Well well well, is it mid-November already? I feel like it was just October, and we were just watching the Shining in the dark with all the lights out so we didn't have to give out any candy, all Scrooge-like. Actually, we just do that for effect. We never get any trick-or-treaters anymore. Is trick-or-treating even still a thing? Here's that Halloween Candy post everyone seems to like, just in case you haven't read it. That was from back when we actually DID give out candy.
Now, though, we don't eat as much candy anymore, but we did have quite an amusing conversation about it.
Here it is, memorialized in post form. We started out posing the simple question "What IS the best candy bar in the world?"
Stephan will begin:
SC: OK, excluding snooty specialty chocolate (though Lula’s salted caramels—Come. on.), or even imported ones (Lion Bars are the bomb, but any that you get stateside are ALWAYS stale).
Undisputed number one, for a million years running: Snickers. It has everything you want, it has everything you need, it appeals to pretty much everyone (except for people with peanut allergies, who, sadly, probably can’t eat any candy bars anyway, and MY GOD IT MUST SUCK SO BAD). Plus it has been around since we were kids, so it turns out, you can go home again, at least in terms of candy bars.
Lori and I disagree slightly from here on out. Here’s my list:
Kit Kat. I love this candy bar, mostly because it’s crunch and chocolatey, but also because I can trick myself into thinking I’m being good by only eating three of the bars. I’m easily fooled.
Nestle Crunch. A sentimental favorite. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but it just works. Rice krispies in chocolate. If you don’t like that, I’m afraid we can’t be friends.
This is when I chime in:
LC: Hey, what about Butterfinger? Are you mental? That clearly belongs as # 2. In fact, every one of my favorite candy bars (aside from Snickers, on that we agree) contains peanut butter in some form, because peanut butter is the world’s most wonderful food.
Fun fact: I was one of those SUPER picky eater kids, and I survived by eating one peanut butter on wheat bread sandwich for lunch every day until I was 18 years old. Let me substantiate this claim by telling you that I have still not tried certain foods like Brussels Sprouts, and I only dared to try an artichoke when I was in my 30s. Yes, it was that crazy. For this reason, all of my favorite candy bars include peanut butter. Sorry, that’s just how it is.
My # 2 choice goes to Butterfinger. What, exactly, are those pieces of peanut-buttery flake things made of? You know what? Don’t even tell me. Butterfingers are so good, I would eat a whole bag of those little Halloween ones if I allowed them into the house, which I do not, for this very reason.
My # 3 choice goes to Whatchamacallit. DELICIOUS, and probably the most underrated and underreported of the candies. The perfect blend of chocolate, peanut butter (note the theme) and crispy things. I feel like the Nestle Crunch and the (obvious knock-off) Krackel bar are just Whatchamacallits without the peanut butter, and that is just wrong.
# 4—Continuing with the “peanut butter is vital to everything” concept, I will select the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as my # 4 fave. The only problem with the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is that they are just over too fast. Why do I feel like a Butterfinger lasts longer? Is it because you’re still picking those peanut butter flakes out of your teeth for half an hour after you eat one? Also: Reese’s is really good as a fro-yo topping.
SC: Yes, I went mental for a moment. Butterfinger. How on earth did I leave that one out? It’s such a strong second position (notice I didn’t say “number two”?) that I could occasionally swap it out with the top position, depending on how high I am. Good call.
I’m with you on the peanut butter thing, and I reiterate—I feel so damn bad for people with peanut allergies. It is my dear hope that each of them get reincarnated in the next life as someone who gets to eat all the sweet, peanut-and-chocolatey goodness that this plane of existence can provide.
LC: hey, you know what’s gross? Straight peanuts in chocolate. Like Mr. Goodbars, or Babe Ruths. I just don’t like that “crunch” feeling in my candy bar. Except for Snickers, the Greatest Candy Bar on Earth, which is exempt from any and all rules and criticisms. I also object to other crunchy nuts in chocolate, like almonds and hazelnuts, because just….how dare you?
SC: Disagree, but not strongly enough to get into some shit about it. I liked me a Mr. Goodbar when I was a kid, although, does anyone else remember the Hershey’s pack of minis from Halloween? If I recall, they contained, in miniature form: Hershey bars (plain, but the old reliable workhorse of the chocolate world, right?), Hershey bars with almonds (I liked them, but wouldn’t fight about it), Mr. Goodbar (mentioned above: pretty darn good), and then there was Krackel (agreed, their unabashed ripoff of a Nestle Crunch Bar), and Special Dark, which, when you’re a kid, if someone gave you one of those, it’s like they were mad at you. But the thing I found that was most curious about the last two is that I never, ever saw them in the full bar size. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think they were embarrassed about their almost libelous ripoff of the Crunch Bar and just plain ashamed of the Special Dark to make full sized versions.
I, too, love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so much that I might have to again revise and put them in my #3 position. But: I actually like the crunchy peanut butter version. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you a) either don’t remember that, or b) if you did, you will vehemently dispute me on this point.
LC: I do remember the crunchy version. Again, as the World’s Pickiest Eater, I did not appreciate the variety offered by the actual whole peanuts in the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that I liked so much. Of course, once I was 35, I tried crunchy peanut butter for the first time, and now I like that even better than regular, so it’s possible that, were I re-introduced to crunchy version today, I would like that one better too.
Side note: didn’t your parents always end up eating the Special Dark bars? I sometimes think that parenthood is all tiredness and leftover candy, which might explain why I am not a parent. It does give me a new appreciation for my mom, though. She would totally eat those Special Darks for me, though now that I am recalling it, she ALSO was a fan of the Snickers, and would sometimes mock-wrestle me for those.
SC: Although I’m sure she’d let you win. Because sacrificing for their children is what parents do. It’s funny—I’m now a much bigger dark chocolate fan now than I was when I was a kid. When I was a kid, dark chocolate was, like, some twisted bastard’s idea of what chocolate should be. I imagined some inventor in a lab somewhere declaring, “I know what kids like! Chocolate! Only without the sugar! And really fucking bitter!” I think something happens to our palates when we get older—I know mine has changed to crave way more bitter flavors. That being said, if we had kids, I’d steal the shit out of those Snickers bars on Halloween. Given everything that I see our friends who have kids do for their kids, I think fair is fair.
Have we come full circle?
LC: I actually trained myself to like Dark Chocolate because I read in a women’s magazine that eating several pieces of dark chocolate after a meal would help you not eat dessert. Isn’t that SO anorexi-girl of me? I mean, when you get old, you have to count every fucking calorie, so I guess it’s good that I started that a few years ago. Now I can have exactly three pieces of that Dove Dark Chocolate before I have to sentence myself to extra treadmill time the next day. Snickers? Special occasion only, baby.
SC: Yep. The tragic truth: We can’t even write a piece IMAGINING listing our favorite candy bars without adding a disclaimer about how we actually can’t eat them. These are your 40s, kids. Savor your youth. And your Snickers bars.