Food Snob Chronicles — Some Halloween treat tidbits

Scary stories, costumes and chilling front-porch scenes are all important supporting cast members. But Halloween is about the treats.

Break me off a piece!
Hershey and Nestle might battle it out for convenience store supremacy, but the two mega-chocolate producers work as one when it comes to Kit Kat — the fastest growing candy bar in America this past (fiscal) year. Nestle owns it. Hershey makes it.

Worst Halloween treats
The following ‘treats’ seem to make a lot of bad lists these days. And, though I understand that not everyone hands out full-size chocolate bars, I’m not inclined to disagree.

  • Good & Plenty — I’ll take a lavender soda pop to go with that, sodbuster.
  • Raisins — Really? Did I mistake your home for my school cafeteria?
  • Mary Janes — Molasses and peanut butter. Grandma must’ve really enjoyed these.
  • Necco Wafers — Colored chalk should be reserved for sidewalks.
  • Smarties — Ditto on the Necco Wafers.
  • Peanut Butter Saltwater Taffy — Where in the hell do people buy these horrible things?

Don’t blame me. I voted for…

How could someone not like these beauties?

How could someone not like these beauties?

Candy corn is also these days listed frequently among the least-desirables. I’m calling bull … corn!

  • Candy corn manufacturers will make about 35 million pounds of the stuff this year.
  • Unlike some so-called faves, candy corn has stood the test of time. It was invented in the 1880s.
  • If it’s so bad, why are there candy corn Starburst? Or Oreos? Hmm?

Did you know? America’s favorite Halloween candy is chocolate. And peanut butter. Together. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups overtook M&Ms this past year as the top seller in the U.S., and that includes millions of snack-sized bags.

Killer candy?
Like many others, I enjoy a good urban legend. Some of my all-time favorites involve the old lady who passes out razor blade-infused apples on Halloween; or the strange neighbor (every neighborhood has one) who hands out arsenic-laced candy.

If you don’t count the Deer Park, Texas father who in the 1970s poisoned his own son with cyanide-spiked Pixy Stix, the biggest problem that arises from Halloween candy consumption is … too much at once. Still, I’ve always inspected the kids’ candy — and kept a few pieces for myself. By the way, how does one not notice razor blades in an apple?

Here’s to you, Carmen Miranda
What is Halloween without the costumes? According to the Los Angeles Times, dressing up like food is all the rage this year.

Some popular items on the dress-up buffet include the sexy pizza and sexy watermelon (with a bite taken out). One online retailer reported that their bacon costume had already sold out, with taco costume sales not far behind.

Not sure what to wear this year? Just look in the fridge.

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I remember making cream of tomato soup during a French cooking class back in the early 1990s. We cored fresh tomatoes, simmered them and added stock and cream before using an immersion blender. Fact is, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. These days I use high quality canned tomatoes for this quick and easy warmer-upper and it tastes just as good. Honest.

Cream of Tomato Soup is not only an all-star for weeknight meals, it’s totally modular. I typically cook the standard version (below), but add-ins easily take this soup in a different direction. My wife prefers to eat it with grilled cheese — Swiss on Rye. I like cheddar or American (yes, I admit it) on white or wheat. If you decide to give this soup a Tex-Mex flair, consider serving this with Monterrey Jack quesadillas. Homemade soup is Mmmm. Mmm. Better.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Cream of Tomato Soup — Hearty and modular. Your taste buds will thank you.

Cream of Tomato Soup — Hearty and flexible. Your taste buds will thank you.

1 – 28 oz can crushed Tomatoes
1 TB – Dried Basil
1 tsp – Red Pepper flakes

Vegetable stock (28 oz.)

3/4 cup – Heavy Cream

In a blender, combine tomatoes, basil and red pepper flakes until smooth. Backfill empty tomato can with vegetable stock (may also use chicken or beef stock); add to tomato mixture.

Heat in a small stockpot or large sauce pan over medium for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add heavy cream and warm through, about 5 more minutes.

Season as desired. Serves 5.

