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Posts Tagged ‘candy’

One of the clandestine pleasures of visiting New York City, Vegas or Orlando is the ability to make a quick visit to M&M’s World.

Don’t get me wrong — the store is full of ridiculous¬†tchotchkes that no one over 9 should ever openly display, and I can’t think of an event that would call for me to wear M&M-themed clothing.

No. The draw is the wall of M&M’s that you can purchase by the pound. It’s like the huge crayon box of M&M’s, with candies on display in every hue you can possibly imagine.

I go for the special flavors at the end of the wall. I don’t know if they’re limited edition or available in stores — frankly, I don’t spend a lot of time in the candy aisle at the grocery store. (And on a side note, when I do pay attention to areas like the cookie aisle, I am utterly appalled. Have you SEEN the ridiculous number of Oreo varieties lately?)

Anyway, I was in Orlando for business last week, and the husband joined me for a day at Universal Studios and a weekend with a longtime friend. On the way to the airport, we¬†serendipitously¬†passed the mall holding the M&M’s store, meaning we practically HAD to stop. We emerged with coconut and raspberry M&M’s.

I honestly can’t pick a favorite. The raspberry candies pack an intense berry flavor, while the coconut variety was slightly reminiscent of a Mounds bar, with a pronounced coconut essence. Both varieties are almost the size of Peanut M&M’s, but without the peanut inside, meaning you’ve got a pretty big serving of creamy chocolate in each one.

I wish I had bought more.

Visits to M&M’s World don’t always turn out this well. We bought the Strawberried Peanut Butter variety a couple of years ago in New York, and they were completely meh, with neither the flavor of strawberry or peanut butter really standing out.

And yes, I’m completely ignoring the fact that I can buy limited edition M&M flavors on Amazon.com.

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This is Cocoa. Just looking at her, you wouldn’t guess that she scared the Easter bunny away one year.

My brother and I woke up early that Sunday morning, expecting to find full Easter baskets on the dining room table and undoubtedly making plans to skirt the no-candy-before-breakfast rule. Alas, there were no full baskets. There were no baskets at all.

I don’t remember if we woke Mom up or if she stumbled out of the bedroom around the same time, but I do know that she thought pretty quickly for somebody who had just woken up. She immediately shuffled us back into a bedroom, explaining that Cocoa had barked at the Easter bunny and he was afraid to come in, but was waiting outside.

Five minutes later, we were released to find our baskets filled with candy.

I don’t remember if I bought the story — at one point I started having doubts about such things but didn’t let on because, hey, free candy. I do remember that we weren’t mad at Cocoa; instead, we were a little proud.

Hell YEAH the Easter bunny was scared of our dog.

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Kids love routine. You may think it’s exciting that you never know what you’re having for dinner until you pull it out of the freezer or the drive-through worker’s hands, or that you can make it to work/school on time only if you miss that first critical red light, but trust me, children want a degree of predictability.

Growing up, my brother and I had a few entirely predictable Christmas gifts, and I, for one, loved the routine. They were all candy items, and they didn’t stop until we had probably grown too old for some of them:

  • DeMet’s Turtles: Our maternal grandparents would give us each a box of these rich goodies every year. They were pretty basic: caramel-covered pecans coated with chocolate, in a vaguely turtle-like shape. They were also huge: If you ate more than two at a time (and just try to stop us), you could potentially suffer from that mythical stomachache that adults always warned us about. Meh. We were hardy children. No candy-induced stomachaches for us.
  • Chocolate mint patties: My paternal grandmother used to wrap up a box of these for each of us every year. You’d think that, given the popularity and year-round availability of the York Peppermint Pattie, these wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but they were thinner than Peppermint Patties and just more Christmas-y. (My in-laws still give my husband a box of them every year.)
  • Chocolate-covered cherries: My mom always made sure I got a box of these – not sure if my brother ever liked them. I loved biting through the thin chocolate shell to release the liquid surrounding the cherry. Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever ate so many — they may be the richest, sweetest Christmastime treat I remember.
  • Lifesavers Storybook: It was just a little cardboard box, hinged to resemble a book, but it held six or eight rolls of Lifesavers in different flavors and I was ALL about different flavors. Imagine. My favorite flavor was pineapple. I recently stumbled across a Lifesavers Storybook filled with gummy Lifesavers. We would have scarfed those down in minutes — maybe our paternal grandmother knew it would take us awhile to get through a box of hard candy.

We had other holiday traditions. We always went to my paternal grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve to unwrap presents, and left when the weatherman announced that Santa was getting close. My maternal grandmother always put walnuts in our stockings hung by the chimney with care, and we always dumped them back into the walnut bowl on Christmas morning. At some point, my grandmother started making fruitcake cookies every year, despite the face that nobody seemed to like them.

It’s funny that the goofy little things are the ones you remember the best. I can’t recall the “big gifts” that I got from year to year, but I can assure you that I would trade them all for one more Christmas with all my grandparents, swapping turtles and chocolate-covered cherries around the tree.

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My prime trick-or-treating years should have been the late ’70s, but thanks to overblown rumors of poisoned Halloween candy, it was a bust. My brother and I would don our costumes and go to maybe three houses, all people my parents knew. No roaming around knocking on door after door, retrieving the great variety of treats that I imagined other kids were enjoying – after the candy was x-rayed, of course.

Oddly, we were given the run of the neighborhood the rest of the year. We could disappear for a couple of hours at a time without too much worry on my mom’s part. If we were on my grandparents’ farm, we might be out of sight for the entire day, popping in only for meals and snacks.

So I’m not sure how today’s children, protected from every bump and bruise, both to their bodies and self-esteem, are allowed to waltz around neighborhoods (sometimes not even the neighborhoods they live in) and TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS.

Seriously. Kids aren’t trusted to walk 25 yards to the bus stop unescorted, but Halloween goes on?

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I couldn’t decide whether this image was scarier in black and white or color, so I posted both versions. Calluna pointed out that the jack-o’-lantern seems to be giving a “death stare” to the fallen leaves. It’s always fun when somebody else finds something funny or poignant in one of your photos that you didn’t notice.

I’m off to buy the bag of emergency candy that my husband claims we have to keep on hand, just in case we get trick-or-treaters after three years of coming up empty. Methinks somebody has a craving for tiny Snickers.

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