Old School Sweets

Long before these dismal days of gut-busting King Size Snickers and 3 Musketeers Dark Chocolate Mint (an unholy creation, for sure), there were Goo Goo Clusters and Zagnuts and Squirrel Nut Zippers...uh...must...resist...Beavis and Butthead...laugh...

Candy used to be cheery and novel, didn't it?--a few bites of fun. Where did our sense of humor go?

Seems like we lost our taste for whimsy round about the time certain brands started advertising their fat content or the antioxidant qualities of their chocolate. Anyway, most of the beloved brands of yore went the way of cassette tapes and informative talk radio quite a while back, but some still live on--if you know where to look.

Besides, candy entreprenuers were so much more interesting, way back when.

Take, for example, Sifers Valomilk ($1.79 at Cracker Barrel). These gooey marshmallow-filled chocolate cups were invented by accident in Kansas City in 1931 after a candy maker got drunk on vanilla extract. Now that beats a focus group any day.

Here are some other classics:

Boyer Smoothie Peanut Butter Cups ($.96 at Elliott's Hardware). Butterscotch is hard to come by these days, except in the instant pudding aisle at the grocery store. These cups are encased in butterscotch coating, giving p.b. fans two more great tastes that taste great together.

Chase Cherry Mash ($.99 at Highland Park Pharmacy). Introduced in 1918, this big ol' blob of coated cherry nougat is pretty much a chocolate covered cherry on 'roids. And without the slimy fluid center. Genius.

Necco Sky Bars ($.96 at Elliott's Hardware). According to the maker, this four-flavor bar was introduced to pre-WW II chocolate lovers via "dramatic" skywriting campaign. Sort of like Twitter, only with a huge carbon footprint.

3 Color Coconut Bars by The Candy Farm ($1.19 at Cracker Barrel). The company that makes these sticky Neapolitan-striped beauties has been around since 1894. They're polarizing for sure--you either love 'em or you hate 'em. But we love 'em, so go buy your own.

...Still no sign of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Sure, you can get 'em online, but where's the fun in that?

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Lisa Petty