Optional add-ins
Blend any of the following ingredients with tomatoes before heating:

  • 2 – Garlic cloves (or roasted garlic cloves)
  • 1 – small Onion
  • 2 – Celery stalks (or 1 tsp – Celery seed)
  • 2 cups – Fresh Spinach
  • 1 – Chile in adobo (for a slight Tex-Mex zing)

Comments

  1. Interesting article! I shared your article. Greetings. Susana.

  2. I like peanut butter taffy…..if I ever try it I am sure I will.

  3. Fun post! I’m going to have to respectfully disagree though on the smarties comment. I can believe that they may be unpopular..but my husband and I love them. :-)
    Going to include a link to this in my Halloween round up post tomorrow.
    Kenley

  4. Hubby likes Smarties but I prefer Skittles. All the other stuff you mentioned is just gross. I found candy bars that are smaller than the normal ones, but bigger than the one-bite teases that most give out these days. If any are left by tomorrow, that’s what I’ll be giving out.

    You know, the only way I like tomato soup is if grilled cheese is served alongside it. That being said, you have the perfect bowl of goodness right there.

  5. Sexy watermelon? That’s…intriguing. Razor in apple is just weird. You crazy Americans! :-D

  6. I do remember those Mary Janes. They actually didn’t taste bad, but give me a full size chocolate bar and I’m in heaven. My daughter preferred skittles or anything sour. My son was the smart one – chocolate all the way! And this year I’m giving out pretzels and graham crackers in addition to the chocolate. They probably won’t come back next year!

    • Not a bad move! We’ve given out everything from full-size chocolate bars to pennies. I seem to remember a TV show (Family Guy maybe) in which they gave out beer on Halloween. That’d be pretty neat! ;-)

  7. Yep, count me in w/the KitKatnatics! Just had one as we speak w/a cappuccino! Perfect!

  8. Crazy man Adam! A post all about sugar coated treats sitting atop a recipe for tomato soup. Only you could get away with this.
    Keep it up.
    Conor

    • I’m not so sure that I’ve gotten away with anything. I seriously considered using my recipe for Bubble & Squeak (Americanized), but I thought tomato soup to be a bloody good alternative!

  9. Well sorry, I am in the candy-corn hater camp. They are just gross! I like the snack-bite size Snickers or Almond Joy bars. YUM! Now for the soup, Well, you just can’t go wrong with a homemade tomato soup and a good ole grilled cheese sammy! One of my favorite combinations!

  10. As far as I’m concerned, if someone is going to give me candy for free I’m not going to complain.

  11. The only peanut butter cups I can find these days are made with white chocolate. Blech…and sacrilege. And now I’m drooling for tomato soup.

  12. booo candy corn. Im not sad its nowhere to be found in Holland. But reese peanut butter cups? now those i can cry a river over. having mum post me some : D

  13. I think banana Laffy Taffy probably qualifies as the most buzz-killing Halloween “treat” there is.

    As for Reese’s cups… definitely picked up a bag half-price from Rite-Aid yesterday! November 1st might just be the most underrated day of the year.

    • Good call. Except I’ve found that banana Laffy Taffy can be good trade bait. It’s one of of those love/hate candies. I’ve also noticed a photo floating around with a vacuum-packed (single serving) of SPAM amongst sweet Halloween treats. I, for one, would consider SPAM in my bag of treats to be a total triumph!

  14. What? No Mary Janes? I love Mary Janes! And peanut butter taffy. And smarties..I do detest good and plenty….and candy corn…I rate it right down there with those nasty orange circus peanuts….butterfingers are a personal fave, as are anything really sour….

  15. Why is it the every year we have fewer kids come trick or treating yet my husband insists on buying the same amount, if not more bags of candy? And funny – I don’t have any left but there were only about 10 kids this year.
    When we were young we had the raisin lady & my mother always insisted we still stop there since it was a friend. Those went right into the rabbit’s cage. Not sure the rabbit liked them either.
    Good soup Adam & we’re into soup weather up here.

  16. Reblogged this on Flutterby.

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