Posts Tagged With: candy

The Fruit Snack Theory

During my college days, I moved several times, prompting me to attend different congregations for church (in my church, geographical boundaries determine which congregation – or “ward” – you’re supposed to attend). At the beginning of each semester, I would try to make new friends in my ward. As I left for church each Sunday morning, I always put a few pieces of candy in my bag so that I would have something to snack on.

candy

One Sunday, a thought occurred to me while sitting in church: What if I sit by someone new and offer them a piece of candy? I thought it was brilliant. The first attempt went something like this:

Me: Hi, my name’s Katie!
Potential new friend #1: Oh, hi! I’m _______.
Me: It’s great to meet you! Would you like some Starburst?
Potential new friend #1: Oh, no thank you.

I tried again. The second attempt went something like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Katie!
Potential new friend #2: I’m __________.
Me: Oh, it’s so nice to meet you! Would you like some chocolate?
Potential new friend #2: I really shouldn’t, but thanks anyway.

I was devastated. It turned out that my brilliant new plan wasn’t so brilliant after all. Apparently it’s fairly easy for people to turn down candy, especially if they’re athletic or on a diet or not particularly hungry or think that candy doesn’t sound good in the morning…the list goes on.

A few weeks later, I had packed fruit snacks in my bag instead of candy. I decided to give fruit snacks a try. I offered them over and over again in the following weeks. And you know what? Not one person turned me down. I made a lot of new friends with very little effort and a great, casual icebreaker. Plus, we usually had a good laugh over the fact that a 20-something year old was carrying fruit snacks around in the first place.

Spongebob Fruit Snacks

You see, people who turn down candy don’t turn down fruit snacks, even though the sugar content is almost the same.

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I have had even better luck with fruit snack brands like Black Forest, Mott’s, and Welch’s because they advertise that they contain real fruit, giving the appearance that they are healthier. Also, when trying to make new friends in the morning, fruit snacks simply sound better than candy. It’s a great way to meet new people!

There you have it, my Fruit Snack Theory. Give it a try!

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S’more of what?

No movie scene about s’mores is quite as good as this one from Sandlot.

Ham: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?
Smalls: Some more of what?
Ham: No, do you wanna s’more?
Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham: You’re killing me Smalls!

As the weather warms up, sitting around campfires with my friends is becoming more frequent, and thus, so is my consumption of delicious, gooey marshmallows. Then I got to thinking, What exactly is a marshmallow?

The funniest thing is that during my research, I found this really detailed study guide all about marshmallows: http://www.enotes.com/marshmallow-reference/marshmallow.  If you don’t want to read all that (and who could blame you?), I’ll summarize the parts that I found especially interesting.

1. The first marshmallows came from a plant. Originally, they came from the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) plant, which is an herb used to soothe sore throats. They would make marshmallows by boiling the root pulp of the plant with sugar until it thickened. Then they would strain and cool the mixture.

2. The Egyptians used it as candy. As far back as 2000 B.C., Egyptians mixed the root with honey, and it was a treat only given to gods and royalty.

3. The marsh mallow root has medicinal qualities. Uses include a laxative, a poultice to treat inflammation, treating chest pains, soothing sore throats and coughs, and as an ointment. Despite these many uses, the root was only used on an individual scale and wasn’t mass-produced. Until the mid-19th century, only the wealthy tasted even the candy.

4. Modern-day marshmallows came from France. Turns out the French have done something to benefit all of us – they created marshmallows! However, the original process was expensive and took a long time to create each marshmallow because they used a candy mold for each individual marshmallow. The marsh mallow root sap was used to hold together the egg whites, corn syrup, and water.

5. Marshmallows were mass-produced with the introduction of the starch mogul system. I think “mogul” might be one of my favorite words (even though I always roll through moguls when skiing). Anyway…the new system, invented in about 1900, included a machine that automatically filled molds and then compressed them. Marshmallows were then mass-produced and sold as penny candy.

6. History of the marshmallow in the U.S. In 1955, there were about 35 manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States. Now, there are only three. They use a process called the extrusion process, which has lessened manufacturing time to about 1 hour to make a batch of marshmallows.

7. Basic ingredients of a marshmallow. So what is a marshmallow? The basic ingredients are corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, corn starch, modified food starch, gum, water, gelatin, and/or whipped egg whites. In a nutshell? Sugar and something to make it stick together 🙂

You can make your own marshmallows at home! I haven’t tried it yet, but here are a few different sites that give recipes:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/how-to-make-marshmallows.html
http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/06/springy-fluffy-marshmallows/
http://candy.about.com/od/marshmallowrecipes/ss/sbs_marshmallow.htm

Doesn’t seem too hard! But maybe a little messy. If you try making them, let me know how it goes! Happy s’more roasting!

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All We Wanna Do is Eat Your Brains

“We’re not unreasonable; I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes.”

Okay, first, take a few minutes and listen to this fantastic song, Re: Your Brains, by Jonathan Coulton (warning: contains one mild curse word).

Lovely, isn’t it? It’s one of those songs that makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Anyway…Thursday night (i.e., the night before the December 21st “end of the world”), I had a zombie apocalypse nightmare. I have nightmares a lot (one of the lucky few who never outgrew it), but I have never had zombies in a nightmare. Until Thursday night. Of course, the timing is a little too perfect to be a coincidence. Side note: I’m not entirely sure why we were all fascinated by the Mayan prediction. After all, the massive Mayan nation was wiped out by European diseases several centuries ago–clearly their prediction skills were lacking.

So what did I do? Naturally, I posted about my nightmare on Facebook.

And thus began the onslaught of hilarious zombie apocalypse comments. In the midst of these–most of which made me giggle like an 8 year old–a friend commented that he had heard a radio announcer talking about having a brain fluid leak out his nose (ew, by the way) that tasted sweet. This considerate friend then suggested that I carry candy with me so that I can just hand it out to the zombies to satisfy their brain cravings, should I ever be faced with an apocalyptic setting–a reasonable suggestion, considering the absurdity of the entire conversation.

But wait–brain fluid tastes sweet!?! I couldn’t resist the urge to learn something new. I researched online, and sure enough, the medical sources agree. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) leaks are often described by patients as tasting metallic, salty, or sweet. Who knew, right?

Alas, the world did not end on Friday, utterly wasting my sleepless night amid the zombies in my imagination. However, I may be packing my backpack with suckers, just in case.

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