"I wrote 63 songs this year. They're all about Jeter." Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » Culture and Criticism

N Candy AA II: The Sweetmeat Eight

Submitted by on November 11, 2010 – 8:34 AM31 Comments

Updated bracket is here. Confused? Click here. Polls close 11:59 AM ET on Monday.

8 Sugar Daddy/Babies; Slo-Poke vs. 10 Nerds. Really? The highly dysfunctional Sugar family is still here? By the way, the original name for Sugar Daddy was "Papa Sucker," and between you and me, I don't think the current name is much of an improvement. (Word of warning: don't do a Google search for "Sugar Baby" unless you want to be scarred for life.) This has to be where the Sugar family gets eaten alive by army ants and Nerds asserts their dominance. HAS TO BE!

8 Sugar Daddy/Babies; Slo-Poke vs. 10 Nerds

  • Nerds (67%, 631 Votes)
  • Sugar Daddy/Babies; Slo-Poke (33%, 311 Votes)

Total Voters: 942

Loading ... Loading ...

5 saltwater taffy vs. 11 Smarties/SweeTarts. I think there's a typo here. Clearly, Bunting doesn't know how to spell "Peeps." I mean, I know she was my indefatigable editor for nearly a decade but between you and me, she's getting a bit long in the tooth so it's understandable that she has a slip now and then and if I just keep on this train of thought I really don't have to accept the fact that Peeps are out, and Aunt Bessie's favorite saltwater taffy soldiers on against all imaginable odds. ["Fired for cause." — Bunting] Smarties/SweeTarts has to win this, because my grudge is just that large.

— Keckler

5 saltwater taffy vs. 11 Smarties/SweeTarts

  • Smarties / SweeTarts (56%, 528 Votes)
  • saltwater taffy (44%, 418 Votes)

Total Voters: 946

Loading ... Loading ...

1 Skittles vs. 3 Reese's Pieces. After updating the bracket with the Sweet 16 results, I stared at this matchup in despair, knowing I would have to write about it and wondering what I could possibly say. It's apples and oranges (well, fake ones) as far as a direct comparison, and generally I prefer peanut butter to fruity flavors, candy-wise…but not always. What to do? How to vote?

For me, it comes down to purchasing. I can't remember ever buying Reese's Pieces. Like 'em fine; haven't spent money on 'em. I have bought Skittles, however, and while I still dislike their smurfy/creepy commercials, I'm voting to taste the rainbow. (Hew.) ["I really think GLAAD needs to co-opt that phrase somehow." —Keckler] And Skittles could win, but I'm calling it for the Pieces.

1 Skittles vs. 3 Reese's Pieces

  • Reese's Pieces (51%, 487 Votes)
  • Skittles (49%, 470 Votes)

Total Voters: 957

Loading ... Loading ...

5 Kraft caramels vs. 2 Starburst. Crap! Another apples/oranges assessment, but I love these two much more equally! I hoarded these two candies above all others as a kid — sometimes I would bite each one into quarters! Quarters! Do you know how hard that is to do with a bouillon-sized blob of candy? ["Your mention of bouillon means another tangential walk down Keckler's memory lane. My older sister made a batch of cookies and she baked one with a bouillon cube in the center. Guess who she gave it to, pretending it was a normal cookie? Yep. Let's just say bouillon doesn't fare well at 375 ° for 30 minutes." —Keckler] This is impossible! …Starburst, both for my vote and a spot in the semis.

— Bunting

5 Kraft caramels vs. 2 Starburst

  • Starburst (62%, 598 Votes)
  • Kraft caramels (38%, 359 Votes)

Total Voters: 957

Loading ... Loading ...

Be Sociable, Share!



  • Rachel says:


  • Shanna says:

    What Rachel said. Also, there is hope for my beloved Nerds to win it all. My faith in humanity is renewed.

  • Southern Shannon says:

    Peeps are out – I feel like I've already won.

  • JC says:

    Seriously, WTF is that vile Sugar family and their filling-removing evil still doing here? I've been daydreaming of a movie-sized box of Nerds from Walgreen's all morning. Nerds, you will be MINE, come lunchtime.

    I didn't know which to vote for in the Skittles/Reese's matchup, but Sarah's point of never having actually bought Reese's also applies to me – the only time I ever remember buying them was to use them as a chocolate-chip substitute in a batch of cookies, whereas I just ate a pack of Skittles yesterday. I'm actually surprised that this matchup isn't closer.

