Candyfreak by Steve Almond (yes, that’s really his last name)

Yes, author Steve Almond is truly a candy freak.  In a witty, candy obsessed, and even informative ways, Candy Freak takes us through the world of candy making, candy packaging, and how the candy that tantalize us at the check out counters earns that prime spot.  All of this through the experiences of Steve Almond.

Like Steve Almond… I have a sweet tooth.  I am drawn to chocolate almost daily.  If there is not chocolate in the house, I have been known to settle for chocolate chips.  I am kind of chocolate snob and LOVE a good chocolate piece to go with my evening cup of coffee.  Mmmm…. chocolately bliss. 😛

As a child, I remember quite well, candy hording.  This practice took place after a big candy holiday like Christmas, Easter, or Halloween.  I would hide my candy for months in dresser drawers and in my Barbie playhouse.  I would ration it out to myself… savoring each and every piece.  Some times… I just liked to look at it, knowing it was all MINE.   Of course, eventually, mom or dad always discovered my stash, I would get a lecture about ants, and my candy would be thrown away.  In this case, while disappointed, I knew another holiday would come and I would start the process again.  (You will be relieved to know that I have outgrown that for the most part.  Now I have a lone candy bar or two stashed in a desk drawer, purely there for comfort.  😛

Even Steve himself starts his book off admitting his addiction:

Some Things You Should Know About the Author

1. The author has eaten a piece of candy every single day of his entire life.

I want you to look at this sentence and think about it briefly and, if you’re so inclined, perhaps say a little prayer on behalf of my molars. This would not be unwarranted, and for supporting evidence, I refer you to Elizabeth Gulevitch, a highly competent doctor of dental surgery who spent most of the early Seventies numbing my jaw. I doubt Dr. Gulevitch is the sort to have established a hall of fame in her waiting room (she was more the Ansel Adams type) but I would like to believe that my run of seven cavities during the infamous campaign of 1973 stands as some kind of record.                                                                                                

~ Prologue, Candy Freak

I listened to this on audio and found it filled my heads with the memories of my favorite candies growing up.  Steve covers everything from Pop Rocks and the urban legends that went with Pop Rocks, the laws of supply and demand when it came to Bubblicious gum (oh wow…. I had forgotten how much I loved Bubblicious!),

For some reason I found myself fascinated by this telling of candies that were described to the point of how they dissolved in your mouth – enough to make my own mouth water at the thought of them! 

The first half or so of this audio is all about these “candyhood” memories, retellings, and the ones that were loved but discontinued.  In some cases, Steve stock piles candy bars he knows are no longer going to be produced by buying them by the case loads.  I found this walk through candy land very interesting and fun.

Then last half of the book is more about Steve’s discovery that he can tour candy companies and watch the bars being made.  At first this is interesting, listening to the history of the company, many times handed down from generation to generation… people upholding the candy making quality year after year.  And it was even interesting to hear how the machines worked and how the actual process of making goodies, oh lets say like Twin Bing, or the Idaho Spud are produced.  But then, the next story and tour seemed a bit the same, and by the third tour I was wondering where this was all going and how it would wrap up. 

There are some interesting tid bits in between…. for instance, I did not know about shelving fees, that the big name candy companies pay a substantial price for those prime checkout counter spaces in our grocery stores and big name retails companies like Wal-Mart.  (You would think as someone who worked as Management at Wal-Mart for 14 years would have known this but I had not!)

I was also thrilled to hear that Steve also thinks Peeps are horrible (they are my personal candy nemesis).

 

 

Recently at the dollar store in my town I found…. Bubblicious.  I was just finishing this audio so snatched it up with the brilliant idea to blow a bubble for this review.  Well…. let’s just say, Bubblicious is not what it used to be.  It took two pieces and about 20 outtakes before I got this picture.  The gum would not form a bubble (and yes I totally blame the gum… not me… :razz:)

Was this audio worth my time?  Absolutely!  I had a lot of fun reminiscing about the candy of my youth, and learned a little something along the way too. 

Amazon rating

Good reads review

The 2011 WHERE Are you reading map has been updated to include Candyfreak

I purchased this audio from audible.com

thanks to Jill from Fizzy Thoughts who’s review made me want to know more!  😀

24 thoughts on “Candyfreak by Steve Almond (yes, that’s really his last name)

  1. Now both you and Jill have said how wonderful this audio is! I wish my library had it, but sadly it does not. I have the physical book out and will read it soon though!

    I hate Peeps too, though I do like those Peep designs every year!

    1. My whole office knows how I feel about Peeps Amanda…. on April Fools a couple years ago my boss hung over 200 of them in the office from fish line. It looked like a bad 70’s bead curtain except it was peeps! “razz:

  2. I think this is a book my whole family would enjoy. We are candy nuts! We always look for different candies in the store although we don’t eat it every day like Steve. I have been known to eat chocolate chips in desperation myself. I’ll keep an eye out for this book.

  3. Cori

    Steve Almond was apparently good friends with one of my profs in grad school, so he came in to talk about his book (I was getting my MA in publishing). He was a fascinating guy, and I read his book soon after he came to talk to us. I loved it! I hate peeps too!

    Crap, now I want some candy.

  4. I love Bubblicious! My dh and I went into a Peeps store at National Harbor. It was a fun store with every kind of Peep merchandise you can think of–except it didn’t have the circle with the line drawn through it! Peep hats, peep socks, peep stuffed animals, peep pencils, etc. I don’t like Peeps either, so I was wondering about what kind of business they could actually do.

  5. Candy stashes make me think of “The Closer.” Very funny. My Dave loves, loves, loves peeps, especially when they get dried out. I think they’re gross.

  6. What?? How can you not like Peeps? I haven’t had them for years, but they used to be one of my favorites. The only Easter candy I indulge in these days are the Cadbury mini eggs. Those things are GOOD!

  7. Oh, a kindred spirit in my dislike (hatred, really) of Peeps! Cannot. Stand. Them. I can hardly even LOOK at them. That book sounds like such a fun read!

  8. Thankfully I can take or leave chocolate. Some things are irresistible, but it calls me less than others. The Idaho Spud doesn’t look like anything I would ever want to eat.

  9. I have a sweet tooth too! 🙂 I think this book would be a lot of fun to read, but I think while reading it I need a bag of candy near me. 🙂

  10. Peeps are disgusting – in fact pretty much anything marshmallow is off my list. I love coconut though.

    In my first pregnancy my nose was especially sensitive to the smell of bubbalicious watermelon gum. I could smell it, in the package, from about fifteen feet away (thankfully I thought it was a heavenly smell). We would be walking through a store and I would stop in my tracks and say to my husband, “there’s watermelon gum here, I can smell it.” And sure enough the bubbalicious gum would be around the other side of the aisle, etc. It only lasted until my son was born though.

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