Friday, September 18, 2009

The Taste of Extinction

This past weekend, my middle son went to a party and received a goodie bag filled with one cent candies. He dumped them on the table at noon, as he himself has never been big on sweets. (Go figure). Giving a quick glance over the sugary pile, I lay odds on what would remain by the end of the day and was not disappointed. The milky ways, twix bars, tootsie rolls and familiar bubble gums were gobbled instantaneously by various siblings and I managed to score a caramel. The remaining rejects reminded me of Halloween bags on Election day. There are candies that have reached their Darwinian evolutionary end and should be allowed to die in peace or pieces as the case may be.

I speak of “Bit-O-Honey.”

I know there must be closet lovers of this unholy alliance between an eraser, chalk and a caramel without the imagination of artificial colors or flavors, but I’ve yet to meet one in real life. When I go to the vending machines, I never hear anyone saying, “Damn, they’re out of bit-o-honey!” I remember the unspoken rule of trick-o-treating; when the folks were down to chick-o-sticks and bits, it was time to go home and count the candy loot. Those sorts of odd confections ranked somewhere below the healthy home that passed out boxes of raisins and the DDS who gave free toothbrushes.

I pondered whether the company ought to consider creating an alternate market, like when you get dumped. Sending a tray of “Bitter Honeys” or "Bite Me Honey" to a girl might have some emotional cathartic value for the dumpee. I bet it would triple sales at least. Musing over the two abandoned sweets, I started to sweep them into the garbage can when I wondered, "Was I wrong?" "Why not try it?"

Had the endurance of this long maligned in my own mind sweet been somehow undeserved? I was an adult now. Ought I to give bit-o-honey its due, its chance to reveal its hidden complexities and value that heretofore my taste buds were too immature and too raptured by chocolate to appreciate? I stared at the two lonesome bit-o-honeys and summoned my oldest son. He and I would try these together and compare notes.

Unwrapping the pieces, we remarked on the not quite beige color and speculated on the origin date which was not known. This was problem number one with bit-o-honeys. There was the distinct possibility that only one batch had ever been made and like fruit cake, the unopened pieces had been traded from non eater to non eater for the past seven decades.

My son fearlessly popped it in his mouth. I watched. A minute passed. “It’s chewy.” He said. Spurred on by the fact he had not begun gagging, I too put the candy in my mouth. I waited for the taste. This is part of the bit-o-honey experience, the chewing without the reward. “It’s starting to have a taste.” My son said, still working his jaw. I have to grope the insides of my mouth for a faint hint of flavor.

I know it has a taste, and that my tongue has taste buds in abundance with the capacity to recognize sweet, salty, savory, bitter and whatever that umani is. I know that I am tasting something but the taste fades before I can ascertain its nature.

Now we could go out in the car and get more bit-o-honeys in an attempt to get a better fix on the experience, but I considered this blind date with a candy to be indicative of the entire relationship, bland with a faint after the fact essence that left my mouth bored and slightly annoyed. “This wasn’t chocolate.” And so, vindicated in my indifferent prejudice, I now turn to other snacks that deserve to be shown the door to extinction.

Let’s talk Fig Newtons.

P.S. Had set up a post on Filet-O-Fish but decided it was too cheap a shot and in less than stellar the sandwich.


MightyMom said...

hey you leave Fig Newtons alone!!

I love fig newtons!!

and for my chronically constipated crew....any COOKIE that makes you POOP is gold in my book!!


(I really do like them)

SherryTex said...

That's just it. The Fig Newton serves an alternative motive to actually being eaten.

Who wants to eat a cookie and think "Oh good, now I'll have to go to the bathroom."


Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!