Mid-Week Tangent: The Misunderstood Candy

All I have to say is “taffy” and I can picture most of you recoiling in disgust, saying things like ‘ugh, that chewy shit???’ or ‘that’s not even a candy!!!!’. I know, I know, it’s a contentious issue.  But hear me out.

I think taffy is a misunderstood candy.  It deserves a place in your heart, not a big place, mind you, but a little nook that you can visit just once or twice a year.  The reason that most of you claim to hate taffy is both unfair to taffy and probably for the same reason that I used to think I hated taffy: I’d been eating bad taffy.  That’s a lot of times to use the word taffy in a sentence…

Taffy is like pork chops. Pork chops are, assuming you’re not a vegetarian, absolutely delicious but only when they are a perfectly cooked, thick-cut pork chops. I grew up hating pork chops because my grandmother bought crappy, thin pork chops and proceeded to cook them as though it were a crime to leave even the tiniest smidge of moisture inside. I didn’t know a pork chop could be succulent and delicious until I was a grown adult forced against my will to try one in a very nice restaurant. The same is true for taffy: there is a spectrum of quality and a “right” way to consume it.

To discover the magic of taffy, heed this advice:

1.You have to must, must, MUST steer clear of mass-produced, commercial taffy found in 5 lb bags on the bottom shelf at your grocery store. That is a taffy wasteland, where what started as mediocre taffy goes to die a slow death. It has been there for years. Unless you are trying to save money on tooth extraction, you do not want this in your life.

2. You have to go for the small-batch, locally produced taffy. It sounds snobbish, dare I even say hipster-ish, but in this case it’s fully warranted. Locally produced, small batch taffy doesn’t sit around for an eternity. It is made with fewer ingredients and preservatives.  It will still have a chew to it, but not the kind that will pull your teeth out. It will be a softer, pliable and heavenly sugar hit.

3. You gotta limit your intake: Taffy is best in small doses. I’m a raging sugar fiend and even I can handle only a few pieces at a time maybe twice a year.

4.  I cannot emphasize enough that flavour selection is key. I get it, you like pumpkin spice lattes but the place for pumpkin spice latte flavour is in a latte, not in your taffy. The same goes for watermelon, banana or other fruit flavors that are only palatable in actual fruit form.  In fact, I find even typically ‘safe’ fruit flavours like cherry and orange to be utterly repulsive in taffy.  Cookie dough and birthday cake, on the other hand,  and though they sound repulsive, are absolute winners, as are standard caramel, salted caramel, chocolate, and maple. You’re welcome.

At the end of the day, if you don’t trust me, trust Phoebe Buffay. She wasn’t sold at first, either, but in the end she was sold on taffy’s goodness.

p.s. If you’re wondering why I’m writing about taffy, I discovered some outstanding taffy in Leavenworth this weekend. It was so good, in fact, that it reminded my of why I love taffy…but I still won’t be eating any more of it any time soon.



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