Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

For Love of Candy

I have loved candy since childhood.

My mom, bowing to the late 60s - early 70s trend toward "natural" foods--and, pray tell, what exactly makes carob (gag) more natural than chocolate?--strictly forbade candy in the house. Sugared cereals were out too. Ditto white sugar.

Mom would sling one of her giant macramé purses over her shoulder and stride confidently into the health food store in search of turbinado sugar, whole-grain bread, unsweetened yogurt, and fruit. Her favorite staple was Health Nut Bread, which, as I recall, resembled a mass of grains and nuts dredged in dirt.

Meanwhile Dad would manage to sneak a package of Nutter Butters into the grocery cart and polish the entire thing off for breakfast before we even knew it was in the house.

Dad's genes, Mom's tight-fisted dietary control, and the introduction of an allowance into my brothers' and my weekly learning-the-ways-of-self-sufficiency curriculum resulted in an inevitable pattern of lamentably delinquent, sugar-centered behaviors on our part.

First there was the hoarding. Jon--troubled middle child--would grab whatever food items had the most sugar right from the grocery bag like a little Artful Dodger and hide them in his room where Todd and I couldn't find them. On Sundays Dad might treat us to a dozen doughnuts (included the dreaded, hated-by-everyone crullers), but Todd and I would only have access to four or five--usually crullers--because Jon had already swiped as many of the good ones as his grimy hands could hold and darted off to the woods to eat them undisturbed. To be fair, the kid was painfully skinny and could not keep the weight on.

Along with the hoarding came the squandering. All three of us spent our entire allowances on candy. My own weekly allotment was $1.25. In the mid 1970s the best, top-of-the-line candy bars were $.25 each, so $1.25 could buy a few of those plus an assortment of lesser candies and even a bottle of Faygo (overly sweetened Detroit soda--sorry, pop). My favorite candy bar was the Marathon Bar. It consisted of three strands of chewy caramel, loosely braided and draped in chocolate. The ad claimed that Marathon Bars "went on and on and on..." but the real thing was only 5" long. Such a disappointment.

Other candies and sweets I loved: Sugar Babies (more caramel) , Faygo Rock 'n' Rye (hard to describe--sort of like a black-cherry flavored cream soda), Bub's Daddy gum (in wild flavors like green apple before anybody else made such flavors), Milk Duds (I obviously had a thing for caramel), and a chocolate bar whose name I forget now. It had tiny bubbles throughout so it dissolved on the tongue, like a forerunner of the modern-day Aero bar. When I couldn't find it I'd buy Malted Milk Balls because they featured a similar dissolving action. And who could forget Pop Rocks? Those were introduced in the late 70s or early 80s and were like crack to my prepubertal friends and me.

In spite of my sugar addiction there were some candies I hated with a passion. Mounds and Almond Joy: gag. Coconut? Nuts?! Disgusting. Circus Peanuts: double gag. Orange-colored, peanut-shaped, fake-banana-flavored. Who came up with that? Boston Baked Beans. This one defies explanation. It's right up there with Chick-o-Stick. I realize these candies weren't actually made to taste like baked beans and chicken, but their names were enough to make me swear I could detect their namesake ingredients somewhere in the depths of their sugary flavors. Frankly, I'd rather eat a booger-flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavor jelly bean. I'm not sure I could be persuaded to eat a segment of Collon though.


Fast forward 30 years.

Guess who lives primarily on oats, Ezekiel Bread, lean meats and poultry, egg whites, unsweetened yogurt and cottage cheese, brown rice, Heart Thrives, soy milk, tofu, and tons of fruits and vegetables? Guess who takes daily multivitamins and kvetches to her friends about how kids are eating far too much sugar these days? Guess who ended up just like Mom in her quest to eat naturally?

I care so much about this topic that I could write 10 more paragraphs, but I've got to run to the grocery store now. I need eggs, decaf, apples, and--er, I'm forgetting the rest. Must go grab my list. I think it's buried somewhere in my macramé bag...


Blogger mreenymo said...

LOL! You are your mother's daughter, K! :):)

And, you are probably a lot healthier than most of us who ate sugar non-stop throughout childhood and now have trouble turning down cake and ice cream.

When it comes to sugar, less is definitely more.


10:13 AM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger AngelaCh1 said...

Hi K!

Neither of my parents had much of a sweet tooth, so I didn't inherit one, but I do remember a childhood filled with Cocoa Krispies and Milky Way bars.

I've been eating a LOT healthier lately- more raw vegetables, cutting down on the egg yolks I eat, eating less processed/preserved foods, and I must say that it makes a big difference in the way I look and feel. I've lost ten pounds in just changing my diet, so hopefully it will motivate me to do something "physical" for my body. ha!


4:03 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger katiedid said...

The Ezekiel tortillas are awesome for wrap sandwiches. My kids go nuts when we're going out for supper, and half the time beg to go to an Olive Garden for the breadsticks, because they're so unaccustomed to fluffy non-whole grain, non-sprouted wheat bread.

I do have a terrible fondness for Violet Crumble candy bars, though. Good thing they're such a pain in the ass for me to obtain on a regular basis.

5:27 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger Atreau said...

You just had to say it Chick-o-Sticks! We were't allowed to have sugar cereals on weekdays but on weekends I'd have a sugar feast!

My parents also made the mistake of giving us an money where we'd spend it at the school's "Snack Shack" Ice Cubes were 25 cents, Chick-O-Sticks were 35 for a huge rod and regular sized candy bards were 50 cents!

I still have quite a sweet tooth but I'm learning! :)

10:46 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger dddragon said...

I ate so much Froot Loops as a kid that Granny always had it on hand when I came to visit as an adult.

As for how our parents "warp" us: I used to pour milk into my cereal bowl. Normal? yeah, but I apparently poured too much. Dad made me drink the leftover milk after the cereal was gone. Warm, sugary milk ... ugh. For the next 15 years I ate cereal dry and took a sip of milk after every bite. Years later in college someone asked me about it ~ I was still doing it. They pointed out that my dad wasn't there in the dining hall ....

4:40 PM, June 10, 2005  

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