October 30, 2008

Candy corn is sweet on Halloween

On the eve of All Hallows Eve, let's discuss the greatest candy to grace the face of the Earth: Candy corn.

There's nothing quite as sweet as the pure-sugar kernels. No candies are quite as colorful. And no seasonal snack tastes quite as good as this end-of-October delicacy.

Candy canes are good, but they require lots of licking and don't have the instantaneous gratification of a handful of candy corn. Marshmellow Peeps are great, but they can leave your hands yellow and sticky. And Valentine's Day candy just doesn't taste as sweet in those times when you have no one to buy it for you.

But candy corn is as good as it gets -- and it comes in variety. Hand over the extra buck for a name brand like Brach's and enjoy the taste of a delicious touch of honey. Opt for candy pumpkins and watch your blood sugar skyrocket to levels unseen since you were four years old after trick-or-treat. Or, if you're in the mood for a challenge, sit down with a bag of the harvest mix and try to guess whether you're eating a scarecrow or some other strange character stamped into a colored blob of glucose.

The only possible downside to candy corn is the possibility of addiction. I went through two bags in two weeks earlier this month and had to pull back to stripes of orange, yellow and white appearing on my skin. Now I'm waiting for post-Halloween candy sales.

And those sales always come. Drug stores usually manage to overstock bags of candy corn, which is like overstocking on diamonds -- everyone wants some. But after Halloween, the prices plummet, and you can get bags upon bags for peanuts ... kernels.

So hold out a few more days, candy lovers. Soon you can go on an enormous candy corn binge and save some cash. And it will be wondrous.

October 4, 2008

Apple of my eye

Here's a quick suggestion: Head to the nearest apple orchard as soon as possible.

That crisply fall feeling is in the air. You can still pick some delicious apples from the trees. And you can get fresh apple products from orchards and farms.

Apple cider is my personal favorite -- it's perfectly sweet and crisp this time of year. You can get the stuff all year round, but it doesn't taste nearly as clean as it does in the fall.

If you like your apples fresh, you can pick them right of the tree, too. There are plenty of orchards and farms willing to overcharge customers for a bag and the privilege of picking apples.

I say overcharge only because you'd pay a lot less for the produce in the grocery store. Still, there's nothing quite like pulling the fruit right off the tree. Just be careful, though, because there are usually plenty of apples lying at the feet of the trees, and they can be a nasty slipping hazard. On the positive side, those discarded apples can fill the entire orchard with a cidery smell.

So head out and enjoy the fruit of the harvest before it's all rotting on the ground or frozen in some grocery store's freezer. There's always something to be said for fresh fruit.