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Home » Culture and Criticism

N Candy AA II: Round of 32, Flight 1

Submitted by on November 1, 2010 – 9:33 AM35 Comments

by Keckler

Updated bracket is here. Confused? Click here. Polls for Flight 1 close 11:59 AM ET on Wednesday.

1 Pez vs. 8 Sugar Daddy/Babies; Slo-Poke. I hold a special place in my heart for Slo-Pokes. They were always the "roulette" prize at the Jefferson Elementary School Carnival. If you won big, you'd drag away a Slo-Poke the size of a canoe paddle. Or maybe it just looked that large to me. Candy always seemed bigger when I was a kid. I used to get really excited about Pez. And then I ate one. I hate disappointing candy. This is turning into a maudlin entry, so I'll add that I do have a Star Trek: TOS Pez collection. I just never eat from them. Sigh. Pez will win.

1 Pez vs. 8 Sugar Daddy/Babies and Slo-Poke

  • Sugar Daddy/Babies; Slo-Poke (52%, 455 Votes)
  • Pez (48%, 426 Votes)

Total Voters: 881

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5 Pixy Stix vs. 4 Pop Rocks. This could be a tough one. However, I believe that Pop Rocks will win, because not only is my generation still making up for the time when Pop Rocks were cruelly snatched from our sticky hands, but they are way more exciting than Pixy Sticks. Less annoying, too. The most annoying thing about Pixy Stix is how wet the paper tubing gets during consumption, which makes the flavored Pixy dust stick to the edges of the torn-off paper. Even when you take careful steps to keep the tube from touching any part of your mouth, it still gets damp from your exhalations. So what do you do? You chase the dry spot by frenetically tearing off more and more Pixy Stix tubing, only to find that your saliva has travelled by capillary action all the way down the tube.

Pop Rocks has the potential to suffer from this same problem, but the manufacturers had the foresight to coat their envelopes with something plastic-y (and probably cancer-causing), so the stickage isn't quite as bad. Also, you can always carefully disembowel the Pop Rocks envelope and lick the inner surfaces clean. Can't do that with the Pixy Stix. Pop Rocks FTW.

5 Pixy Stix vs. 4 Pop Rocks

  • Pop Rocks (57%, 502 Votes)
  • Pixy Stix (43%, 376 Votes)

Total Voters: 878

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11 Pillow mints vs. 3 Tic-Tacs. Are pillow mints called pillow mints because they were traditionally left on hotel room pillows before Andes and After Eights came along, or because they themselves look like pillows? Or is because they melt in your mouth soft as pillows? The world may never know. (Or the world will do the Internet research I'm too lazy to do and tell me so I can stop wondering.) Much as Bunting loves them, I was pretty meh on Tic-Tacs until some awesome commenter reminded me of the bygone Dynamints! A Google image search allowed me to revel in my nostalgia. How I LOVED the fruit pack one! Oh, how the spearmint one made me want to BARF! (When I was about five, I was chewing on spearmint Trident on a car ride in Aspen and I got carsick, so I can never have spearmint again.) And remember when we used to fill the empty plastic containers with water and drink from them? Because it was more exciting than an actual bottle? So, yeah, I'll throw in for Tic-Tacs, and I think pillow mints are simply too weird-gross to put up much of a fight. ["I love them, but agree." -- Bunting]

11 pillow mints vs. 3 Tic-Tacs

  • pillow mints (50%, 448 Votes)
  • Tic-Tacs (50%, 444 Votes)

Total Voters: 892

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10 Nerds vs. 15 Bottle Caps. God, I love Bottle Caps. Bunting's right, though, the best thing about them are the cola- (and possibly root beer-?) flavored ones. I mean, I get why they have grape and orange represented, but it doesn't make them any more interesting. In fact, there's not enough cola-flavored candy out there. Someone should get on that. Meanwhile, Nerds came in a cool little box with slidey-out flaps that covered the holes. If you were mannerly, you poured your dose into your hands and smacked the handful into your mouth. If you were a rebel, you bypassed the hand completely and downed a long shot of Nerds until a particularly large Nerd jammed up the hole of egress. ["Hew." -- Bunting] Nerds also allowed you to create a Nerds recipe. You could have each flavor alone and appreciate their awesome singularity, or you could take a shot of lemon, followed by a shot of lime, and then chew everything up together. I was in heaven when they came out with cherry-cola Nerds.