    I was tempted to vote for saltwater taffy (which I like quite a bit), just because I'm not fond of Smarties and I love SweeTarts, but the love saved the day. SweeTarts, you need to ditch your partner – he's dragging you down, babe.

  • Leigh in CO says:

    Wait…WHA??? Kraft caramels beat Twizzlers? Life Savers are out? What is the candy world coming to? After taking some solace that Twizzlers oulasted Red Vines, I pin all hope for candy humanity on Starburst.

    Oh, and what Rachel, Shanna, and Southern Shannon said.

  • Pamela says:

    Let me see if I get this straight: Sugar Daddy/Babies are being beaten by Nerds. And my beloved Kraft caramels are losing out to Starburst. Starburst!

    I don't even know who you people are anymore.

  • adam807 says:

    Agreed. My favorite thing about this event (and maybe this site in general) is that it makes me feel less weird. I HATE marshmallows, and people give me such funny looks when I tell them that. How can you hate marshmallows?? It's un-American! Well, I do. I hate them. Always have, always will. I cry when they ruin a perfectly good hot chocolate or Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. And the Peep is such an abomination of something I already consider an abomination, I can barely even look at them. At least plain marshmallows are fun to set fire to around a campfire, and gave us Ghostbusters. The Peep has no reason to live.

    I'm also anti-Skittle and anti-Starburst, which at this point in the voting seems to make me still weird. :)

  • Carrie Ann says:

    Down with Peeps! Now we need something new to rally around, and I suggest classic, delicious saltwater taffy. With so many flavors, there's really something for everyone.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    My favorite thing about this event (and maybe this site in general) is that it makes me feel less weird.

    I should change the site's tagline. Heh. "Tomato Nation: You Think THAT'S Weird? Girl, Please."

  • cayenne says:

    @Rachel et al – fistbump. Down with shmallows.

    @adam807 – so do you hate all Mars candies, or just the fruity ones?

    @SDB – so true! And that's a pretty reassuring statement to a person who is currently consuming Smartfood a piece at a time & each piece consumed in bites (I have to assume there are no weird eating habits left on this planet, or I'll wind up never eating in company again).

    Also, this is disturbing: I have visions of chocolate hoarding & fistfights over Hershey Kisses.

  • mspaul says:

    Somewhere, some time when you least expect it, there will be retribution for all the anti-Peepites out there.

  • K. says:

    Oh, argh, Starburst vs. Kraft caramels? Why must I choose? I picked the caramels, but it's tough. All my picks are losing except Nerds, though. Bah!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @K.: Mine too — all except Starburst — but all my REAL favorites got thumped in the Round of 64. Sigh. Wherefore art thou, bulls-eyes?

  • Chanticleer says:

    Reese's Pieces are the giant among sad, fruit-flavored little gnomes in this competition. The reason everybody thinks they have chocolate in them is that they're as delicious as chocolate. Rocket to the top, Pieces.

  • K. says:

    @Sars: yeah, I love bull's eyes too – as I said when they first came up, they were one of my late grandpop's favorites and we used to share them. And if I had my way, Peeps, candy corn, maple candy, and gummy bears/worms/whatever would still be in it.

  • Isis Uptown says:

    The dental patient in the picture you use looks so much like my 19-year-niece that everytime I click over here, I think "Claire!?" I don't even have a comment about candy.

  • Alyce says:

    Starburst are fun and all but some caramels in the bottom of a cup of coffee? Melted and eaten with an apple? Are you people crazy???

    Plus no one like all the Starburst flavors. It should be out for that reason alone.

  • Grainger says:

    "My older sister made a batch of cookies and she baked one with a bouillon cube in the center."

    That sounds like the beginning of a story that ends with "…and then they hooked up the power line to the teacher's corpse, so that when the mutant tried to suck out the brain it got electrocuted and exploded."

  • Soylent Green says:

    Do you know, until people started mentioning it, I hadn't noticed that it was a picture of a woman at the dentist. For some reason my brain had chosen to interpret it as some of fucked-up take on Clockwork Orange where she was having something injected into her mouth.

    I don't know what I thought that had to do with chocolate or candy, but in my defence, I was skimming past the picture to get to the wordy goodness below.

