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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Candy Corn Oreos: I'll eat one so you don't have to

Posted By on 09.12.12 at 12:39 PM

The horror
Ordinarily I do a pretty good job of ignoring the worst attention-grabbing outrages of the industrial food system. I've managed to avoid purple ketchup, the Double Down, and the Dorito Loco, for example. But on Friday night, after news of the limited edition Candy Corn Oreo went viral, a package appeared on my table at a busy River North restaurant. They weren't supposed be released until Monday, but my contact happened to find them on the shelves at the State and Madison Target that afternoon. We opened the package in the car on the way home and were struck with a paralyzing fear that I can imagine was similar to what the Doughboys felt in the trenches of the Western Front when the first sweet, blistering whiffs of mustard gas rolled over No Man's Land.

The cookies survived a crowded weekend barbecue full of kids and pie-eyed adults mostly untouched and four days later their miasma remains potent, sealed inside the bag sitting here on my desk. But I tried one. They are an odious creation, tasting of nothing but chemical sweetness and wasted youth. You don't have to eat one to know that, right?

Comparing the nutritional facts and ingredients between CCOs and regular old Oreos, you'll see they aren't too different—the usual lineup of sugar, unbleached enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, and "natural and artificial flavors" (as if Nabisco could be expected to use naturally flavored candy corn). The most apparent difference is the Yellow 5 and 6 Lake, the artificial coloring used to give their filling that wholesome sunset glow.

But for me, Oreos and candy corn are two poisons with powerful nostalgic capital. I know they're reprehensible, but when they appear within reach I just can't say no. I'm sure I'm not alone, either—and so the mad genius whose light bulb inspired this unholy union deserves some kind of medal from his masters. I just think the rest of should go after him when these things start piling up in landfills.

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