolate Creme Egg; Reeses peanut butter cups; Milky-Way; Mounds; Almond Joy; Snickers. I don’t count Three Musketeers because the nougat by itself is too bland (Ben disagrees) I don’t count Baby Ruth because peanuts alone are too salty and therefore almost spoil the chocolate (Mom disagrees).

And now I have to add an exception to my own rule: M&Ms; must go in the top-tier and I submit that the colored coating on the outside is indeed that extra bit that sends the little chocolate pill of delight into a narcotic-like perfection. My proof is that my sister used to eat only the candy shell (by sucking the outside of the M&M;) and then she would give the soft inner chocolate to me, which although it sounds disgusting, was actually quite delicious, having been warmed and perfectly softened by her loving sisterly saliva). Charleston Chew is in this category because the nougat is vanilla flavored, thereby helping propel it to the hallucinatorily delicious levels.

2) Second tier: The Chocolate-based with only one, non-performing or counterproductive additive (see above). Also includes the disappointingly cracker-like dry KitKat of Office fame; Twix (see KitKat); Milk Duds; 10,000 Dollar bar (still in production?); Rollos; Whoppers (interesting but chalky); Tootsie Pop.

3) Third tier: Plain Caramel. Caramellos; those plastic-wrapped cubes you get in places like Williams-Sonoma or Starbucks. But at least they are still sweet and chocolate-like.

4) Fourth tier: Fruit-flavored. Skittles; Starburst; Warheads; Now-and-Laters; Jolly Rancher; Lollypops. Fourth tier are candies you will eat only when all the other categories are gone. They are not terrible, they are just plain weird.

5) Fifth tier, not even a candy: Nuts; raisins (“Nature’s Candy” Ha! Only if you are a regular patron of Wholier-Than-Thou Foods) ; candy apples; Sweet-Tarts (almost like flavored aspirin); Smarties; Pixie Stix; Wax Lips (sorry Laura, but it’s a candle without a wick); flavored medicines (just kidding, do not try that at home).

I don’t know where to put Tootsie Rolls or Rock Candy, but I love them; they are almost in the First Tier but they break my rule.

6) And finally, the bottom Circle of Candy, really a Candy Hell: Diet candies, Weight-Watchers, and those which are low-carb because they are made with sugar alcohols. They taste very much like real candies, but if you have more than say two fun size, you will have nausea, diarrhea, and other nasties.


I totally agree with your breakdowns of candies… however, I believe that the next best candy after peanut butter cups, should be swedish fish!!!

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Oh, Anonymous, thank you for supporting my hierarchy! However, one quibble I have: Swedish Fish?! Oy vey. I’m sorry, and I say this with love and respect, but I put Swedish Fish in the fruited candy category, if not the non-candy one below that! Oh well, de gustibus…

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 6:50 pm

KitKats and Twix in the same category with Milk Duds? Are you insane, woman???

KitKats rule, as do the peanut butter Twix. The caramel Twix, well I don’t care much for those, too sticky. And what of Reese’s Sticks, surely members of the same cookie/candy hybrid family? They deserve to be first tier if any candy does!

— added by Bev on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 8:21 pm

I appreciate your passion, Bev, but I don’t feel that the candy-cookie hybrid is as powerful as the chocolate-based caramel and nougat, etc. type.

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm

What is your position on white chocolate?

— added by Bev on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Bev! I forgot white chocolate. What is YOUR position?

Okay, I’ll tell you what I think. White chocolate is generally a disappointment. Its taste tends to disappear quickly; there’s no real meat to it, unlike regular milk chocolate. White chocolate seems to be a bit erzatz, somewhat of an imposter. In the end, I have to put it in with the rock candy, Swedish fish level of tasty enough, but neither fish nor foul.

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Again, we disagree. White chocolate, while admittedly not really Chocolate, is every bit as good. I have been very happy the past few years that the Powers That Be have finally recognized the goodness of white chocolate, providing alternative Reeses and KitKats for those of us who taste things differently. With all due respect, please reconsider. Swedish Fish are not worthy of white chocolate’s company.

— added by Bev on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Alright, Bev, you have a point. One of my earliest best memories is about white chocolate: these little pink and green Christmas trees on sticks. My mother called them “Treets,” and let me have just one and then put them on top of the cabinets. I looked at them longingly, for they were the best thing I had ever tasted. Okay, so, I don’t know. Do we count the white in the chocolate as an additive? No, I can’t elevate it to level one…

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 8:57 pm

I respect the hierarchy. Women and chocolate go together like, well, women and chocolate. Many favors can happen over a good bar of the imported.

Do love the Milk Dud. It is great movie food, as are Dots but have mad love for Swedish Fish (the red ones), Twizzlers and the elusive Root Beer Barrels.

I’d like a bit more detail about Candy Hell. Intriguing. Came across some sour candy that made both ends pucker. Very nasty.

— added by Someone Said on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 6:02 am

Guy –
Okay. Now I have to confess yet another thing, since you brought it up: Milk Duds + Movies. Ned insists on Milk Duds at the movies and a long time ago we discovered that Milk Duds + popcorn was a compelling combo that shot Milk Duds one level higher. The combo of (slightly) salted and (lightly) buttered popcorn with the caramel of the Dud brings out a butterscotch-toffeeish depth to the M.D. that is not to be missed.

Root beer barrels? I’m not even going to dignify that one.

The Diet Candy Level and the puckering of “both ends.” Very very astute. I could tell you tales of Maltitol reactions in my body that would …

Suffice it to say that you never ever can have it all.

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 6:14 am

That’s a great candy combo story. Personally, I like quiet food during a movie, but that seems to work for you. I’ll eat popcorn at home while watching a film all the time. Might try that with the Dud in the living room soon.

My girlfriend loves me so much she once bought me a bag of root beer barrels, and she can’t stand the smell of them. You need to understand that root beer, in liquid or solid form, is the elixir of life, but IRN-BRU is coming close. I digress.

The word needed to verify this comment is geriat. I do not want it all, just twenty pounds less than what I’m carrying!

— added by Someone Said on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 7:08 am

Rock on, Susan! Your scale is way more accurate. “Wholier-Than-Thou-Foods” made me laugh out loud. I’m stealing that one from you, hope you don’t mind.

— added by ASDmomNC on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 10:44 am

It is amazing to me that so many people have such positions on treats! But I love it!! I still think Swedish Fish should rank higher but I am satisfied that at least my fav. reese cups are!!

— added by Anonymous on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 11:27 am

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