[OT] Candy Corn

I am currently trying to convince somebody that it was created in the 1950s, originally intended to be stocked in fallout shelters where it would provide enough calories to allow people to exist for the twenty-odd years until it was safe to come out.

67 Comments

  1. Thanks for reminding me: I bought a bag of candy corn on my last visit to the US, which is patiently waiting in the basement for Halloween to roll around. If I had remembered, I would have bought a bag of normal jelly beans to save for Easter. (Neither of those two candies are available in German stores.)

  2. Recalling that I liked the stuff as a kid, I bought a bag of candy corn last Halloween and “Ewww!” The stuff had absolutely no taste other than that of pure sugar.

  3. That’s pretty funny. It was actually invented in the 19th century.

    It probably didn’t taste all that great back then either. 🙂

  4. Bob Peters — its supposed to be pure sugar plus vanilla. Ideally, really cheap fake vanilla, so you can get just the tiniest hint of chemical-ness in it, and maybe a bit of wax.

    I made homemade candy corn once, using a recipe much like this one: https://hoosierhomemade.com/homemade-candy-corn-recipe/ ; I don’t remember if it was exactly that one, but I remember it being similar. It was, amazingly, even worse than the store-bought stuff, because it turns out that what we really want from candy corn is its wax-like texture. In effect, they’re really supposed to be vanilla-sugar flavored crayons.

  5. Not all candy corn is made equal. Brach’s is the best, hands down.

    (And yes, it tastes like sugar [and vanilla]. That’s the point.)

  6. One of the first disagreements my wife and I had was about whether candy corn was delicious or gross. Someone once asked me if that disagreement caused a fight, to which I replied that it did not – There was no conflict because I got to eat all the candy corn in the house and she didn’t have to eat any.

    Powers is correct that Brach’s is generally the best. I think it is the honey flavor.

    My mother has never cared for candy corn but she loves those mellowcreme pumpkins that taste pretty much exactly like candy corn to me. Go figure.

  7. Candy canes should be left to mature for at least two years before consuming. Then they’re more like taffy. Very, very pepperminty taffy.

  8. Never tried candy corn but from what you say, it’s probably akin to ‘boules crème’ which feature a creamy vanilla/sugar centre in a chocolate crust.
    I remember a fight in the cafeteria in 7th grade, using those, served with our Xmas lunches.
    Nowadays, I’d consider fallout seriously before submitting to years of this stuff.

  9. I prefer the chocolate candy corn. As I have mentioned before, my birthday is on the detested by me day of Halloween. To help me avoid as much Halloween as possible (and to help him avoid seeing the fake spiders as he has arachnophobia) Robert normally takes me to Lancaster, PA for several days which includes Halloween. The two larger farmers markets we go to there (more of merchants markets these decades) each has a candy vendor who sells candy by weight. While when we started doing this I was not Diabetic, I was (to put it simply) FAT. My big treat for the year was stopping at the candy vendor at one of the markets and buying 1/4 lb of chocolate candy corn. Why only 1/4 lb? First, I should not be eating it. Second – if I bought more I would just wolf it down. If I bought 1/4 pound I would be careful and sometimes still had some left at Christmas. (Did not make it there last year and pretty sure we won’t this year.)

  10. @ Meryl A – If you don’t care for your birthdate, there’s nothing that says you have to celebrate it on that day. Following onto the example of a close friend of my father’s (who was born in early January, but always celebrated in July), I declared (before he was born) that if my son’s birthdate fell too close to Christmas, the celebration would be shifted by exactly six months. Most of my family thought I was crazy, but after a year or two, it proved to be the ideal solution: you can’t get kids to show up at a friend’s birthday party around then anyway, because they are buzy celebrating Christmas at home (and besides, nobody wants a horde of ankle biters in the house who have been inhaling candy canes and chocolate for a whole week).

  11. @ Andréa – That seemed like a promising strip, but I discovered that “Shirley and Son” stopped when the author died (in 2003). Nevertheless, I think I may add it to my daily list.

  12. @ Chak – No, you are not. I bought a bag on my last visit to Wahington, and have been hoarding it ever since. I figure that as soon as I offer any to my kids, it will probably disappear all too fast.
    P.S. I may not be a fair comparison: I also (used to) like fruitcake, but it’s been several decades since my mother or grandmother made one of those.

  13. Thank you, Kilby. I like fruit cake too. Now, the real test: circus peanuts? I loved them when I was a kid, and don’t mind one or two now when I can find them.

