#9: Candy Cornucopia

Oh look, a post about candy corn just in time for Halloween!  Look at me being prompt and seasonal.  Wait… what’s that you say? It’s mid-November and I’m too late for an All Hallow’s Eve article?  Nonsense!  It’s never too late in Erica’s magical mental kingdom (a scary, scary, fabulous place).  So, lets dive it, shall we? 

(disclaimer: I fucking hate candy corn.)

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Candy. Cornucopia.

Candy corn isn’t a new kid on the block.  The tricolored treat touts roots all the way back to the 1880’s.  George Renniger first conceptualized the treat while in his mid 20’s as an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company in good ole Philadelphia, PA.  This makes candy corn a Pennsylvania native, so 4 points for PA. Wooo!  The concept of a corn kernel was meant to appeal to the largely agrarian population of the United States.  That is why an early name for candy corn was “chicken feed,” referencing the main use for corn at the time.  Most folks couldn’t get their hands on the stuff until a larger company ran with the concept.  The Goelitz Confectionary Company starting pumping out candy corn from their Cincinnati based factory in 1898 (Goelitz has since changed their name to The Jelly Belly Candy Company.  How they went from producing awful sugar wax candy corn to delicious sugar wax jelly bellies is a mystery).  Candy corn’s popularity is accredited to the revolutionary scheme of THREE colors on ONE candy.  Whoa.  Talk about mind blowing.  But really, producing the layers was a time consuming task performed by hand.  An employee known as the “stringer” would walk down the line of corn starch filled molds, first pouring in the white tip, then a layer of orange, and finally a yellow base.  The process is done by machines now but the corn starch molding is still utilized.  How vintage!

So what actually goes into the stuff?  And how is it made? (cue “How It’s Made TLC video” #lazy #thanksyoutube #itsonly3minutessowatchit)

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Here is a recap for those of you who didn’t watch the video (I know you. I know how you are).  Fondant of sugar and corn syrup–> add more sugar and some gelatin–> incorporate air to make a meringue–> add colors–> pour into corn starch dotted with holes to mold–> glaze–> done.  I asked my go to food chemistry pro John Coupland for his input on the crystal structure of candy corn.  He tweeted back.  Cuz we are internet friends now.  I’M FAMOUS.

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(in case you missed the now famous bisexual/emulsifier pic, you can check it out at #8: The Magic of Mayo)

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Power. to. the. People.

It’s rare for a food to inspire such violent rage or unwavering adoration as what is seen with candy corn.  Folks seem to either crave the waxy kernels with a Twilight-esque thirst (#halloweenvampirereference) or scowl at the mere mention of our tricolored friend.  Is this trend true, or was I imagining things?  There was only one way to find out.  In true scientific fashion I conducted an unbiased, super strict, professional polling of a complete random sample of Americans (read: my friends on fb and in the Penn State LGBTQA Student Resource Center.  2/3 of these votes are from gayish college-aged kids in PA.). A very representative sample, to be sure.  So Candy Corn: Do you love it, hate it, or are you indifferent?

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The option of “love/hate” was not originally presented, but was born out of descriptions from pollers.

As we can see from my BEAUTIFUL excel chart, the hate camp is winning out by a slim margin.  With n=60 (60 people voting), there is actually no significant difference between haters and lovers.  But what I found the most interesting is the appearance of a “love/hate” group.  This was created by self-proclaimed love/haters who enjoy 1 or 2 pieces, but then develop a  violent disgust for the treat.  Here is a sampling of these opinions and others:

  • hate. ew. it tastes like chalk.
  • Love it but sometimes it makes me wanna vom.com
  • Hate it. But I always eat some EVERY year and immediately regret it. If I have to eat it I only eat the very tip– the white part.
  •  Indifferent. I only eat it with peanuts, and even then rarely.
  •  Hate it. Sugary candle wax.
  • vomit
  • OBSESSED.
  • Hate it but still eat it whenever I see it.
  • first time eating it for the season: love it. any time after that: hate it
  • The first one is good, but by the 3rd or 4th they are disgusting
  • I can really only eat about 10 pieces in one sitting, tops
  • It’s too sweet.  I like it at first then hate it
  • It’s horrible, but I continue to eat it, crying hysterically. Every time.  Sobbing uncontrollably.
  • Hate it. Is the texture that gets me and the after taste.
  • love it, but only the actual real deal traditional candy corn. not the pumpkins, not the chocolate candy corn, not the caramel apple spice candy corn, just sweet, sugary, honey-licious tri colored horn corns.

Like I said, it is a polarizing food.  As you may know I come down on the VOMIT side of things.  The only way I enjoy it is to eat 1 candy corn with 2-3  salted peanuts in the same bite.  It tastes exactly like the inside of a payday and gets rid of the cloying texture.  So fucking good.

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All. That. Food. Swag.

