Join me in a walk down candy lane. Gaze at the Retro Candies that made our mouths water as kids, and marvel that we still have teeth.
We all have our favorites tied more to childhood memories of whom we shared them with or where we were at the time. Most of these treats had little or no flavor. With some of these dandy candies it was the challenge of extricating them from their packaging that held their appeal.
Buttons ~ Who can forget Buttons? They were stuck on strips of white paper that resembled an adding machine tape. A kid would be faced with the choice of peeling or sucking the colorful dots off the paper. They possessed almost no taste but the art of removing the pea-sized buttons and saving the roll of semi-soggy paper was a game for long hot summer days.
Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy ~ might crack a tooth unless you left it out in the sun. But if you did succeed in melting vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate, you could string the melted taffy from friend to friend like sticky Silly Putty. Most retro candies seemed to have more than one use back then, or was it because we didn’t have as many toys as kids do today?
Candy Cigarettes ~ How about something you’ll never see again – thank goodness. Candy Cigarettes. Pure sugar designed to bore holes in your teeth after the first pack. You could even opt for chocolate cigarettes, which quickly melted all over your lips and down your chin. Have you been ‘smoking’?
Wax Bottles ~ How about those little wax bottles containing sickeningly sweet syrup? Once you nipped off the nose of the “bottle” and drained the 1/32 of a teaspoon of syrup, the bottles could be placed on foil and melted on the radiator. Two joys for the price of a penny… gawdawful liquid and something even better than modeling clay.
Speaking of modeling clay, how about bubblegum? Those flat sheets of pink cardboard-like gum that came with baseball cards for the boys or brick-hard Bazooka gum wads with Archie, Betty, and Veronica comics for the girls. Those gum-bricks were a great way to develop killer jaw muscles.
Invented by Dr. Edward E. Beeman in the late 19th Century, Beeman’s gum contained pepsin and was intended to be an aid to digestion. Extinct for a number of years it is now manufactured in a single batch every three years by Cadbury… sans the pepsin. A very unique flavor.
Join me in a short stroll down a virtual candy aisle. Let’s see what memories we can stir.
Circus Peanuts: Marshmallow peanuts invented in the 1800’s and originally sold in 5 and 10-cent variety stores. Shaped like peanuts they were orange flavored.
Root Beer Barrels: Now we’re talking. Filled with the flavor of old-fashioned root beer.
Mary Janes: Taffy with a touch of peanut butter inside they were sure to yank at least one filling from a tooth. Sugar Daddy: Taffy on a stick. If you were careful it might last all day or until you couldn’t beat the flies away.
Chuckles: There was something primal about biting into a Chuckle and feeling it give way. Those beauties came in the standard fruit range of lime, lemon, orange, cherry, and licorice!
Jawbreakers: The challenge was to keep something the size of ping-pong ball lodged in your cheek for the entire day, until it melted and of course fed that cavity.
Cracker Jacks: It was all about the surprise inside. Carmel-coated popcorn with the occasional peanut, this tasty treat survives today. Do they still have a prize inside? What a thrill to find that little gizmo at the bottom of the box. A little charm of a dog or a car became hidden treasure. Was this a precursor to the Happy Meal?
My all-time favorite, tied to my memories of my grandmother, are the raspberry filled hard candies. Crunching through to the raspberry jelly filling was pure heaven.
What are some of your favorites?