Renegade Chef: Christmas candy conundrum
I have been wondering for a long, long time: Whatever happened to the magic of Christmas candy? Where did it go?
It seems, these days, holiday treats are pretty much the same thing we get every other day of the year. The big candy conglomerates have tricked us into thinking Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses are extra special simply because they are festively wrapped for the holiday season. Unwrapped, this candy might as well be left over from Halloween.
And does anyone really think M&M’s, Skittles or Sweet Tarts automatically qualify as Christmas candy just because they are packaged in a large, plastic candy cane? I think not.
Some of the old standards are still around, like those huge chocolate drops filled with that dense and cloyingly sweet, lard-like cream. I can remember more than one holiday occasion when the Heimlich maneuver came into play because some unwary aunt or uncle got one of those monoliths stuck in their esophagus.
Speaking of throat-clogging, why do they make those old-fashioned hard candies that are molded into the shape of rather large ribbons? I think they were invented by dentists because once you toss one of those gargantuan hot peppermint scrolls in your mouth, it immediately adheres to that space located just above the tonsils, and to avoid choking, one has little choice but to bite the thing in half and hope the violent crunching sound is from the candy and not splintering teeth.
Candy canes have been around forever. Do you have any idea how many half-sucked candy canes I’ve found lying around the house over the years? I don’t think anyone really likes them; although if sucked to a sharp point, they make a handy weapon. Just ask my late sister.
My biggest Christmas candy conundrum, however, involves an item apparently lost in the Twilight Zone. It is a holiday convection I remember from childhood but it doesn’t exist any more. In fact, most people tell me it never did. Family members don’t recall it. Even my late sister drew a blank when I broached the subject during her final moments.
Google is clueless, the Crisis Line refuses to get involved and my wife thinks I’m nuts. Either that, or I frequent an alternative universe. Unfortunately, no one in my other world remembers this candy, either.
This particular sweet came unwrapped. It was a bite-size cream — a good, light cream-pastel pink or green in color and generally formed in the shape of a miniature Jello-mold. The candy was also lightly studded with crystallized sugar. It was always in the Christmas candy bowl. I know it was.
So I need help finding this lost candy. I don’t expect to find its physical presence on any store shelves, but it would be nice to know that it did, indeed, once exist.
Until then, I’ll just munch on gaily-wrapped Snickers, break my teeth on a concrete candy ribbon and run in the house with a partially sucked, deadly sharp candy cane.