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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: How sweet the tooth shows your age

The candy you prefer depends on how old you are, I discovered last week.

While at the grocery store, I stopped to talk to shoppers and asked them what their favorite candy was as they were growing up.

I discovered that people 60 years and older, including me, remember eating conventional candy such as Hershey's chocolate bars.

As we got older, we didn't try any of the candy our grandchildren asked us to buy such as Laffy Taffy.

For our generation, candy was associated with special occasions and was not an everyday experience, a woman told me. Her family lived on a farm. Her mother made bread so she seldom ate store-bought bread.

Her parents shopped on Saturday mornings and the clerk always gave her mother free Hershey's bars for each of her kids.

Your experiences as a kid influenced what candy you prefer as an adult.

One of the store's stockers said he loves Circus Peanut candy. His mother never let him have chocolate, he said, so he didn't taste it until he was 12.

If Circus Peanuts are the only candy available, I'll eat them, but other people told me they didn't like finding them in their Halloween bags.

People from 40 to 60 like Heath candy bars. Five people told me they like Heath bars but each one said he or she is probably the only one in the store that does. I've no idea why loners prefer Heath bars. Maybe it's because they are hard to break into even pieces to share.

I also learned that people talking about candy smile a lot and are willing to talk. No one told me to go away.

People younger than 40 told me how much they like Skittles, Sour Patch, Twizzlers and Starburst candy.

There were also people who told me about candy they don't like. An older woman told me her father bought horehound candy. Horehound is often found in cough drops. The dictionary lists it as "bitter," but I'd put it under "awful."

Two kinds of candy got universal "no" votes. Christmas candy with soft jelly-like fillings is not good. Mostly, the flavor is strawberry. But others had tastes you couldn't recognize. If you left them in a drawer, by July they were all stuck together and you didn't feel wasteful about throwing them away.

Peanut butter Kisses have very few fans.

When people go to the movies, their candy choices are not the same as they would choose in the store. The choice is most influenced by which candy will last through the entire movie.

Peanut M&Ms are popular and so are Milk Duds. Gummy candy lasts but my favorite is Jujubes, which you can get on along with other vintage candy.

I'm sure researchers will be fascinated by my findings. Either that, or I need a hobby.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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