Archive for the ‘Retro Candy’ Category
Denture Danger: 10
Primrose Candy Company’s Black Taffy is not what you might expect. For starters, the candy itself has only an accent of black color. This is a salt water taffy type candy, but every pieces holds the unmistakable flavor of black licorice. The candy itself is aesthetically pleasing, a peach colored ring around a black center and dash of red coloring on the side.
Some might see this black taffy and think, “Oh, Black Jack! I remember that classic candy!” The original Black Jack (that you can now get in Beedies gum form) is no longer made in candy form, but at least you have this Black Taffy to bring nostalgia to the tip of your tongue.
The Zero Bar is not your average candy bar as it is a candy with a history spanning over 70 years!
It was first introduced in the 1920’s by the now defunct Hollywood Brands Candy Company and is now owned by Hershey Foods although this transition took place over many years and included many owners in between.
The candy bar is unique in that it consists of a delicious amalgamation of almonds, peanuts and caramel nougat covered, or shall we say , drenched, with delicious white fudge. This was even more controversial upon its release as most candy bars then, as now, are coated in milk chocolate.
As per the name, this has been the subject of candy lore as it was not touted as a reduced calorie candy bar – hence the name Zero – but rather because the white coating was supposed to give the impression of snow and, metaphorically speaking, “cool as zero degrees”
The original wrapper had a Polar Bear on it and upon it’s initial release, was called Double Zero. It wasn’t until 1934 that it formally became known as the Zero Bar
The original Zero Bars were distributed in the summer as fudge has a much higher melting point than milk chocolate and, as there wasn’t air conditioning readily available when the bar was first released; retailers stored this in their refrigerators.
Yes, this candy bar like others will melt if exposed to high temperatures but there is something intriguing about this bar that makes it endure as a classic if only because it is delicious and holds true to it’s original formula and because it is over 70 years old!
PS: The vintage Zero Bar wrapper pictured above is VERY rare as it shows the Polar Bear! This is circa early 1930’s
Denture Danger: 10
I’m in love with Mary Jane.
She’s my main thing.
She makes me feel alright.
She makes my heart sing.
This Mary Jane I am referring to could be Spiderman’s woman or a certain plant, but instead it is NECCO’s classic peanut buttery, molasses flavored, chewy rectangle.
It all began with Charles H. Miller and his three sons. The Millers started a small candy manufacturing business in Boston in 1884. The building in which this business blossomed from was Paul Revere’s house until 1800. (For those who haven’t been to history class any time in the last decade: In 1775 Paul Revere made the famous ride from Boston to Lexington to warn the people in the countryside that the British were coming.)
In 1914 after Charles had died and the Miller boys had taken full responsibility of the family business, the Mary Janes hit the market. The candy was named after their favorite aunt, Susan. Just kidding, her name was Mary Jane.
The Miller Company tried its best to create variations of the Mary Jane, but all paled in comparison to the original. The Miller Company tried its best to manufacture other popular candies, but again, they all paled in comparison to the Mary Jane. Eventually, after failed attempts at variety, Mary Jane was the only candy that the Miller Company produced.
NECCO was lucky to take control of the Mary Jane in 1990, as Mary Jane is a poster child of the New England Confectionary Company. Nostalgia blooms when we talk about our love for Mary Jane.
Denture Danger: 8
Squirrel Brands Salted Nut Company began in 1899. It changed hands and it changed locations, but the squirreliness never diminished. The company supplied chewy candies and salted and roasted peanuts to not only the general public of candy lovers, but also to the armed forces. In 2004 the Squirrel Nut Company took it’s last ownership change as it fell into the hands of NECCO.
The Squirrel Nut Caramel Candy is an individually wrapped rectangle of soft caramel with small pieces of peanuts mixed in for a slight crunch. The caramel is not as sticky as most caramels and thus does not annoyingly get stuck into the crevasses of your teeth.
Chocolate Squirrel caramel was the original flavor for the Squirrel Brands caramels. The caramels are a classic and are unique, and with that said, the candy need not be the tastiest candy in the land to be worthy of purchase.
Denture Danger: 10
Once upon a time in the land of Turkey lived a man named Albert J. Bonomo. Al emigrated to Coney Island, New York and founded the Bonomo candy company in 1897.
This candy company made hard candies, but specialized in its saltwater taffy. As delicious as Al’s saltwater taffies must have been, it was not Al, but the son of Al who introduced the masterpiece of the Turkish Taffy that we have all known and loved since we learned to say the word “taffy.”
An interesting thing about this candy that Tico, son of Victor, pointed out is that it is not technically taffy, it would be better described as nougat because of its corn syrup and egg white ingredients. Also the taffy is not any kind of Turkish secret family recipe. It was named Turkish Taffy purely for marketing reasons.
When the candy was first distributed into Woolworth stores it came in school desk size sheets that were broken into pieces with ball-peen hammers. In the late 1940s the hammers were dropped and the bars of taffy took the field. The bars have a unique way of being eaten.