  14. The supermarket has a bunch of different candy types in small bags. I get the salt-water taffy on occasion. It’s nice because you don’t get too much at once. The taffy bags are 3.25 ounces. I peer in through the transparent parts of the bags to see what the flavor selection is. I mostly try to avoid cinnamon. They used to have in the summer a pick-a-mix taffy display. Not this year, because Covid.

    I think they have circus peanuts as well. I try to remember to check. Unfortunately, I have already done this week’s grocery run.

  15. There is now a bag o’ dreaded candy corn in the house, thanks to Hubby. As Oscar Wilde was purported to have said, ‘I can resist anything but temptation’.

    We also have: two bags of pumpkin [pie] spice coffee, two boxes of pumpkin [pie] spice donuts and two loaves of pumpkin [pie] spice swirled bread.

    There are dangers concomitant with having Hubby do the grocery shopping.

  16. Andréa, Is there any actual pumpkin in the bread? Sometimes people get very confused about whether ‘pumpkin spice’ means there’s pumpkin in it, or it’s just the spices used in pumpkin pie.

    BTW, at this time of year, kitties *love* pumpkin, straight out of the can.

  17. The donuts package states, ‘Contains real pumpkin’. The coffee and the swirl bread, I don’t think so, just the spices. Oh, and they were all BOGOF (Buy One, Get One Free), which is why he bought them, I suspect.

    My dogs get a spoonful of pumpkin every morning for digestive health. BTW, you might want to check – many, if not most, canned ‘pumpkin’ actually contains some other kind of squash. I buy the organic pure pumpkin . . . nothing’s too good for my dogs.

  18. As I recall, butternut squash is a common ingredient in canned “pumpkin”. I don’t like any form of winter squash, so it doesn’t matter to me. I do like zucchini, in fact I had it stir-fried with lunch today.

  19. He has quite a few different ones (videos, not habits, altho I’m sure he has those, too) that I’ve found quite amusing. Especially as I read so many British mystery novels, have two British friends, and watch BritComs.

  20. I was reading The Halloween Encyclopedia (c2003) today, and it states: “This popular Halloween confection [candy corn] was invented by the sons of two German emigrants to America. The Goelitz Confectionery Co. invented candy corn in the 1880s, and was producing it regularly by 1900. Today the firm’s successor, Herman Goelitz, Inc, is best known as the maker of Jelly Belly jelly-bean candies.

    . . .

    “. . . and has even had its own day declared: National Candy Corn Day is celebrated one day prior to Halloween, on October 30.”

  21. Andréa: That Encyclopedia is incorrect. I have it on good authority that it was created in the 1950s, originally intended to be stocked in fallout shelters where it would provide enough calories to allow people to exist for the twenty-odd years until it was safe to come out.

  22. (BTW, popcorn is about as nutritious to birds as candy corn is to anyone/thing else. They cannot metabolize it, even if it DID have any nutritional value. Same with bread; I get very annoyed when I see people [in comics or IRL] feed bread products to birds.)

  23. I didn’t think it was implied that popcorn was non-nutritious for humans, just birds. Candy corn is implied to be non-nutritious for humans.

  24. I remember seeing signs to that effect, at the Embarcadero, in SF, one year ago. In another universe, it feels.
    Now, I’m reminded of these every time I see someone throwing bread onto the sidewalk.

  25. For those who love candy corn, (did I already post about this?) you can get flavors of it. Caramel apple, cherry coke, blackberry cobbler, lots more.

  26. “Bread products, etc., fill up the birds without giving any nutrition and they can, literally, starve to death whilst full.”

    Old wives’ tale. Doesn’t even pass the sniff test: if birds can and do eat seeds, eg, wheat, why would they suddenly not be able to digest ground-up wheat and water, ie: bread?

    Just because it’s gets repeated a lot doesn’t make it true.

    (PS: candy corn is full of nutritional value, ie: calories; the reason we like sugar so much is because it is the most basic nutritional value, and it used to be scarce. We suffer from too much abundance now, where, just like water, too much of a vital thing can be very bad for you.)

  27. larK: “Doesn’t even pass the sniff test: if birds can and do eat seeds, eg, wheat, why would they suddenly not be able to digest ground-up wheat and water, ie: bread?”

    According to this article, it’s because most bread is “heavily processed, with chemicals and preservatives not suitable for wild birds.” They do go on to say that there are healthy bread choices for birds, but that there’s still a danger of the birds filling up solely on bread, if it’s not mixed in with other food items.

  28. That article pretty much aligns exactly with what I was saying, although I do think it is trying to be a bit too conciliatory: “Processed lunch meat, sugar-free or low-sugar spreads, soft cheeses, and bacon may make great sandwiches for humans, but none of these items are great for birds.” I’d argue they are not great for humans, either! (Except for the bacon…) 😉

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