Growing up with depression-era grandparents was a downer for my sweet tooth.
Their idea of sweets was a fresh bowl of figs, one that I had to pick myself. Not being a big fig fan (not even Fig Newtons), most often I had to settle for a spoonful of sugar surreptitiously stolen from the pantry while the grandparents caught the latest Lawrence Welk show and ate oat bran.
This itself proved problematic when I mistakenly picked up the salt container instead of the sugar. Can you say, “dry as a chip”?
So I had to turn to the black market for candy. Not really, but I did have to sneak out for it. My favorite was the Reese’s Cup, and there was nothing better than sitting under the house with a sack full of Cups, nibbling the edges first, gobbling the middle next, licking any wayward chocolate off the fingers last.
I say “under the house” not in reference to a finished basement. The large, spacious crawl space proved to be a great hideout for a boy with contraband candy, though it was also popular with the spiders, both the black widow and brown recluse varieties.
But there was nothing worse in candy land than getting stale Reese’s.
And it’s still the worst. You know what I mean: the package has been on the shelf too long, or has gotten too hot, or too cold, or too dry. There is no difference in texture between the chocolate and peanut butter. Flaky peanut butter. Chalky chocolate.
But, there is hope. You can avoid the trauma of biting into a stale Cup. Let me explain.
“Normal” Reese’s are always available in drug stores, gas stations, and checkout-line displays everywhere. But at certain times of the year, Reese’s makes special Cups to go along with a particular occasion. For instance, for Valentine’s Day, there are Reese’s hearts. For Easter, there are Reese’s eggs.
I know: how can a bunny lay a peanut butter and chocolate egg?
There are Halloween pumpkins and Christmas trees. You get the picture.
I’m still waiting for the St. Patrick’s day leprechauns, Independence Day firecrackers, and Thanksgiving turkeys.
Even without those additions to the Reese’s schedule, special peanut butter cups are so regular that we don’t need calendars any longer: we simply walk into the nearest Wal-Mart and observe which type of Reese’s are on sale.
So, you Reese’s Cup aficionados: two great tastes taste great together only when they’re fresh.