It seems like candy corn has found a way to infiltrate EVERYTHING in the last few years.  The autumnal behemoth was not content with millions of spin-off flavors for every holiday known to man.  Oh no.  They decided to pop up in other candies.  Charm’s produces a Candy Corn Flavored Lollipop.  Wrigley has launched an extension of their Starburst line that features Fruit Flavored Candy Corn. Russell Stover’s makes Candy Corn Taffy.  Hershey’s has developed Candy Corn White Chocolate Kisses along with Candy Corn M&Ms (I purchased a bag as serious field research… I ate two candies and threw the bag away.  Baaaaad).  Can you see the insanity of this trend?  Candy corn really doesn’t have a defining flavor – its sugar flavored sugar and wax.  Candy corn isn’t a strawberry or a peanut or some FOOD that has a defining TASTE.  Its a wad of sugar wax.  So my question to food companies is this: What is the point of flavoring existing sugary candies to taste like a different sugary candy that doesn’t have a remarkable flavor of it’s own in the first place? 

Candy is not the only realm of the ever lurking tri-colored beast.  A stroll down the cereal aisle circa 2001   would have landed you beside a derivative of Corn Pops known as Candy Corn Corn Pops.  Wtf Kellogg’s?  I mean, hell yeah I would try them if they were still in production, but just for the novelty.  How about a sip from the soda aisle, with Jones Soda Company’s limited edition Candy Corn Soda?   You can make a version of this at home by melting down candy corn in a bit of water until it is a syrup, then mixing this into club soda.  The latest and probably not greatest product that has the internet buzzing is Nabisco’s Candy Corn Oreos.  Candy. Corn. Oreos.  No, I did not purchase any for research, because I don’t want to waste money on shit I know that I will hate.  So instead I called up by bff Ellen and asked how she felt about the colorful cookies:

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There you go.  Ellen isn’t a fan.  While we are Youtubing, how’s about one more for the lolz?  Straight out of South Park, Colorado, here is Cartman’s encounter with Halloween themed Oreos.

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All. That. Other. Swag.

Aaaaand now time for some candy corn product pics! Wooo!

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Adorable crocheted baby hat from Etsy. Adorable baby swaddled in a manger of candy corn not included.

Reenactment of the birth of our corn and savior, candy corn Jesus.

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yeah
But how will they eat candy corn without hands or heads?!?

Like I said, its either love or hate.

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Maybe candy corn isn’t so bad after all…

Can I come over for dinner?

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YEP I CHANGED MY MIND I LOVE CANDY CORN

This one isn’t really a product, buuuutttt what the hell I do what I want. Get even more risqué pictures of candy corn on naked bodies here (we don’t judge here at United Tastes of Erica. If that’s your thing, have fun.  “Never yuck someone else’s yum.” #quotefromJennyShipley).

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Life. Changing. Recipes.

When writing about sweet topics I like to include a more savory dish to highlight an ingredient’s versatility.  The challenge of putting candy corn into a gourmet course was too fun to pass up.  Sweet corn and basil are traditional accompaniments to scallops, so why not candy corn and basil?  This seared scallop appetizer could easily become a full course if you increased portions and added another side dish.  Melted candy corn gives the buttery beurre blanc a sweetness that offsets well with the peppery arugula/basil greens.  Plus, my dad and mom really REALLY liked it.  #shout out #hiparents #WePilgramsdontgetfoodwrong.

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Scallops with a Candy Corn Beurre Blanc. Click photo for link.

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I have sold my soul to the Pintrest devil.  I wasn’t going to do it, I didn’t want to do it, but I did it.  Here is my most mainstream, pinable recipe to date… CAKE POPS.  My hipster friends are sighing and shaking their heads in disappointment.  My mainstream friends are asking “but what is wrong with cake pops?”  Yes, in theory, it’s just harmless cake on a stick.  But it represents an obsession with cuteness and appearance over substance and taste.  If cake is equivalent to an apple, then cupcakes are apple juice and cake pops are a shiny, chic, well photographed multivitamin.  Politics and worldview aside, make these cake pops.  They are fucking delicious and only have, like, four ingredients.  Five if you count food coloring.  I even include a “Stuck up, too good for cake pops, non-sellout bonus version” for folks like me.  oh and PIN IT.

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Candy Corn Cornbread Cake Pops. Click photo for link.

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As a bonus I have a recipe that is not from my own kitchen, but from Southern Living’s.  Check out their deep fried candy corn adventure.  Essentially they mix chopped up candy corn with Bisquick, eggs, buttermilk, and cornflakes, then deep fry the batter until golden brown.  Now there is something I may actually try.  Slap a rosemary glaze on those puppies and I am SOLD.

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Merci. Beaucoup. AKA. Thanks.

Thanks to all of those who participated in my ridiculous polls and inquiries for this post.  You guys are great.  Shout out to the owners of Chez Copelin for use of their test kitchen (#himom #hipoppa #ChezCopelinismyparentshouse).  This week featured some of my favorite photos, so a huge thank you to my badass photographer sister (#sherocks).  And I can’t forget all of those faithful fans who didn’t abandoned (blog)ship over the course of my school induced hiatus.  The semester was in full swing, classes picked up steam, and I chose to reprioritize this month.  I promise it won’t happen again!  (oh it will probably happen again in about a month #promisesyoudontintendtokeep #cogsworthquote #disneyfanssaywhaaaat)

Tune in next week for a surprise Thanksgiving post on a topic worth gobbling about!  Anyone who guesses the topic correctly in the comments will be mailed a prize.  Seriously.  I will mail you shit.

Bon App Y’all.

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Sources de la Info

The All-Mighty Wiki

History Shmistory

More Shmistory

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3 thoughts on “#9: Candy Cornucopia

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