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by Kevin Shalin
Do you remember what it was like to dig into that disgustingly awesome piece of candy when you were a kid? At the time, absolutely nothing in life was as pleasurable. Sadly, many of those vintage sweets are gone from today’s mainstream market. Sure, you can still find many of them, but it usually takes a little more effort than popping into your favorite convenience store. For those yearning to harken back to simpler times gone by, here is my list of Top 10 Candies of Your Youth.
If this list takes you back like it did me, be sure to SHARE IT with your friends.
Every, and I mean every, youth soccer game concluded with me running up to the concession stand and ordering an Astro Pop. This pointy stick of chewable hard candy started with a layer of yellow, which led to green, then finished with red. No one ever got to the red part, but if you did, and still had all your teeth, a delicious, uneatable wax-base was waiting for you. As an added bonus, you could literally clamp your mouth shut by biting down hard on an Astro Pop.
Sure, the bubble gum option of these cigarettes was a heck of a lot cooler because they came equipped with a puff of “smoke,” but the candied version were pretty awesome in their own right. Those crazy 1980s … a wild decade in which a kid purchasing make-believe cigs was not only condoned but encouraged.
Flat Jolly Ranchers
Jolly Ranchers now come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors, but back in the day, all the cool kids nursed a flat, lollypop-type version. It was quite the status symbol. Heck, I’d even use it to stir my “suicide” mixture of various fountain sodas. *Note: I also used the Astro Pop for this function.
Kids love anything associated with dinosaurs, so it was no surprise that this gobstopper ruled the day … back in the day. The eggs would change colors and flavors the more and more you sucked. And with the proper dedication, you could even get to the sugary powered centered within a week.
I had a legitimate fear of this candy. Why? Because its extreme, 30-second sour punch packed such a wallop that I could actually feel the taste buds on the back of my tongue disintegrate.
Truthfully, there was nothing too special about Bottle Caps (the popular, Smartie-like, sugary tablet candy), but those packets of three were always crammed into plastic Easter eggs, and provided for a nice, post-hunt alternative to melted M&M’s.
Ahhhh … the stretchable, threaded candy necklace — possessed by all and enjoyed by many. At 30, you wouldn’t dare gnaw on a necklace full of hard candy, but at 10, this was considered the good life.
You mean I can simultaneously eat candy AND blow on a whistle? Sign me up. This suckable, music-making version of a Blow Pop is sadly no longer on the market.
The solid, utilitarian Spree candy was the working kids candy—no frills, easily accessible and pure sugar. In about an hour, I could crush an entire tube of these chewy delights with the candy-coated shell.
Soooo … you take a candy stick and dip it into various flavors of sugar. What a concept! And it lasted forever! At the end of it all, you had a reddish-purple tongue to go with matching fingertips. This candy is why Adderall was invented.
Did I miss any of your favorites? If so, please leave us some suggestions in the comment box below.
Kevin Shalin, who has spent time living in Houston, Boston and Little Rock, is a writer of all things food related. His work has appeared on the Houston Press food blog Eating Our Words, as well as Eat Arkansas, Bourbon and Boots and his personal blog … The Mighty Rib.