Surviving The Candy Dish

My young years were spent in the company of the aged.  My father was a preacher, which means I drank a lot of leftover grape juice and grew up around rest homes and mortuaries. As a result I learned a great deal about senior citizens and today I want to tell you this; “The elderly are holding out on us.”

You read me correctly, The AARP set has lived long enough to know exactly what they are doing, and if you assume that they’re doddering around waiting for death to grab them then you’ve walked into a trap like Han Solo on Cloud City.

They’re letting us think that we’re living it up with our tight dungarees and high maintenance hairstyles, but imagine how much fun they’re having in retirement.  Right now stress is killing us but we could be reading the paper, having an light lunch, hitting the links for 9 holes, beating the crowd to a buffet dinner, and winding down with a bowl of Jell-O and Alex Trebek…  while wearing breathable fabrics and a Gilligan hat.

The most egregious place they are holding out on us is at the coffee table candy dish.  Do you seriously believe that people who keep the Tic Tac company producing the orange flavor really enjoy the terrible candy that they leave out for the guests?  This is the generation that delivers the See’s candy at holidays; they whip out the good stuff for the invite only viewings of “Murder She Wrote.”

Having spent endless afternoon hours sampling the contents of countless Swarovski bowls here are my tips for surviving the perils of a septuagenarians candy offering.

5 candies you’re likely to find and how to handle yourself around them.

The Root Beer Barrel– Most of us enjoy a Root Beer Barrel from time to time, but it’s not the flavor you have to watch out for with this candy, it’s the seam along the edge.  Root Beer Barrels split at the seam and then open up in your mouth like a Bic-Twin shaver.  Wedge it in your cheek but be careful changing positions, the Root Beer Barrel is second only to Cap’n Crunch in damaging the soft palate.

The Butterscotch Disc– Nothing says, “Hello, I’m old and cheap” like the Butterscotch Disc.  Honestly, butter enhanced candies are delicious but the Butterscotch Disc is more Dr. Skipper than Dr. Pepper.  The difference in price between a bag of Bd’s and some Werther’s Originals is the price humans place on friendship.

The Starlight Mint– Eating a startlight mint is like drinking liquor, while it clearly has an evening or after dinner appeal, it doesn’t do anything good for you on a Saturday afternoon, which is exactly when you’re being seated in front of them.  Have some, but don’t expect they’re going to do anything good for your breath.

The Honey Sesame Chew– Let’s get real people, this isn’t even really candy.  It’s nutrition disguised as a snack.  When it comes to sweets, anything that you can find occurring naturally in the wild hasn’t been cutting is since the crusades.  If the candy dish is filled with this dreck, pretend that you left your wallet on the dash of your car, excuse yourself to retrieve it but never come back.

Gum Drops– What warning could I possibly impart to you about one of history’s most beloved soft chews?  Beware the spice drops. If you’ve ever put an orange gumdrop in your mouth only to discover that the flavor is CLOVE then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  While exactly alike in appearance, Gum Drops are fruit flavored and Spice Drops are clove, pimenta, cinnamon, cardamom, spearmint, anise, and wintergreen flavored.  I’m warning you that senior centers are filled with candies flavored like the voyage of Marco Polo.  Here’s my survival tip: Most GUM DROPS do not contain the color white in their assortments.  If you see a white gum drop in the dish, sniff for wintergreen. If it smells like a stick of Wrigley’s, poke it down into the couch and back away from the dish.

What’s the wackiest candy you’ve encountered while being hosted? Hit me up with a personal “must have” or “must avoid” of your own!

As A Bonus:

Strawberry Crème- This is the white whale of the candy dish, very rarely seen and dangerous to encounter.  Wrapped in strawberry printed cellophane, the Strawberry Crème begins as a pretty good hard candy but slowly breaks down to reveal a center that for all intents and purposes leaves you with a mouth full of warm strawberry butter… not for the faint of heart.


Be advised, you are on your own recognizance.


8 Responses to “Surviving The Candy Dish”

  1. Sharon O April 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    This is so funny reminds me of my sisters apartment at the Avemere living assisted home. (yes she lives there at age 58) She has bowls of candy that look very tempting yet I know that they are also very old. Like perhaps since 2007?
    She replaces them sometimes but doesn’t throw the old out so how does one know which is good? a bad dilema for one who enjoys chocolate and doesn’t mind sneaking a bite or two.
    (no I don’t… I buy my own)

    • Jon April 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      Hilarious! It’s so funny to know that it happens to everybody!

  2. Milo Curtis April 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Tootsie Rolls qualifications
    – cheap
    – long shelf life

    Note: if it “snaps” when you eat it, consider it from the previous decade.

    • Jon April 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      So true, The midgees go bad faster than the stubbies and the cigarillos!

  3. Amy Larson April 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Don’t forget the ubiquitous Butter Mints, or my personal nemesis… Applets and Cotlets. GAG! Those rank up there with the Honey Sesame Chew, but are more like a nasty fruitcake in bite-sized, gelatinous chunks.

    Thanks for the laugh!!

    • Jon April 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      Oh my word, don’t breathe in when you are biting an applet! You’ll choke on the sugar dust. Fantastic Amy, thanks for sharing.

  4. Rene Hackett April 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    What about the infamous and always disappointing PEZ? The fun-colored candy wrapper makes you feel like you’re in for a real treat! Not only does the dispenser loading process take major hand-eye coordination, but the “candy” inside packs an offensively tasteless, chalky, un-fruity punch! :-)

    • Jon April 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      Not to mention that it’s usually hard enough to crack molars! Spot on.

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