All For Me

When I was five, my grandfather kept a stash of 3 Musketeers bars on top of his fridge. Not just a handful, but an actual display box like the ones in the check-out aisle at the grocery. He bought them because they were my favorites; they lived on the fridge because they were contraband. I wasn’t supposed to have sugar. Honey and blackstrap molasses from a co-op grocery that smelled like carob-flavored mummy, sure, but not the refined stuff then subject to a hippie-driven moral panic. My other grandparents also sneaked around my parents’ sugar blockade, but Papa’s contravention was by the far the most extravagant: a store box! And all for me.

Once I gained a degree of autonomy, my parents’ plan seemed to backfire. I bought head-sized Hershey bars, rainbows of gummy worms, crackly plastic bags of truck-stop caramels. I lacquered candy to make earrings in junior high and discovered in college how quickly new friends appear when you carry an open box of Ring-Pops through a roomful of people in raver pants.

Turns out it was all more Rumspringa than conversion. The year I left college, my teeth got sugar-sensitive, so I stopped eating candy to focus on my caffeine addiction. Along the way, I lost the taste for anything sweeter than the occasional slice of cake. A few months ago, though, ravenous and lured by the flicker of after-hours vending machine light, I had my first 3 Musketeers bar in years, and it was awful: cloying and waxy and stale. But that sound—the sound of teeth slicing through marshmallowy aerated nougat—knocked me right back to Papa’s kitchen and the moment I discovered that subversion tastes really, really good.

Candygram

Candygrams are odes to candy by guest authors during the month of October.

Erin Kissane

Erin makes coffee, books, and content strategy in New York and Portland. She blogs in sloth-time at Incisive.nu.


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