Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

An American Classic

So, Coco and I were out craft shopping or something a few weeks ago, and the hobby shop we were at had a small candy section up front, the same way an Office Max or Home Depot will. It was an odd collection of snacks, containing a lot of off brands, and in the middle was a bin of Necco Wafers.

Necco Wafers! I hadn't even thought of these in years, much less seen any for sale. The didn't even break the top 100 candies in my childhood days, not for me or for anyone else that I can remember. Catholic kids could play communion with them, blaspheming and risking excommunication, but nobody really ate them for fun. I think I saw more of them pegged at people's heads than I ever saw eaten.

To be fair, the different colors do have slightly different flavors - I tried two for this post and the pink one was a bit pepperminty while the white one was just blandly sweet - but the textures are  all uniformly reminiscent of dusty cardboard. Not great mouth-feel. Really, the only advantage they had over a candy bar was quantity of units and easy divisibility. Edibility was not high on the list of Necco attributes.

All in all, the 21st century Necco Wafers pretty much lived up to my memory, in looks, taste, smell, and feel - even the sound of the wrapper had a resonance. Looking closely at the package, I realized that when I was "eating" them, these candies had already been on the market for eighty years - that's significant for a kid who who was playing in the street before Gatorade or Pop Tarts (not to mention Superballs). Neccos are not just a piece of my childhood, but of many childhoods before mine.

One modern addition to the packaging is, of course, the nutritional information - which seems a bit ridiculous for something so clearing lacking in anything but the slightest, incidental positive value. That little notice contained the biggest surprise of Necco Redux:

Serving size one roll!? We were supposed to eat an entire package of these things? Holy cow, who would tell people that?

I'm not even sure that any of my pals could have survived eating a whole roll. Not that 55 grams of sugar or 56 grams of carbs (the only measurable constituents in the product) would kill ya, but the act of consuming so much dry, sublime flatness - the platonic ideal of drab - might do you irreparable psychic damage.

But, I dunno. Maybe you liked them.

1 comment:

Melisa Nelson said...

Necco wafers were one of my favorite childhood candies, although I hated the chocolate kind.

I also loved Botan Rice Candy.

I guess I was a fan of bland.