Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America
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From the Twin Bing to the Idaho Spud, the Valomilk to the Abba-Zaba, and discontinued bars such as the Caravelle, Marathon, and Choco-Lite, Almond uncovers a trove of singular candy bars made by unsung heroes working in old-fashioned factories to produce something they love. And in true candyfreak fashion, Almond lusciously describes the rich tastes that he has loved since childhood and continues to crave today. Steve Almond has written a comic but ultimately bittersweet story of how he grew up on candy-and how, for better and worse, the candy industry has grown up, too.
Candyfreak is the delicious story of one man's lifelong obsession with candy and his quest to discover its origins in America.
with candy bars, it’s all about the intimate experience of the product in a person’s mouth, because eventually the tastes and textures of that experience—the creaminess of the chocolate, the crunch of the peanuts, the elasticity of the caramel—take up residence in the sense memory. This is why most people can conjure up, so precisely, the experience of eating their favorite candy bar. In the common parlance this is called a craving. The Big Three were locked in an economic battle with billions
was WILL NOT CONSTIPATE. Yum. Amazingly, disturbingly, Vegetable Sandwich was not the only entry in the dehydrated vegetable candy bar derby. There was also the Perfect Bar (WE HAVE COMBINED IN THIS CONFECTION DEHYDRATED VEGETABLES RICH IN VITAMINS AND BRAN!). Broekel’s shelf also boasted a vintage 3 Musketeers box. I have never had much respect for the modern bar. I will certainly eat them, but I tend to lose interest rather quickly and often resort to coaxing the filling out with my fingers,
return home to oversee the sale of the business: “People figured we were just going to let it go under and milk it for what we could.” Marty decided to do just the opposite. When I asked him if he’d studied the recent history of the candy industry, and specifically the gradual extinction of smaller companies, he nodded eagerly. “Yeah, I didn’t care. I realized there was huge growth possible and there was going to be risk to it, but it could work, if we were willing to work hard. And the reason
can’t expose the egg whites to too much heat or they’ll coagulate,” Russ explained. “The other thing you have to watch for, if you try to speed up that mixer too quick you wind up covered in marshmallow. We learned that one the hard way.” Roman nodded. He returned to the table with the egg whites and bent down to record the details of the batch he’d just finished—not on a computer, but in a dog-eared business ledger. I had never seen a cup candy being manufactured, though I had spent a good
was a messier, less-profitable impulse—the wish to create. 11 THE PAST IS JUST AHEAD I spent my entire youth eating the candy bars produced by the Annabelle Candy Company. I didn’t know this at the time. I wasn’t, as they say, an informed consumer. But the record stands: Hadn’t the cop who nearly cuffed me for arson found on my person a half-eaten Big Hunk? Hadn’t my older brother Dave once promised to give me an Abba-Zaba if I agreed to search the graveyard next to Terman Junior High