10 Nerds vs. 15 Bottle Caps

  • Nerds (82%, 719 Votes)
  • Bottle Caps (18%, 161 Votes)

Total Voters: 880

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1 Peeps vs. 8 Now & Laters. I didn't expect all that Peep-hate in the last round, but still I ask you: can you have as much fun with Now & Laters as you can with Peeps? Can you age Now & Laters for a year to encourage a thin shell of crunchy sugar covering a chewy marshmallow interior? All a Now & Later can do is yank out your fillings and have delusions of Starburst grandeur.

1 Peeps vs. 8 Now & Laters

  • Peeps (58%, 492 Votes)
  • Now & Laters (42%, 352 Votes)

Total Voters: 844

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5 Saltwater taffy vs. 4 Fun Dips. This is a match of total opposites. One candy recalls a gentler, simpler Laura Ingalls-ish era with birds singing and brooks babbling. The other recalls screaming kids bouncing off walls and getting massive sugar-crash headaches. Adult me would rather have the Laura Ingalls life. Kid me wanted the headache. Adult me loves watching how saltwater taffy is made, and still boggles over how they get those designs to make it all the way through the taffy. Elderly me would like to change "I was just yanking your chain" to "I was just pulling your taffy." Kid me has too much of a headache to put up a fight for this. Make all the grandmas in your life who still have their own teeth happy, vote for saltwater taffy.

5 saltwater taffy vs. 4 Fun Dips

  • saltwater taffy (59%, 522 Votes)
  • Fun Dips (41%, 358 Votes)

Total Voters: 880

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11 Smarties/SweeTarts vs. 3 Dum Dums. I'm throwing Dr. Mathra's favorite to the wolves and declaring that Dum Dums will win this, mainly because I taste-tested several rolls of Smarties from his stash and couldn't determine a difference of flavors between any of them. They all taste like St. Joseph's baby aspirin to me. Admittedly, I loved St. Joseph's baby aspirin as a kid — made getting a fever totally worth it — but aspirin that tastes like candy works. Candy that tastes like aspirin doesn't. Dum Dums must prevail. ["Also, the cream-soda Dum Dum is the shiz." -- Bunting]

11 Smarties/SweeTarts vs. 3 Dum Dums

  • Smarties/SweeTarts (60%, 537 Votes)
  • Dum Dums (40%, 355 Votes)

Total Voters: 892

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10 rock candy vs. 15 gobstoppers/very large round candies. I'm really shocked that rock candy made it through. I'm also really shocked how totally bored I am about this match-up. I don't have strong feelings either way here. Gobstoppers are real candy; rock candy is something cool you can use to stir your hot tea. Rock candy also reminds me of a geode's sparkly insides. Heck, I'll call it for rock candy because of the pretty.

10 rock candy vs. 15 gobstoppers/very large round candy

  • gobstoppers et al. (56%, 487 Votes)
  • rock candy (44%, 377 Votes)

Total Voters: 864

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35 Comments »

  • attica says:

    Hmm. I see many of my choices in this flight break down generationally. PixyStix were an absolute staple of my weekly walks to Rexall's for a sugar rush (and were a penny a pop — a dime bought 10!). Pop Rocks came along well past my peak candy consumption years, so I have no proustian associations with it.

    Same with Nerds and Bottle caps. I have literally no Nerd-related memories. I'm sure I've eaten at least one in my life, but I'm betting the real number is well under a dozen. So: Bottle caps!

    Keckler, candy was bigger when you were young. By at least 20%. Maybe more.

  • Hannah says:

    Wasn't in the Willy Wonka (or some such brand) little gobstoppers that changed color when you sucked on them? (Which led to the classy practice of constantly removing your candy from your mouth to see the new color?) Maybe that was inspired by some earlier manifestation of gobstopper, but I'm suddenly remembering how much I LOVED that gimmick.

  • cayenne says:

    This is a round where I feel how being Canadian is also to be candy-deprived. Cherry cola Nerds…I have never heard of these, and it's probably because this isn't a cherry cola-loving place (except for my house; I have a secret source of Cherry Coke, who gets it from an unnamed "supplier", and charges extortionately). Dum-dums…we don't get them here, either, and cream soda ones? My tongue is crying.

    Can someone please hook me up? I'll pay all costs. I AM NOT KIDDING.

  • Christy says:

    Salt Water Taffy vs. Fun Dip? I'm so torn! Also, I love the tags on this post.

  • avis says:

    Everlasting Gobstoppers came about as a result of marketing the candy from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They were like Jawbreakers that lasted forever (in the book) and would periodically change flavors.

  • Mary says:

    Underestimate the power of the Smartie at your peril! They are my sweet and sour crack.

  • Keckler says:

    @Cayenne You Canucks might be candy-deprived but the wealth of potato chip flavors you have up there makes me sob myself to sleep every night.

