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Sugar, Sugar

Posted Nov 10 2008 5:54pm
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.
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