From August 2007 until July 2016 I ate no Conventional Candy. Not a Skittle, not a Starburst, not a Reese’s, not a Snickers. For nearly nine years I lived in dire fear of high fructose corn syrup, THB, and Yellow #5. It was unthinkable for me to pass a mass-produced, genetically-modified, artificially-flavored sweet morsel over my tender, pure, organic lips. Childhood nostalgia, Halloween, and “guilty pleasures” were non-issues concerning Candy. I simply did not partake.
Everything changed when I started working at Bun on the Run this summer. I’ve written about what it was like to work at the Bun here. Working at the Bun was magical. Working at the Bun was like being a little worker elf at the Big Rock Candy Mountain, except this particular little elf was working at the Big Monster Cookie Mountain. The Bun is famous (infamous?) for their monster cookies. Besides being Cookies of Unusual Size (COUSs), these monsters contain not only one kind of Conventional Candy, but two: Plain and Peanut M&Ms.
Something else you should know about monsters is that they break easily. This is due to their gluten-free nature and the fact that it is difficult to tell when the cookies are all the way done, so sometimes they are shelved slightly underdone and oversoft. Anyway, they often fall apart, rendering themselves unsalable, so they end up in the baker’s Vortex of Temptation (see here).
Now, for the first month or so, I stuck to my guns. Not an M&M, not a bite of Monster. As you will see, my well-intentioned, stalwart abstinence was short-lived.
One morning I was shaping buns and wanted a little snack. I had gotten into the habit of eating cookies before 7:00 am. I would come into the trailer, tying my apron, and Wendy would zoom in with some little baked good for me to sample. Sometimes she would zoom with a cookie. It’s surprisingly easy to just start accepting that it’s okay to start eating cookies at 6:35 am. This particular morning, it must have been nearly 7:00, and I must not have had a cookie yet. My eyes zipped up to the Vortex and I saw broken monsters. The transgression was nigh. I ate a chunk of warm, peanut-y, soft, M&M-riddled Monster Cookie; my first. Not my last.
Then Candy just naturally started coming into my life again. My friend Sophie, who is so darn cute, offered me a dark chocolate mini Reese’s. Sophie always, always has a bag of these. I ate it. One time Sophie and I were hanging out with my other friend Mary and Sophie had an XL bag of peanut M&M’s. I ate those too, in camaraderie. The big moment came when Wendy shared some discount Halloween candy during our epic fat bike misadventure. I popped down those little sugar bombs like no one’s business. The point of no return.
I remember Michael Henry telling me, in the wise words of Brian “Swifty” Swift, that it’s good to eat Skittles every now and then. I thought this was terrible advice at the time (circa 2012). I owe Swifty credit. I in no way endorse eating Conventional Candy, or encourage you to do it if you do not see ethically/morally/politically fit, or know it to be unhealthy and bad for your teeth (which it is, definitely!). Please continue to avoid Conventional Candy at all costs. All I want to say is that, upon returning to my childhood Candy roots, I have matured. As healthy as it is to not eat it, I personally feel it’s healthier to move on past dysfunctional and unrealistic rigidity. I have relaxed into the notion that it is okay and acceptable and lovely to eat Conventional Candy if I want. My body is so robust and awesome, it can process that shit no problem. Peace.