  • cayenne says:

    @Keckler Trades? Dill pickle chips for Dum-dums?

  • Rachel says:

    What's with all the past-tense Gobstopper talk? I am looking at a movie-theater-sized box of them right now! And they do change colors until you get to the SweeTart-esque middle big but I have never made it to the middle without chomping on one. Thus, the broken molar I had removed and am currently replacing with a fancy porcelain implant.

  • Tylia says:

    O.k., first, most of my picks are getting KILLED! I'm so glad I didn't put money on this bracket, because I'd be slaughtered….

    Secondly, I had to abstain from the Peeps/Now and Later match up because I'm not sure which is the frying pan and which is the fire. I loathe peeps. Absolutely loathe! But I loathe almost all things in which a marshmallow is used that is not in the service of a smore! I feel like I should start a campaign against the Peeps that something like "Don't bastardize the 'Mallow! or some such. Because seriously.

    And Pixy Stix are losing!?!?! In favor of Pop Rocks!!! The Humanity. I mean, get the whole paper wrapper problem, which is why I went straight for those gigantic plastic Pixy Tubes. Those things were bad ass and lasted for a long time. And they caused me to act like a crack-addict, but that's besides the point. They also succumbed to the same problems of the plastic wrapper. At some point, the tube would get gunked by a saliva-sugar mixture and no more sugar would come out and my granddad would get out his knife and saw of a chunk of plastic and I'd be right at it again… Why are there so many memories of weird candy attached to my granddad?!?! First Paydays, now this… How'd that happen? It's been eighteen years since his passing and he still comes up in odd ways…. Sniff! So yeah, pixy stix. If anybody needs me I'll be in the corner sniffling….

  • anna says:

    Apparently pillow mints are called that because they are shaped like pillows: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_pillow_mints

  • Laura says:

    @cayenne — I'm so in for a trade! My Michigan cousin married a hockey player from Canada (not kidding) and he brought down a box of wacky-flavored chips when we were all gathered for the wedding. I was about 12 and thought he was very exotic as a result of the ketchup-flavored chips — so foreign!

    The day the vendor put the dill pickle chips in the machine at work…I was 6 mos. pregnant, need I say more? I bought every bag and stashed them all in my desk, in the hopes vendor would say "wow, popular!" and reload, but he did not.

    And dum dums are good, but my daily treat is a Blow Pop. Just one supplies 10% of your daily calcium requirement! :-)

  • Nick says:

    Ooh, spooky timing–somebody in my office left a stash of leftover Halloween candy in the mail room, and it's almost exclusively Nerds & Bottle Caps. I haven't had either in forever, but now I can do a highly scientific taste test in order to make a truly informed decision on that matchup.

    My verdict: Nerds are fun, but too sickly sweet if you have a lot (not that I poured an entire box into my mouth all at once or anything…). The Bottle Caps here are in fun-size three-packs, and I got stuck with two strawberry (meh), but the root beer flavor puts them over the edge. Pulling for the upset!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Heh. "Delusions of Starburst Grandeur" is so the name of the new band I'm starting.

    Who's in?

  • Kelly says:

    I don't like candy that's just unrelentingly sugary, so I couldn't even bring myself to vote on half of the options. However, I have to stick up for pillow mints – I LOVE those things.

  • Val says:

    Rock candy is not only gross but it's unhygienic too. I can never again eat it after watching some kid take one out of the jar in a candy store, wander around said candy store sucking on it, then wrapping it up again and proceeding to put it BACK IN THE CANDY JAR WITH ALL HIS OOGEY SPIT ALL OVER IT. So. Gross.

    After that I say yes only to sealed candy. Still makes me shudder. Ick.

  • jive turkey says:

    Mind blown because I thought I was the only weirdo to drink water out of the empty Dynamints (!!!) container.

    Also, I just totally remembered Chewels gum, the gum with the gooey center that exploded in your mouth (hew). Is there going to be a N Candy AA for gum?

  • JC says:

    I'm thoroughly "meh" on Pez, mostly because to me, they are the candies with the aspirin aftertaste, not Smarties (particularly the orange and lemon ones). However, I had to spend three days trying to remember to chew on the opposite side of my mouth that I normally do, thanks to a Slo-Poke ripping out one of my fillings and leaving a nerve-exposed crater in my back tooth. DEATH to Slo-Pokes and their ilk.

    Nerds vs. Bottlecaps – agh, Sophie's Choice moment here. I'm going with Nerds, just because there are usually just a few too many orange, cherry, and grape in every packet of Bottlecaps, and if I wanted those I'd have bought SweeTarts. Also, I love dumping a giant box of rainbow Nerds into a dish and picking out only the biggest, fattest ones to crunch individually first.

