Sun Ra - Column for 12/17

Good For You

It's Christmas time, which as far as holidays go probably outweighs even Halloween in terms of sugary candy consumption. Halloween, though essentially devoted to candy (or, to some people, Satan), wads all of its confection consumption into one night, and a few days following it. Unless you are one of those children who doesn't snarf down all of their candy right away, in which case you should be kept under observation. Not that I want to imply abnormality, just that Jeffry Dahmer, Richard Nixon, and Martin Lawrence all were candy-hoarder types, whereas Mother Theresa, George Washington, and Jesus all ate their candy right away.

Anyways, the whole month leading up to Christmas and the slow fade-to-New Years afterwards are rife with fudge, cookies, candy canes, fudge, gingerbread, and more fudge. So I figured the time was ripe for a candy discussion, or at least a candy monologue. Here are, in no particular order, and despite this preface in no particular seasonality, my favorite sugary sweets. I bet you can already guess one of them!

Gummi Bears - Gummi bears are excellent mostly because of the texture. Sure, the sugary fruity taste is key, but it's the way they squidge around your teeth that really sets them apart from other candies, which stick to your teeth instead. Also, gummi bears come in a fantastic array of flavors and relative hardnesses based on who made them - some are more fruity, some are more sugary, some taste more like chemical preservatives. German gummi bears (Haribo) are much harder than American gummi bears, probably because Germans can't enjoy anything unless there is some work involved. My particular favorite gummi bears are a certain brand of supermarket bulk bear, but unfortunately supermarket gummi quality is so variable that it's hard to find good ones. I recommend tasting them before buying. Lick several, and if you don't like them, put them back.

Fudge - There is only one truly fantastic fudge, and that is the fudge that my mom makes. Fudge is one of those foods that is that way, like lasagne or rouladen. (Okay, that last one may be particular to my family). There is one real way to make it, and that's the way mom does. All other varieties are lesser and a bit weird, to boot. Anyways, I love fudge - and I have my mom's recipe, so I can make it whenever I want. Of course, this also means that I know it's basically butter, chocolate, and marshmallow paste, so that the danger inherent in eating it whenever I want is more obvious. Another of those dang innocence/bliss tradeoffs.

Marzipan - Marzipan is super yummy. The german sort, of course, is the original, and I can snarf down whatever goofy shapes they decide to cast it as: fruit, national monuments, animals, the Sudetenland. Of course, the zaniest one (in a very German sort of zany) is the Geltscheisser, which is a little boy pants around the ankles passing a coin. No lie - it's the single most popular humorous form of marzipan made in Germany. And they give it to kids. Yeah, they are wacky, aren't they. Anyways, although German marzipan is the bomb, sometimes more literally than others, my favorite marzipan comes from See's candies. What can I say - it's even more scrumptious with chocolate.

As long as I am on the subject of marzipan, let me mention that Toledo, Spain, is apparently famous for its marzipan. I have no idea why, although they do make yummy marzipan. Maybe some Germans confectioners got sick of North Sea winters and moved there. But at any rate, when we visited Toledo, they informed us that marzipan was their game, and it was everywhere. Good, too. No where else in Spain did they every even think of marzipan, but they had it in abundance in Toledo. Tragically, although my fiance had never before liked marzipan, she liked this particular strain of it (slightly lighter, more flaky, no coloring, toasted) so I didn't get to snarf it all myself. Ah, life.

Cadbury Creme Eggs - I used to think they were gross, too. Now I love 'em. Sugary goop in chocolate. How can you beat it? It has a particular flavor that no other candy has, as well. Not sure what, but I love it. Speaking of, I also really enjoy Cadbury Flake bars. They are just chocolate, but also have a slight caramel flavor that is very good. Frankly, although I enjoy American candy as much as the next person, I think that having an international selection of candy is a great, great feature in a grocery store. Except for those little black licorice swirls. Those taste like ass.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra