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?
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.