For Your Weekend Snacking Pleasure

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I've got to admit to being a big fan of gummy candies, especially the super-sour type developed a decade or so ago. Nothing like a big hit of citric acid to set your teeth on edge. I know, of course, that gummies are not vegetarian--the gelatin in these gentle treats often derives from animal renderings (cattle hooves and the like). In fact, I don't avoid gummies from the U.K., even though an article in the New Yorker a few years back reported that, with the ancient method of rendering still used in Britain, the animals being rendered often include a smatter of house pets--so your gummy dog may actually have some dog in it.

Though I prefer the sour kind, especially sour ribbons, I'm also constantly on the lookout for new gummy types. Thus, when I spotted a bag of Hannah Montana gummies at a downtown 7-11, I scooped it up. Of course, there's no such person as Hannah Montana--it's Miley Cyrus in the character of Hannah Montana, as everyone knows. I guess the idea is that, while enjoying the candy, purchasers can have something like an onstage rock-star fantasy, since the gummies come in only two shapes--guitar and microphone.

Before we taste it, let's look at some other aspects of this candy. Above the designation "Concert Candy," it says "Artificially Flavored." What a relief! I was worried that they'd taste like microphones and guitars! The candy is "Individually Wrapped for Portion Control," which means you can use it to torture your kids, by meting out only one gummy at a time. That's not much torture potential, however, since there are only six gummies--weighing 2.5 ounces--in the entire $1.19 bag. (OK, I'll do the math: that's $7.62 per pound, or a tad less than 20 cents per gummy.) On the back of the bag, it also says Made In China, by which they probably mean there might be some melamine in there, too.

It's impossible to tell what the flavors are, even after you've eaten the gummies. The guitar is a sad excuse for a guitar; I think it was modeled on a Fender Strat, even though the horns have collapsed onto the body. More interesting, perhaps, considering Miley's penchant for semi-nude modeling, is the microphone. It has a big pink head that tapers toward the base. To the touch, the feel is moist and clammy. Man this baby is lubed! The taste is somewhere between generic mixed citrus and cardboard. Still, as a conversation piece or sociological study, you can't beat these gummies. And I delight to think the hand of Disney is in there somewhere. Just don't give them to your kids.

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