Neon colors and novelty shapes are not usually the hallmarks of quality food. So I was surprised last week when a colleague who is a serious foodie brought in a mix of peanuts, plain M&Ms and candy corn.
I understood the M&Ms -- along with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, they're the only things I'm even tempted to steal from my kids'
haul -- but candy corn? Really?
"They just feel autumny," said John-
IV, recalling how the tri-colored candies topped the Halloween cupcakes he had as a kid. "It reminds me of being young."
Years, maybe decades, had passed since I'd had candy corn, so I sampled one of John-John's. They weren't as sickly sweet as I'd expected. (I think they benefited from having been mixed with the salty peanuts.) But I still wouldn't seek them out.
That said, I truly appreciate the candy -- and John-John -- for inspiring this week's list:
Top Ten Polarizing Holiday Candies
1. Candy corn
2. Candy pumpkins
Same thing as candy corn, only shaped like a gourd and bigger. Sometimes less is more.
The oozing fake-egg center inside the chocolate shell fascinates kids. To the rest of us, it's what tomatoes were to
: something that looks like it's "still in the larval stage."
4. Candied cherries
I have the same "larval" complaint about these chocolate-covered treats, which tend to show up at Christmas and Valentine's Day
5. Conversation hearts
If you have to say it through Necco wafers, the relationship is doomed.
6. Jelly beans
Dentists love their stick-to-your-
Untoasted marshmallows are an abomination, no matter how cute they look. Their only redeeming social value is as a crafts project: peeps sushi.
8. Whitman's sampler
Pair it with a carnation-filled bouquet at Valentine's Day and watch your romance die.
9. Ribbon candy
My aunt and uncle always had this at their house
. We thought it was the height of elegance. I'm sure our sticky hands and faces were anything but.
10. Candy canes