Before opening the wrapper you can smack the candy against the table so that it breaks into bite size pieces. When the taffy is too soft to break, a few minutes in the freezer does the trick to help the candy shatter. Bonomos’ flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and even banana.
Bonomo was one of the first candies to be advertised on television and it surely wasn’t poorly marketed. The Magic Clown was a character on NBC Television who did your usual clown tricks and gags, but it all depended on the magic word: Bonomo. The commercials had a catchy hook, “B-O-N-O-M-O, O-O-O BONOMO!” that helped to make the candy so successful; they were so successful that in the 50’s and 60’s, 80 to 100 million bars were sold per year.
In 1980 Tootsie Roll industries bought the candy and only nine years later they discontinued it. In 2003, the people who could only feel the melting taffy in their mouth through nostalgic memories began a movement to bring Bonomo back. The Bonomo website lacks information in that particular area, but I had the privilege to chew up some tasty Bonomo, so they must be in production somewhere. The Warrel Corporation claims that the Bonomos that you all love and miss so much will be back in stores and available for purchase this summer in July of 2010.
That, my friends, is the story of the elusive Bonomo.
Patience will prevail as you await the return of this wholesome nougaty Turkish Taffy. The day will come again when we will all hold our Bonomos above our heads and slam them against the table in unison.
While surfing through the McKeesport Candy Co. website I found the Retro Candy Gift Pack, all of which comes straight and direct from the hazy days of my childhood. The late 80s and early 90s were, for this twenty-something, the pinnacle of sugary achievement. This pack includes it all, but I’m going to focus on a few particular items which deserve attention all on their own.
1. Candy Jewelry
Is there a single girl out there who didn’t love wearing candy jewelry? Heck, I’ll still wear a candy necklace from time to time with a T-shirt, just as a fun accessory. Candy jewelry loves to taunt you: it just hangs there on your neck or wrist, the delectable sugary goodness teasing you. You know if you eat it, the cuteness of the candy necklace will be gone, but how can you not? The answer is simple: buy two, eat one, and save one to wear. Or just eat them both. That’s what I would do.
2. Fun Dip
Oh, Lik-M-Aid. Fun Dip took the candy concept (sugar + flavors) and simplified it to its most basic parts. You have your packets of flavored, colored sugar substance, and you have the Lik-M-Stick, which seems to be basically a compacted stick of sugar. Lick the stick, dip it in the sugar, and pow! Plus, it’s like getting four kinds of candy in one: you get the three flavors of powder (including one that looks blue but turns itself and your mouth green when you eat it) PLUS the added satisfaction of devouring the sugar sticks when you’re done. However, I have one caution that comes from learned experience: don’t attempt the Fun Dip on crowded car trips. Between the bumps and jostles, powdery disaster could result. I’m not going to give the Pixie Stix much verbage, since they’re basically the same thing as Fun Dip, without the sugar stick, but Pixie Sticks are fabulous. I would always get the really huge, couple-foot-long Pixie Stix and just pour that powered sugar down my throat. Mmmmmm.
3. Sugar Daddies and Babies
When I got my braces in middle school, I pretty much disregarded all the restrictions they gave me about eating food. I chowed down on popcorn and gum and ice, but I quickly discovered that some of my favorite candies were now off-limits. The first time I attempted to down some Sugar Babies, well, disaster struck. It took me almost a day to untangle my metal molars from the sticky stuff, but man, it was almost worth it. Such caramel-ly goodness! I do have to object to the blatant patriarchal domination of this candy: where’s the Sugar Mama?!? We demand candy equality!
4. Pop Rocks and Sweet Tarts
There’s not a whole lot to say about these two candies besides that they’re fabulous. Penny for penny, Pop Rocks are some of the best fun you can have. I mean really, where else can you get a few minutes of mouth-popping excitement for under a buck? That’s what I thought. And Sweet Tarts, well, their name says it all. They have been a Halloween staple my entire life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There are a few of these retro candy packs available, and they all have a far bigger selection than I’ve talked about here. After writing this, all I have to say that I really wish I were 10 and tonight was Halloween.
For those of you who like licorice, there’s a great brand called Licorice Allsorts. Not only does it boast the same great taste you licorice-lovers come to expect and crave, its unique appearance adds to the fun of eating. One bag contains licorice shaped in pink, orange, blue and white cubes and sprinkled spheres.
My very first experience with licorice was a bad one. I tried a string of black licorice when I was in kindergarten and it seemed as if I would never be able to wash that strong taste out of my mouth. That day, my teacher had to coax me with a cherry Blow-pop to calm me down. Ever since then, I have been extremely wary of any type of licorice. When I bravely decided to try Licorice Allsorts, I was pleasantly surprised by not only its welcoming designs and easy-to-eat shapes, but also by the taste. They didn’t taste at all like the black licorice string I first tasted so many years ago.
Licorice dates as far back in history as 5000 years ever since the Chinese first thought that eating licorice root was healthy. It was even found among King Tut’s treasures! Even he was a fan of the chewy confection and found it important enough to be buried with them by his side. I am now a licorice fan. It’s fun to eat and also a great social treat for its fun colors.