I don’t often get the urge to consume sweets. I drink my coffee black, and of course I’m allergic to most of the things that drive most sweet teeth (tooths?) — cake, cookies, ice cream and such.
But sometimes it hits me, and it happened today after Rotary. So I got this great idea — Halloween is over; why not bop into Food Lion and pick up some pumpkins at half price? And no, I’m not talking about the things you make jack-o’-lanterns from. I mean those wonderful little candy things, about 3/4 inch in diameter, into which sugar is packed with a density approaching that of a black hole. Specifically, Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkins.
I go all year without these — sort of like the way I don’t let myself have cotton candy except at the State Fair; it’s a personal rule that’s easy to follow because it would be extra work to break it — but during the season, I’ll eat them by the handful. Which kind of grosses out my wife, a big fan of chocolate (which I am not) and other sweets who nevertheless finds more than one pumpkin just a bit too intense.
I’m even kind of a pumpkin connoisseur. You may think they’re all alike, but they’re not. I don’t know if they’re made at different factories or what, but there’s a wide variation in quality from bag to bag. If the orange color is just a little too dark, move on — they’re not going to taste right. And then there’s consistency. The ones that are sort of crumbly and drier are far better than the chewy, moist ones that you sometimes get. The first almost melt in your mouth, the others go down hard and tend to lead to indigestion if you eat far too many of them (and if you’re not going to do that, what’s the point?).
The one in the illustration at right, by the way, is a good one. I can tell from the photograph. Nice shape (often the shorter, flatter ones you see aren’t nearly as good), not too dark, and without that oily-moist sheen that warns of a taffy-like consistency. There’s a little gloss to the finish, but not too much, which is important (using the term “important” loosely, of course).
I’m on my second bag of them this season, but the bag was at home, and I really wanted some pumpkins now.
So I went to Food Lion, as I said. And they were out. Oh, they had loads of Candy Corn left, and you may say it’s the same thing, but it isn’t. Pumpkins are round, and orange, and I like to bite off the little green stems before attacking the main body. It’s entirely different. As for those pumpkin-shaped Peeps — I am a man of principle, and one only eats Peeps at Easter. (And they should be yellow, and shaped like chicks, as if you didn’t know.) No wonder they had plenty of those left.
So maybe I waited a little too long. Maybe the last of them sold out Sunday, or even sooner. But I’d appreciate knowing if anybody has seen any today, because half that bag at home is gone, and it’s a long time before the Halloween displays go up again…