    And because of that, I would like to claim this week's Tomato Nation Actually, You Are Weird Trophy

  • Lindsay says:

    I think what's happened here is that we all voted AGAINST candies we hate, so some of the 'meh' ones have risen to the top…

    If the final round comes down to smarties vs. reese's pieces, I'll have to abstain from voting.

  • Tarn says:

    The last two battles are really difficult! They pit things against each other that satisfy similar texture cravings (little candies with shells or soft chewy goodnesses) but with completely different flavors. Totally apples and oranges.

    I love Starburst, but if I were craving Kraft caramels (as I am now and will be through Thanksgiving at least), a Starburst just wouldn't do the trick.


  • Emma says:

    I'm surprised but glad that sugar daddies (though not babies) have made it this far. I always tend to lick/suck them, so the chewiness isn't a factor, and they last a long time.

    Though it will be sort of a relief if they go down here before I have to pick between them and starburst, the latter of which I always pack on long hikes when I don't feel like carrying a water bottle.

  • Sandman says:

    … For some reason my brain had chosen to interpret it as some of fucked-up take on Clockwork Orange where she was having something injected into her mouth.

    It's a candy DSL installation!

  • JennyB says:

    I'd love to write something brilliant, but my head exploded when I saw Skittles versus Reese's Pieces.

  • AngieFM says:

    Reese's Pieces are foul. That is all.

  • Haras says:

    Alyce – I love all of the Starburst flavors! (Original variety anyway.) I like them in varying degrees of course, but one of my very favorite things about Starburst is knowing that when I buy a sleeve there aren't going to be any flavors I'm not interested in.

    That's my one problem with Skittles…I like them a lot, but I don't like every flavor, so sometimes it isn't worth it to buy the bag. You'd think the red ones were made of diamond dust the way they ration them. 5 reds in a bag are not enough! If Skittles were sold by the flavor I'd be in heaven.

  • adam807 says:

    @cayenne No, I've nothing against the good people at the Mars company. They make some excellent candy! I'm just not generally a fan of fruit candies or fake fruit flavors. I love a good Life Saver, but I always lean towards chocolate/peanut butter/just sugar in my candies. Add to that texture issues with Starburst and Skittles. Especially Skittles. Even as a kid I'd usually turn those down if offered. (If a friend offered me a Starburst, I'd probably go for a lemon, which I think was "weird" so I was being helpful.) But seriously, what ARE Skittles? Why do they get all gritty when they dissolve in your mouth? Y'know, I'd eat them in a pinch, unlike SweeTarts or Peeps.

    @Lindsay I think you're exactly right. I literally can't remember the last time I had a Kraft Caramel, but I've voted for it in several rounds now.

    @Emma That's what she said. (Oh come on, someone had to.)

    @Chanticleer WORD.

  • CindyP says:

    If Skittles or Nerds win, I will feel very very old, as they both came into existence during my adulthood. I was going to say the same about Starburst, because I don't remember them existing before then either, but whaddaya know, they (originally Opal Fruits) were introduced, according to Wikipedia anyway, to the US in 1967. I guess they were not ever, or not then, packaged as Halloween candy, which is the only way I would ever have consumed most non-chocolate or -caramel type candy in my childhood.

    Strangely, I think of Reese's Pieces as having been around longer than they have, maybe just because M&Ms and Reese's cups have been.

    Not sure I've ever eaten a Nerd in my life–not something I'd snitch from my son's Halloween candy (and now he's to old to T-or-T, so maybe I never will).

  • Profreader says:

    Interesting that all of these seem to have come down to a creamy/chewy/caramel-esque type of candy vs. a more straight-up sugar based. I'm watching Reese's Pieces v. Skittles closely — my hunch is that the winner of that matchup will take the title (although a final Starburst v. Skittles contest could be very, very close.)

  • Profreader says:

    … aaaaand just took another look at the bracket and realized that Starburst v. Skittles, if it's going to happen, will happen in the next round and can't be a final challenge. Unless Skittles knocks out Reese's now, I can't see anything but a Reese's blowout. Nerds or Smarties/SweeTarts from the other side of the bracket can't pose a significant challenge, IMHO; but you could see Nerds going up against Skittles or Starburst.

    Thank you for giving us this bracket to overanalyze.

  • ADS says:

    I'm guessing now that we're going to see a Nerds versus Reese's Pieces final. That's just cruel.

Leave a comment!

Please familiarize yourself with the Tomato Nation commenting policy before posting.
It is in the FAQ. Thanks, friend.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>