Tag Archives: Samira Kawash

In the News: Weekly Roundup

Halloween approacheth, and with it come stories of all sorts about one of my all-time favorite foodstuffs: CANDY! Demonize it if you will — I certainly do, though my naysayings are often tongue-in-cheek — but candy remains one of my solidest, most unadulterated pleasures, even at my age. I’m not saying I’m getting on in years, though most people (by 26) have replaced candy with loftier enjoyments like going to the MoMA, drinking fine scotch, or watching the Roomba suck up every bit of dust from their hardwood floors. Not I! Here are some candy-themed pieces that are thoughtful, enlightening, or just plain fun.

OH MY GOD: I am so jealous of these kids.

This New York Times article profiles Samira Kawash, the so-called “Candy Professor” whose personal obsession with the social history of candy propelled her to create a blog on the subject (and retire from academia to pursue her sweets-research). Saveur presents a gallery of international candy bars — I’d like to try the Idaho Spud, dumpy as its packaging is (or perhaps because of the dumpy packaging). Sugarcrafter offers a recipe for homemade candy corn, which I may try, and the LA Times highlights the Mendez family, who make traditional Mexican confections using generations-old recipes. In cultural nostalgia-related news, Willy Wonka’s flavor changing gum has been produced! We’re still waiting on Fizzy Lifting Drink. Actual candy more your bag? Check out the world’s largest gummy worm. (Note: I disagree with the author’s assessment of the confection as “gross.” How rude! “Genius” is more like it.) Finally, in gripes, City Pages’ Rachel Hutton echoes the claim that Fun Size bars are getting smaller. Snickers hasn’t yet responded to Hutton’s inquiry about reduced bar size, but the article features a picture of a Fun Size bar next to a tape measure, so, I mean, the accusation is probably true.

That’s all the news from Lake Woebegone. This weekend, I’ll be carving a pumpkin, ransacking my closet for something that could be used as a costume, and enjoying individually-wrapped candies, of course! It’s never as fun to purchase for oneself said candies, but I’m afraid that my inability to pass for a tween renders any other collection method impossible. Oh, well: that’s why Assortments were created.



Candy Day: October’s Original Sweet Celebration

Were you aware that Halloween was not the first candy-centric holiday scheduled in October? That, in fact, Candy Day-cum-Sweetest Day was the original Celebration of Sugar? I wasn’t until I read this article by Samira Kawash, which explores the celebration’s origins and the myths created to divert public attention from the fact that this “holiday” was really nothing more than a marketing scheme. Scheme or not, Candy Day seems to me like a mighty fine idea. Considering our huge collective guilt (real or feigned) surrounding the consumption of candy, that Worst of Non-Nutritive Substances*, why not specify a day on which people of all ages, creeds, colors, and religions can come together as one for the purpose of horqing sugary treats? True, Halloween mostly meets this social need, but its purpose is muddied with a shared emphasis on supernatural lore and prank-playing. Why not reinstate Candy Day, devoting to candy the undivided national time and attention it deserves? So few foods enjoy the benefits of bringing joy to the eater, having little-to-no nutritive value, and not making any bones about being unhealthy, so give candy its fair due! It’s sweet, it’s cheering, and it presents itself honestly. If only we could say the same about most of our social contacts, eh?

(Note: I did not get paid by the Candymakers Association of America to post this entry. I just really, really love candy.)


*Samira Kawash also writes eloquently on our guilt-fueled relationship with candy, which lacks the “health halo” that exonerates other crap foods like granola bars, energy bars, and Enhanced Water Beverages.