As a writer, there’s always that glimmer of hope that I’ll craft something meaningful and well-written enough to go viral and maybe even change the world. After a couple of hundred posts on several blog sites, this has never happened to me. Alas, this is probably not that post, either. But if it makes you smile, then it was still worth the effort.
Over the years, I have developed a reputation as a candy corn aficionado. And it’s absolutely true. The About Me on one of my old blog sites says “Hi, I’m Greg, lover of classic rock, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Brach’s Candy Corn.” However, it may even be more accurate to say I’m a candy corn snob. For me, as written in the old About Me, it’s the Brach’s brand or nothing.
Now that I think about it, that’s not entirely true. On rare occasions, during the candy corn offseason of November through July, when candy corn withdrawals are at their peak, I have tried the Jelly Belly candy corn flavored jelly beans. This is just fakery – a jelly bean trying to imitate candy corn flavor. And it really doesn’t work. Maybe they modeled the flavor on the inferior Zachary brand.
‘Tis the Season
Much like the Christmas tree display at Wal Mart, candy corn seems to appear in stores earlier and earlier each year. Obviously, it’s marketed as a Halloween candy, but I think this year I saw it shortly after July 4th. (Hey Brach’s make a red, white and blue ‘Merica version and sell it in June!)
Candy corn appearing early is good and bad for me. Good, because by mid-summer I have missed “my precious”, but bad, because I will buy it and add it to the daily diet. I justify it as glycogen recovery pills post running. I’m doing better this year, with only two pounds devoured so far. That’s only because I bought one pound bags twice and not the three-pounder. Technically it’s 2.03 pounds, which I’ll explain in a minute.
In the last few years, Brach’s has added limited-edition special flavors of candy corn during the fall season. For example, one year there was sea salt chocolate, and another there was red velvet. To my sweet tooth, both of these sounded awesome, and I, of course, purchased bags and shared my opinions on Facebook, sort of a public service announcement. Sadly, neither of these were home runs. Ground rule doubles, maybe, but not ones I bought again. One special addition that was a home run was perhaps called Bunny corn – think pastel-colored candy corn, which appeared one year around Easter. I thought it was great but I haven’t found it since. Maybe it was a dream.
Which brings me to this year’s special flavor. When my son first sent me an image of the lastest Brach’s experiment, I thought it was a pretty funny meme. After all, who would want Turkey Dinner flavored candy corn? The package wasn’t advertising one flavor, but a package with six common Thanksgiving dinner food flavors: roasted turkey, stuffing (must be the northern version, since we call it dressing ’round here), ginger glazed carrot, cranberry sauce, green bean, and sweet potato pie. Gross, but funny meme, I thought.
Soon, others alerted me to this new offering. I did some research, and it appeared to be true. Had Brach’s lost its mind? This combination of flavors did not sound the least bit appealing, especially to someone with a sweet tooth. But in the interest of being the candy corn connoisseur, I knew I had to give it a review. Who knows, maybe I’d be pleasantly surprised like that time I expected Caddyshack 2 to suck and it didn’t. Wait. Never mind.
Well, weeks went by and there was no Turkey Dinner flavor to be found in Lexington, South Carolina. There was plenty of candy corn, mellow creme pumpkins (also a favorite), and harvest corn (meh), but no Turkey Dinner. I searched Wally World, Walgreens, CVS, Lowe’s Foods, and Dollar General. I even made it to the Target parking lot but was too lazy to run in. It was starting to seem like a hoax after all. A friend said I could order it on Amazon. I was about to pull the trigger on Amazon when my daughter came home last Sunday night with a bag of it. Walgreens in Lexington for the win…or was it?
Let the Tasting Begin
I was tempted to start my taste testing immediately on Sunday night. However, it was almost bedtime, and I had already brushed my teeth for the evening. I decided to start bright and early Monday after a good night’s sleep. Visions of turkey drums danced in my head.
First thing Monday morning, I posted a picture of the acquisition to my personal Facebook page and told of my taste testing plans. “Stay Tuned,” I wrote. Then, I took the bag into work and put ‘Taste Test’ at the top of my to-do list.
Shortly after arriving at work, a co-worker who’d seen the Facebook post stopped by to see if I was serious about the Turkey Dinner bag. I produced it from my backpack, and we proceeded to sample a few pieces. Oh my. Not good. I think my first piece was roasted turkey.
Turns out, I had trouble telling the difference between what I thought was roasted turkey flavor and the stuffing flavor. My coworker recognized ginger in his piece, so we assumed it was the ginger glazed carrot. Soon, I went about the business of sorting the pieces and trying to determine which color aligned to the flavors by sampling each color. The cranberry sauce and green bean were obvious, the rest not so much. I sampled for a few minutes and had to stop. My guesses are written on the picture.
2020 Candy Mascot
Since I’ve written too much already, here’s the summary: if 2020 needed a candy mascot this is it. It’s truly awful. Just when I thought one flavor couldn’t be any worse, the next niblet proved me wrong. I didn’t think anything could take the place of black licorice at the bottom of the candy rankings, but I was wrong.
I honestly only ate about 10 pieces total (the .03 pounds) of either roasted turkey, stuffing, ginger glazed carrot, or sweet potato pie before becoming nauseous. That’s why I stopped. I never could determine which was roasted turkey or stuffing, and I couldn’t bring myself to try again the rest of the week. So, my picture may not be 100% accurate.
Here’s my ranking of the flavors:
- Cranberry sauce (but not worth eating more than a couple)
- Green bean (much better than expected given my dislike of real green beans, but still bad)
- All others tied for last
In conclusion, if you went to Grandma’s house for a Turkey Dinner and it tasted like this, you’d be trying to find a gas station Subway on the way home to order a turkey sandwich in hopes of saving the day.
Thanks for reading,
PS – Writing streak continues at 115, but I am behind schedule with the new book.
PPS – For the candy corn haters: