Yesterday– and I guess it’s been a little while– I bought a half-price (thank you, Walgreens!) Whitman’s Sampler candy package. In fact, I got two because Whitman’s Sampler chocolate sales don’t grow on trees . Those auld cardboard cross-stitch boxes are sturdy and attractive. That fake homespun look is kickass. I’m sticking my Micron pens and foo-foo Derwent drawing pencils in them just as soon as I can polish off four layers of chocolates. Which should be momentarily. My cat watches me chew candies with her permanent scowl.
But back to my initial point.
Jeez, I feel like Rip van Winkle here.
What the hell happened to you, oh Whitman’s Sampler? Where are your awful pink and green-coated Jordan Almonds? Where are your dreaded Orange Creams? Or were they Orange Whips? Your Strawberry Whips/Creams were equally unpleasant, I recall. But how wrong that all your sad bad candy should have gone the way of pterodactyls and dodos. Did you guys hold some Whitman’s Sampler focus group that I missed? A bunch of housewives got paid fifty bucks to mouth off on chocolate? And I wasn’t one of them?
I think the Whitman’s Sampler suits have made a grave error.
Yes, nothing in this two-layer yellow box tastes totally terrible but nothing ascends to the heights of candy-ambrosia either. Everything here is just sorta okey-doke average. (Got through one whole box so far. For research purposes.) The Molasses Chew is pretty good. The chocolate-covered peanuts were fine. To give Whitman’s its due.
During the days of my idyllic childhood, a Whitman’s Sampler box was like a magician’s box, a jewelry box, a Pandora’s box. It held vanilla caramels and chocolate caramels. The vanilla caramel’s caramel gave off a light amber glow while the caramel inside a chocolate caramel was dark and snub-nosed-revolver-noir and mysterious. Both of those caramels were amazing. Now there is just one lousy caramel (per layer). And it’s pretty lousy. Forgettable-looking and tasting inside and out. Neither “vanilla” nor “chocolate” but only regular regular regular blah.
When I was a tyker, a Whitman’s Sampler for dessert was a fancy treat. After dinner we were allowed a chocolate from the box. One chocolate. There was a lot of pressure on your choice. Nobody consulted candy charts in those days as that was considered cheating. Or maybe I was pre-charts. Still, everyone wanted a caramel or a truffle or something good. You sure as hell didn’t want to screw up and get an Orange Cream! Or a Strawberry Whip! Or some other ghastly jelly-filled palate-horror. It was a big deal. The stakes were high for the precise reason that the caramels were so awesome and the lousy candy was so to-the-depths lousy.
So the Whitman’s Sampler folk were no doubt patting themselves on the back for getting rid of all of their crappiest candies. When actually they made a big freaking mistake. Why?
You shouldn’t need to ask that. Why is there evil in the world? Why are there harsh winters instead of an endless spring? Why do cats exist and not just dogs? Why is Brigadoon such a stupid play? For god’s sake. Think about it. Read: The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. Read: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Figure it out.