Tiburón -Shark- Žralok

Tiburón -Shark- Žralok: Writing Cooking Traveling

Monday, November 2, 2009


Halloween has passed and the leftover debris of that nigh of sugar and alcohol fueled debauchery now sit in neat little boxes at office reception areas where people waiting pick at fun sized bags of chocolate and candy. They don't serve the leftover alcohol at these reception areas because there wasn't any leftover alcohol. But post-Halloween candy is always in abundance. As kids we understood that that was the whole point. On Halloween you created a stash, a bag or a bucket full of refined sugar, something to hold us over until Thanksgiving. But now candy is bad.
Except its really not.

Candy is such a visceral experience, innocent as childhood, fun, impulsive, pointless, and sweeeeeet. The stigma around it is undeserved, I feel. The only reason kids binge on candy is because they are not allowed to have it or they are allowed to have too much of it. Instead of celebrating it as a treat, kids scream and kick and demand it when they pass it at the pharmacy or supermarket or deli, and if parents give in or if kids are forced to sneak candy on they side, they gorge on it, taking its delicate magic for granted. This is not the kids' fault. Kids don't understand the consequences of too much of a good thing they just know what they love. Parents in this age of over-abundance have forgotten how to eat properly or they eat too properly, so they are rendered useless when it comes to teaching their child how to eat candy properly, and there is a way. Candy is an impulsive desire, a rush of happiness that should be savored not abused, and that becomes deadened if candy is handed out too often or not at all. The easiest solution would be to have more candy stores and less candy aisles.

New York City has several candy meccas: Dylan's Candy Bar, Economy Candy, the Hershey Store, and Max Brenner. Other notable candy shops I've visited are The Olde Candy Shoppe in Boston, with walls lined up to the ceiling with jars of candy and eccentric antiques like stuffed leopards and weird lamps; a candy store in Madrid that had every inch of wall covered with displays of colorful, barely identifiable candy, dried fruit, and nuts, and of course the candy store in the biggest mall in the Caribbean, Plaza las Americas, where as a child I would always buy a bag of gummy worms and eat them as I followed my mom and my aunt to boring stores. What they all have in common: sheer, beautiful, colorful quantity and variety.

Candy stores, like Halloween, are once in a while explorations. To do them more often than once is to kill their magic, which is exactly what the overabundance of candy aisles has done. They create the possibility of candy so often that a treat becomes a threat. There is something incredibly thrilling about seeing stacks and stacks of candy, gummy bears, coconut chocolate turtles, sour patch kids, twizlers, malt balls, hard candies, M&M's arranged in blues, reds, pinks, yellows, greens, gummy sharks, chocolate-covered peanuts... it goes on and on and on... then dipping a small shovel into a chosen bin and scooping out loot. Once again you're creating a stash. Its like a mini-Halloween, an event and a trip, instead of a bad idea. Because the other thing these stacks and stacks of candy do to a child is they overwhelm them. They couldn't possibly have all of it, much less stuff it all into a bag, so they become selective. They create assortments that won't bleed into the rest of the week because the portion control is built in and more than anything they are getting exactly what they want.

So if you want to boycott anything, boycott the candy aisles and large bags of generic candy shit. Get the good stuff. Its a bit of a walk (all candy stores require a bit of a walk) and the quality is infinitely better. And if you need a fix now, don't go downstairs to the deli, just visit the reception area. They usually have a little bowl of sin taunting the poor receptionist. Or, you know, have a cookie.

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