By EMILY WEIKL
Witches. Ghouls. Scary movies. And candy corn. It’s that time of year again.
For Halloween and autumn? Sure. But it is also once again time for the candy corn discourse. There are those who really like it or really hate it. It seems there is no middle ground in this debate.
“This year alone, product-review site In Influenster ranked candy corn the No. 1 Halloween candy in five states – even as Kidzworld left it out of its Top 10 list entirely,” according to Adweek. “In 2012, Time magazine declared candy corn to be ‘this year’s it flavor,’ only to have The Huffington Post proclaim it the ‘most hated’ candy in America the following year.”
This triangle shaped treat owes its existence to George
Renniger, who worked for the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia, Pa. in the 1880’s. The recipe was then bought by the Goelitz Confectionary Company, known now as the Jelly Belly Candy Company, in 1898 and sold it as “Chicken Feed” to appeal to America’s agricultural heritage.
Today, it is known by a more palatable moniker: candy corn. It has stood the duel tests of time and popularity.
So, what compromises this divisive treat?
“The recipe, still pretty much what it was in the 1880s, is a mix of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla and marshmallow crème, variously colored yellow, orange, and white, and poured into kernel-shaped molds,” National Geographic reported. “The kernels were once laboriously made by hand; today the process is fully mechanized.”
Candy corn has been churned out consistently for many Halloweens. And for some trick-or-treaters it is a must have. According to a National Confectioner’s Association survey in 2015, 13 percent of people said that candy corn is their favorite candy. Chocolate is the number one favorite at 70 percent.
Some have come to candy corn’s defense, such as Adam Campbell Schmidt of FoodandWine. com. “Everyone is entitled to their opinions, so here’s mine: Candy corn is great,” Schmidt wrote in an article entitled “In Defense of Candy Corn.” “That opinion may be unpopular, but you know what else was unpopular once? Thinking gravity existed. Yeah, I went there,” Schmidt said.
The waxy and gooey taste of candy corn has also
inspired a degree of ire. In a stand-up bit, comedian Lewis Black joked that candy corn has been collected and resold year after year. “All the candy corn that’s ever been made was made in 1911,” Black said. “Does anyone actually like candy corn?” Ariana Grande wrote in a 2013 tweet, “Personally, I’d rather slice open my stomach and jump rope with my own intestines than eat candy corn.”
A CNN Facebook poll in 2013 on the matter garnered over 1,000 comments. The candy corn debate is clear, with one person writing “HATE it and I cannot emphasize the word hate enough,” and another saying “LOVE LOVE LOVE candy corn and SMARTIES!”
Hate and love are strong words to be used in either rebuke or defense of candy corn. Lines have been drawn, and it is likely that they will not change.
Of course, this debate is not as important as the ones on gun control and Confederate monuments. It’s just candy. Some favor candy corn* and some don’t. Changing a person’s mind on the subject won’t matter on the national scale.
Disagreements about candy corn may cause rifts among family and friends for a short while and or lead to hurt feelings. But, in the end, Halloween is an excuse to dress up, get free candy stash it away for weeks. That is something we can all agree on.
The writer is a proud supporter and consumer of candy corn.