Circus Peanuts

Circus Peanuts candy 05-05-2022

I was passing the candy shelves in Buchheit’s the other night when a bag of orange somethings called out my name.

It triggered an immediate memory.

When I was about two years old, Dad must have been building a road around Poplar Bluff, which meant we were living in the trailer he pulled from job to job.

Mother came back from shopping all excited because she had won a full grocery cart of goodies in some kind of store promotion. The only thing I can remember about the contents was a cellophane package of something that looked like peanuts, was a color of orange not found in nature, and tasted vaguely like bananas.

That could have very well been the last time I ate one.

I didn’t need a lifetime supply

Back to Buchheit’s: the bag I spotted contained a lifetime supply of the marshmallow goodies, and cost way more than I wanted to invest in a trip down memory lane.

On a subsequent pass, though, I spotted a smaller bag that was priced low enough that it was worth an experiment. I tore it open and was immediately transported back to my childhood.

I put some samples in plastic bags and went making the rounds of Cape friends and relatives (full disclosure: it only took two bags). They too, allowed as how  they still tasted and smelled the same as the ones they had wrestled away from dinosaurs in their childhoods.

What’s the story about these things?

Circus Peanuts candy 05-05-2022

Google says that circus peanuts are an American peanut-shaped marshmallow candy that date back to the 19th century, when they were one of a large variety of unwrapped “penny candy” sold in retail outlets like five-and-dime stores.

As of the 2010s, the most familiar variety of mass-produced circus peanuts is orange-colored and flavored with an artificial banana flavor

Confectioners originally distributed an orange-flavored variety that was only available seasonally due to a lack of packaging capable of preserving the candy. In the 1940s, circus peanuts became one of the many candies to become available year-round owing to the industrial proliferation of cellophane packaging.

You have to draw the line somewhere

My memory lane hits a dead end before it gets to Candy Corn Blvd. I don’t care to revisit some things.



3 Replies to “Circus Peanuts”

  1. Living deep in the hills of Missouri, I never saw anything that resembled a circus, much less a circus peanut as you describe. At least not until I came to The Cape to attend college. It was in Verners’ market where I first discovered the marshmallow circus peanut. As Professor Potts in the delightful musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang says about his unexpected discovery of Toot Sweet candies, the circus peanut was a Fantasmagorical Delight. I’m happy to know they are still available.

  2. It only took one bite of these “circus peanuts,” for me to realize that despite the fact that they appear to be jumbo peanut shaped treats, alas, they taste nothing like peanuts, nor do they in way, shape or form, remind me of the circus.

    Of the few candies I am not found of, circus peanuts ranks high on the list along with licorice, and candy corn.
    They are, in my opinion, quite yucky.

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