Researchers with the National Association of College Stores have released the results of a study analyzing the snacking preferences of American college students.

15% of survey participants named Snickers as their favorite candy bar, with Reese’s Cups taking 14%. (What–no love for Bit O’ Honey?!) Roughly half said chips, crackers and popcorn was their favorite type of snack, while only 10% preferred cookies and cake. 9% of college students surveyed had a vague recollection of fruit. 623 participated in the survey; their distribution and breakdown by geography, economic status and other determinants is uncertain.

Read the NACS’s press release.

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Spotlight: Chicken Dinner

September 23, 2008

Back in the 1920s, Milwaukee’s Sperry Candy Company gave the world its weirdest treat of all: the Chicken Dinner. Read the rest of this entry »

Darrens 246th Daily Painting

Darren's 246th Daily Painting

Sioux City, Iowa artist Darren Maurer has set about presenting a painting a day, posting the results on his blog and offering them for sale. Most paintings feature deliciously rendered foods, but this commissioned Abba Zaba painting particularly caught my eye. (Actually, it came up in a Google search.)

Darren says he’d never heard of or seen an Abba Zaba before–poor guy–but the painting came out a striking and faithful rendition of that classic checkered Annabelle favorite.

To check out more of Darren’s paintings and maybe purchase or commission one of your own, visit www.darrenmaurer.com.

Matzel Toff! Chewish Fun

September 11, 2008

Click here to check out NY1’s piece on Matzel Toff!, a delicious twist on a timeless staple of Jewish life.

More people should start up such wonderful small businesses, if for no other reason than to tickle our funny bones with more hilariously heavy-handed puns.

As promised, the remainder of Ray Broekel’s 1986 American Heritage article. Read the rest of this entry »

Below is an article the late candy historian Ray Broekel wrote for American Heritage waaaaay back in 1986. Its amusing sidebar, “Ten Immortals”, will appear in a subsequent post. Read the rest of this entry »

The Canadian National Post presented a slightly disturbing piece on August 27, 2008: News not so sweet in candy bar research Read the rest of this entry »

Sweet Greetings!

September 4, 2008

Just a quick post to say hello and let any potential readers know what I’m up to here.

Candies, confections, treats… Novelties and sweets, chips, snacks and munchies… In our modern age of mass consumption and sensory gratification, it’s easy to decry our base impulses, particularly when the majority of them drive us to gobble up a boggling variety of nutritionally vacant, ultra-processed foodstuffs. In lieu of vigorous exercise or inner reflection, we too commonly seek comfort in the multi-hued gluttony of candy temptresses. It figures largely, no doubt, in our booming rates of obesity and other determinants of poor health. Sugary and salty snacks, much like television, temporarily distract us from the larger scope of the world around us, but ultimately we come crashing back down and feel we have no option but to seek that cheap euphoria again.

But…! But…they’re so gooooooood! A little flirtation with caramel or bright orange cheese now and then adds a cheery escapist fling to hum-drum days and late-night insomnia. The tastes and textures toy with our tummies so terrifically! Like surrendering to the strains of a touching melody or giggling at an improbably tiny toy dog, treats lift our spirits and add dimension to the human experience. When engaged with conscious effort free of distraction, all five senses come to life and the mind does little backflips of glee. A candy bar can be as stimulating to the primary hunger impulse as pot roast or fresh-baked bread.

Junk food: Stuff we shovel hand over fist which has practically no nutritive value whatsoever. I use the term with affection but wariness. I don’t intend to promote excessive consumption of junk over much more responsible choices like fruit and veggies. What I’m promoting is responsible consumption (i.e., in small doses and not as a replacement for a wholesome meal) of foods engineering to entertain and add a bit of levity to daily life.

And so I’ve started this blog to indulge my curiosity of and appreciation for the foods that delight and amuse. It’s all on the table, and I can scarcely pick a direction before wanting to dart off in another. I’m no junk food junkie, but I’m easily overwhelmed by the staggering volume of products we Americans have developed to satiate our hunger and desire for expression. So many niches are packed chock-a-block with countless opportunities to becalm every taste bud several times over. At a determined pace, I hope to explore this bright, shiny world. From the ubiquitous candy bars and chips, to regional specialties, to even alcoholic beverages and other tasty things mom would frown on, I’m casting my eyes all about for fun, fantastic food fodder. I’ll try tossing in a good measure of confectionary history, news, trivia and nostalgia, too.

I hope you’ll pick up on the Confectionarium and join me in my search for the absurd, the sublime and the timeless treats that ravage diets with utter abandon.