  • Grace says:

    Wandering around with trick or treaters last night, I saw at least a half-dozen adults with Smarties glued all over their pants – i.e., "smarty pants". It was funny the first time, not the second.

  • Jenn says:

    @Elizabeth – I'm in. Imagine how awesome the front of the drum kit could be.

    I had no idea there were cherry cola Nerds. I think I've only ever had strawberry and grape.

  • Laura says:

    @cayenne – Canucks have good candy, though! Less high fructose corn syrup. And I'm partial to Mr. Big bars, which they don't sell in the US.

  • Soylent Green says:

    When I was a kid, my friend and I fed Pop Rocks to her dog and it responded by biting me on the arm, meaning not only did I have to get a tetanus shot, but I had to live with the embarrassment of being one of six people on the planet to have been savaged by a Labrador. Even so, I am still voting for Pop Rocks, because THAT's how awesome they are.

  • Dani says:

    All right: I've done pez v. sugar thingies,
    pixy sticks v. pop rocks, and an intermezzo of a short story I wrote about Peeps a long time ago. I swear to god I am going to recap all of these pairings!!

  • Dani says:

    How did I do that? That link was sposed to be pixy stix v. pop rocks. I think all the sugar made me forget the html code.

  • Wendalette says:

    "The most annoying thing about Pixy Stix is how wet the paper tubing gets during consumption, which makes the flavored Pixy dust stick to the edges of the torn-off paper. Even when you take careful steps to keep the tube from touching any part of your mouth, it still gets damp from your exhalations."

    Really? Then, Pixy Stix eating — yer doin' it rong.

    What you do is tear off the end, inhale and hold the breath (Pixy powder + lungs = BAD!) while tipping the tube over your open mouth with slightly extended tongue and rolling the tube between your index finger and thumb to deposit the tiny crystals of tart. Close mouth, press tongue to roof of mouth and exhale through the nose while savoring the dissolving texture of tang. Repeat until tube is empty. No humidity clogs — practically guaranteed.

    Why yes, I have been practicing. In my office. Along with three of my co-workers. On a bulk bag of the paper-packed dust.

  • K. says:

    @Val: that kid just has bad (very bad) home training. Don't let him ruin rock candy for you!

    I love Peeps so that was a no-brainer, but even if I didn't, Now and Laters, blech. The texture is so weird – they're too hard to be soft and too soft to be hard (hew).

  • Lisa says:

    Smarties are gross but SweeTarts are SO GOOD! I don't really understand why they're on the same ticket, but I think the SweeTarts will carry them through a few more rounds.

  • Meredith says:

    I voted for Pixi Stix, even though I once had to snort some on a dare. (Don't do it. It huuuuuuuuurts!) Still, they're tasty, and I like Zots better for "explode in your mouth" candy because they make you look rabid.

  • Keckler says:

    @jive turkey I totally remember that exploding (well, oozing) gum as Tidal Wave or Freshen-Up.

    @Cayenne We really might have to make that happen.

  • JeniMull says:

    Ahhh, I shoplifting a pack of Pop Rocks when I was 8 years old on a dare from the boys in my class. Had to vote for my brief moment of rebellion.

    Peeps vs Now & Later made me want to hurl. Can't they both just go away?

  • Elizabeth says:

    I love the taste of Pez.

    There, I said it.

  • Dani says:

    @Wendalette: Why does that sound so much like smoking pot? :)

  • cayenne says:

    @Anyone who wants to do a Canada-anywhere candy/chips exchange: email me at cayenne-9t1 at hotmail dot com. And this doesn't need to limit to Canada/US; I'm quite partial to Brit stuff (like Marks & Sparks squares & rings), too! If you have cravings for dill pickle or ketchup chips, maple candy, or Mr. Big, Wunderbar, Crispy Crunch, or Sweet Marie chocolate bars, let us discuss.

  • Spangler Candy Company says:

    @cayenne – You can purchase Dum Dum Pops in Canada through Allan Candy. The contact information is below.

    Please direct any consumer inquires for Dum Dum Pops to our Consumer Relations Coordinator, see below for contact information.

    Parul Lad
    Consumer Relations Coordinator
    Email: consumerrelations@allancandy.com
    Toll Free: 1.800.387.3267
    Toll Free Fax: 1.866.944.7416

  • StephMac says:

    "Also, I love dumping a giant box of rainbow Nerds into a dish and picking out only the biggest, fattest ones to crunch individually first."

    At that, my heart cheered: I am not alone!

    This is one reason I'm loving this candy battle…I get to discover that I'm not the only one with strange candy habits.

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