Thursday, August 10, 2006

Penny candy and the $100,000 heist

Growing up on the northern edge of Long Island, I remember my trips to the St. James General Store where penny candy was in vogue. There were large jars of all kinds of treats - licorice whips, rock candy and my ultimate favorite, the dots. I'm not talking about the chewy package of gumdrop-shaped colored domes that was my favorite candy of choice at the movies, but the strips of white paper with tiny globs of confection that started in one color and morphed into others. My recent trip down candyland's memory lane came when I looked in a vending machine at work the other day. I did a double-take when I saw the $100,000 bar. First of all, I don't know where I've been all these years since Nestle changed the name to 100 Grand. An Internet search informed me that the candy formerly known as the one-hundred thousand dollar bar was renamed when the manufacturer hit the computer age. Apparently the dollar symbol didn't jive. I don't know, that explanation doesn't make "cents" to me. Anyway, after I got over that shock, I noticed the candy seemed about half its size. I don't think this is a case of the shrinking backyard at my childhood home where everything seemed so much larger when I was little. I really think the candy shrunk as I grew. There was only one thing to do. Buy one. Perhaps it's just the packaging. It was a tight squeeze on its little dark cardboard tray instead of having a little breathing room for the chocolate-covered crunchy caramel chunks. A few days later, I broke down and did a little more "research." Maybe it just tastes great, less filling. I guess it's just a fact of life, $100,000 went a lot farther when I was a kid.
- Liz Fabian

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