Saturday, January 04, 2014

Chocolate Choices

While washing the dogs' dishes at the kitchen sink yesterday, I noticed a box of candy canes I'd stashed on a window shelf while Kim and I were making Christmas candies last week. I looked at them longingly, then tossed them in the trash. They aren't even close to being my favorite candy, but I knew I might break down and eat some if I didn't get rid of them.

It occurred to me this morning that giving up sugar and other carbs may not be a resolution, but it's clearly a re-solution--something that has solved a problem once and now must solve it all over again. I totally blew it over the past couple of months. I cheated big time at a Halloween party, overindulged at Thanksgiving, and didn't pay close attention to staying on program in between. Then came the Christmas holidays. We made cookies and candy, and Kim made a cannoli-filling dip (OH-EM-GEE!), and if you'd seen me stuffing all those sweets into my mouth, you'd have thought I was in training for some nationally recognized eatathon.

Anyway, candy is what I wanted to write about today, but the two paragraphs above are not what I intended to write about candy; you may disregard them if it's not too late.
What I wanted to discuss is store-bought candy, specifically, the kind of assorted chocolates that come in a box with a neatly labeled flavor diagram in the lid. A neighbor brought us a box of those this year, and they started me thinking.

When I was a kid and my mother worked at the stock exchange, the wealthy old men who visited her office daily to watch their investments were a rich source of boxed chocolates every Christmas. We're talking big boxes, most of them with more than one layer. Candy boxes didn't come with diagrams in those days, which is why Forrest Gump's mother was able to say, truthfully, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

That uncertainty was a problem at our house. I gagged at the thought of accidentally biting into a jelly-filled chocolate, and I don't know if the jelly or something else was my little sister's least favorite, but she and I both had our dislikes and preferences. We learned early on that we could pick a chocolate out of the box, plunge a small thumb far enough into the bottom of it to expose the filling, and, if we'd been careful, nobody could tell from the top that it had been disturbed. There would come a time in the life of each box when the only chocolates left in it were the broken-open rejects that even the adults didn't like.

I'm pretty sure I continued the chocolate-poking practice into adulthood, probably passing the technique along to my children, but it's been years and years since I've done that disgusting thing. Probably, I'd say, about as many years as it's been since candy companies started putting diagrams in the lids.

So, here's what I want to know from those of you old enough to remember when assorted chocolates didn't come with labels: Did you gratefully accept whatever flavor life imposed on you, or did you find a way to work around that?


In keeping with tradition, I wanted the first Saturday Song Selection of the new year to reflect the theme of the post, so I started looking for songs about sugar or candy. The best one I found, musically speaking, is good enough that it just this minute became the first song I've downloaded in the new year. If you like your music (and maybe your chocolate) on the dark side, you can click here to listen to The Grateful Dead sing "Candyman." That one doesn't fit the mood of the post, though, so I'll go with one that's super energetic, the way a good sugar high ought to be: 

The song is "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies.
Thanks to Todd S for posting the video and lyrics on YouTube.


  1. I was definitely a "stick-your-finger-in-firster," looking for the ones with nuts. I hated the creme-filled.

  2. Hated nuts. Tasted and if I didn't like one, handed it over to my Mom and took another. Remembered the shape/color of ones I liked for future reference.

  3. My mother kept a small knife in or near the box. They were cut in half to see what they were. Once we ate the ones we liked.. the rest..usually the jellies...were tossed!

  4. Annette (Writing My Novel) and Meryl would have made good partners in the same way Jack Sprat and his wife did. The small knife that Holly's mother kept by the box strikes me as a polite and sanitary way of dealing with chocolate unknowns, but I'm not sure it would have worked at our house. I might have sliced off my sister's finger when she reached for a piece I wanted.

  5. I don't think we ever had a box of assorted chocolates. We did have boxes of chocolate covered cherries which I loved. But I spoiled it because one year I ate so many that to this day I can't stand chocolate covered cherries.
    If we had assorted chocolates, I like to think I would have been adventurous enough to try them all.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Florence, and for commenting, too. Chocolate covered cherries are my all-time favorites, but I do understand how they could become too much of a good thing. I'll make you a bet: if you ever DO get the box of assorted chocolates and you ARE adventurous enough to try them all, I bet you won't like the jellies either.

  6. The jellies are the best ones. Just sayin'.

    1. Um-hmm. You just keep telling yourself that; it works to my advantage.


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