Irrefutable Visual Evidence That Starburst Candy Sucks

We bought too much candy for the wet and rainy Beggars’ Night in New Albany.  Or, more precisely, we bought too much of the wrong candy — namely, Starburst.

IMG_1588On Beggars’ Night, we had our customary basket of multiple candy options to offer trick-or-treaters.  Only the youngest and most inexperienced ghosts and goblins grabbed Starbursts.  Every other Halloweener dug furiously through the contents of the basket, like a dog clawing the ground to uncover a bone, in a desperate attempt to find Butterfingers, Reese’s minis, or even Skittles.  When the last trick-or-treater had rung the doorbell, taken a sad look at what was left in the basket, and departed with a painful sigh, we were left with enough Starbursts to float a small battleship.

We didn’t want them around the house, obviously.  No problem! I thought.  I’ll just take them to the office, plop them next to the coffee station on our floor, and the perpetually hungry denizens of the fifth floor would feel the urge of their sweet tooth and consume all of the candy in the blink of an eye.  Donuts, other baked goods, and anything with chocolate have been known to disappear faster than the speed of light, and occasionally there are tense standoffs as secretaries, paralegals, and attorneys eye the last brownie or piece of birthday cake.  So I put the Starburst in a bag, took it to work, and left it to be rapidly consumed.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found this half-full bag of Starburst when I was leaving for the day at 6 p.m. tonight.  It is an unheard-of development that speaks volumes about the quality of the candy.  So I decided to conduct the crucial acid test and leave the bag for the overnight cleaning crew to enjoy.  If any Starburst are left tomorrow morning, it can only mean one thing:  Starburst candy truly sucks.

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Your Head In Chocolate, Just In Time For Valentine’s Day

The Japanese always are pushing the envelope on novel uses of technology.  Now they’ve broken new ground in the crucial edible chocolate head category.

The face chocolatizing process is straightforward.  You go to a cafe in Tokyo and stand in a scanning device that takes a three-dimensional image of your face and head.  The 3D image is then used to create a mold of your face.  Pour chocolate into the mold, let it set, and voila! — you’ve got a chocolate version of your face that you can mount on a stick, lollipop-style, or pop into your mouth like a bon bon.  This BBC video story shows the process, and reports that participants believe it results in very accurate likenesses.

It’s gratifying to see modern technology used to make the world a better place, and any advances in chocolate candy preparation will be welcomed by the billions of chocoholics found world-wide.  Still, I think there’s something both narcissistic and creepy about candy representations of an actual human face.  If you were dating someone, would you want them to give you a box full of their face in chocolate?  Wouldn’t it feel kind of grotesque to be eating their face — or, if the roles were reversed, to know that they were eating your face?

There’s a fine line between romance and weirdness, and I think this advance crosses it.  If someone gave me a box of their chocolate faces for Valentine’s Day, I’d worry that stalking is probably right around the corner.

Chocolate Therapy

Usually when a doctor starts talking about “healthy eating,” you groan inwardly and steel yourself to hearing about leafy green vegetables or other slimy, bitter, or tasteless items.  Now, there’s hope that “healthy eating” won’t limit us to awful foodstuffs that must be choked down over the gag reflex.

A recent study, of more than 37,000 Swedes, indicates that eating chocolate may protect the brain from stroke. Study participants who ate the most chocolate were 17 percent less likely to have a stroke.

That study follows on other research that indicates that consuming chocolate may improve the health of your heart, that chocolate has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-clotting effects, and that chocolate may reduce concentrations of “bad cholesterol” and lower blood pressure.  And — as any true chocoholic knows — munching on some of that dark, sweet goodness is going to improve your mood, too.  It’s a wonder drug!

Of course, researchers warn that you shouldn’t react to the study results by going on a four-Snickers-a-day diet; moderation remains important.  Still, it’s nice to know that when Mother Nature decided on foods that would promote good health, she decided to give us a break now and then.

Welcome Advances In Personal Chocolate Technology

As inventors have pushed the envelope in the areas of computers and cell phones, the field of personal chocolate technology has been sadly neglected.

The market would be huge.  What home entertainment area is complete without a device that allows you to create your own chocolate concoctions to nosh on as you watch your DVR’d movie and text your friends after updating your Facebook page?

Now British inventors have stepped into that void with a “chocolate printer”.  The device would allow its owners to create their own 3D chocolate concoctions.  You just melt come chocolate, place it into the printer, and let your creative juices flow.  And what would you rather get for Easter — a paper card with colorful bunnies, or a personalized candy card created by a chocolate printer, complete with its own edible ears?  Willy Wonka would be proud.

Of course, some impatient chocoholics probably couldn’t resist sticking their heads under the printer jet to get the melted chocolate directly from the source.

Raisins Would Never, Ever Make The Final Four!

Reese’s is running a clever 15-second commercial during NCAA Tournament games.  The ad, linked here, features progressively filled out brackets of the candy “Sweet Sixteen” until chocolate and peanut butter advance to the finals, and then says you can choose both.  Chocolate defeats nougat, coconut, and vanilla to reach the championship game, whereas peanut butter knocks off wafer, almonds, and raisins.

Unfortunately, the ad is ruined by that one, gross error — it shows raisins advancing to the Final Four. Raisins? Raisins?!?!

No self-respecting candy lover would ever choose a raisin-based concoction.  The fact that you can’t even think of a good raisin-oriented candy makes that point clear.  So far as I can tell, in the history of mankind there have been only two candies that featured raisins:  Chunky and Raisinets.  Chunky, which was a thick little brick filled with raisins, nuts, and other debris, was one of the worst candies in history.  Raisinets aren’t quite so bad — but if you had your choice between Goobers and Raisinets when you went to see a movie, wouldn’t you choose Goobers every time?

The fact that raisins made it to the Sweet 16 strongly suggests to me that the candy Sweet 16 was fixed.  First, raisins had to beat cream, then raisins had to beat mint.  There is no way raisins would win either of those matches unless the refs were in the pockets of the California raisin lobby.  The Final Four match-up between peanut butter and raisins must have been the most one-sided game in the history of the candy Final Four.