Monday, October 6, 2008

The Science of Eating Jellybeans

I'm not much of a candy eater unless it's chocolate. Fruit-flavored candy? Eh, no thanks. Maybe an occasional sour apple Jolly Rancher, but only if there are no candy bars available.

But Friday I was at K-Mart with the kiddos (on a desperate search for the Sith Legacy collection) and I saw two things that I suddenly wanted with a desperation almost equal to Eleven's longing for plastic villians:

1) gourmet jelly beans

2) chocolate Skittles (which seemed like a really bad idea, but were actually not bad--especially since I usually avoid all things Skittle-related).

Now I don't eat jelly beans very often, but when I do I tend to select the fruit-flavored Jelly Belly brand beans. Yes, I am a candy snob, thanks for asking,but not as bad as my college roommate. We used to drive an hour to the mall in Jackson, TN so that Susan could buy two pounds of chocolate pudding Jelly Belly beans. I never got that crazy about it, but I do enjoy a bag every once in a while. This was a mixed bag of jelly beans and it was not Jelly Belly brand, so it already had two strikes against it going in.

But here's the thing with me and jelly beans--I have to be able to devote some time to the snacking. I have to pour out the bag and separate the colors. I can't stand to mix the flavors because there are some jelly beans which are just plain wrong and, quite frankly, should never have been created in the first place.

Case in point: popcorn jelly beans. WTF? That's just nasty and wrong. Black licorice? Euw! Jalapeno? Cantaloupe? Tutti Frutti? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The coffee jelly beans are great, but should never, under any circumstances, be allowed to mix with the peach or kiwi jelly beans. Ditto caramel with tangerine.

Some flavors are fine to be mixed together and, in fact, mixing might even enhance the jelly bean experience by mixing. For instance, coconut plus pineapple equals pina colada. A candy that tastes like a drink with an umbrella? Sign me up. In fact, on some bags of Jelly Belly beans there are cute little recipes like:

2 very cherry + 1 chocolate pudding= chocolate covered cherry.

The problem is, that's a little too close to math for my taste. I mean, if I'm going to that much trouble I might as well cook.

So, I have to be able to spread the beans out and sort them by color. Because one bean is just not big enough to fully appreciate the taste. And, anyway, who has the time or patience to eat One Bean At a Time? But if you scoop up a handful of beans randomly from the bag and pop them in your mouth, you're mixing flavors and could end up with some ghastly combingations, like grape with vanilla--both of which are wonderful alone but should not be allowed to occupy space on my tongue at the same time. So, I completely sort the colors and then scarf back three or four of the same color at a time to fully appreciate the flavor experience.

Yes, I realize this means I'm nuts. Yes, it's perfectly fine to call me anal-retentive, as long as you remember to hyphenate it.

And then pass the Jelly Bellies. As long as you sort them first. I should be a rock star so that some loser would get paid to sort my beans for me backstage. :-)


april said...

I'm totally the same about my jelly bellies. I'm not really a candy person at all, but my family has a tradition of mixing up nasty jelly belly concoctions. It started when my cousins were little and none of us had anything in common. We actually mixed in some Bertie Botts beans. I excluded myself from eating tangerine snot though. What can I say, they are boys. Anyway, I like the soda flavored ones and the fruit flavored. My mom actually likes the buttered popcorn, but it's too weird for my taste. I love that, when you get the big box, the jelly beans come separate and with a map of sorts.

Pat said...

You are just tooo weird for words. I like to just grab a hand full. The flavors you like will over power the ones you don't; who has time to sort jelly beans??? Why not just go to Publix and buy the flavors you like by the pound already sorted????? I have got to go buy some tequilla today so we don't have to resort to mixing drink flavored jelly beans. Later!

Shelly Conn said...

I don't like jellybeans. I do like some of the fruity jelly bellies though. (Just a slim few) :)

Sanna said...

I am not a person for Jelly Beans, but I LOVE the buttered popcorn flavoured ones. Just weird, but oh so yummie!

Pat said...

Oh, YUM! Mom bought tequila. Later, ya'll. Gotta get drunk with my mama. :-)

Midas said...

LOL. You're weird. Although, I kind of agree with you. WTF were they thinking when they made the licorice flavor? Why would they put it in Dr. Pepper and completely ruin a perfectly good soda?!

I avoid anything with cherry flavor. They're like medicine and I have a thing againsnt medicine. I had to take tons when I was a child and I just can't stomach cherry, unless it's fresh.


Ryter said...

Heh....I LOVE my jelly beans....but not until Easter. And I sort them as well...put them back in the bowl and re-sort them the next time I choose one. Something I must have picked up from teaching all those Kindergarteners how to sort and count. Pathetic actually. Time to retire....sigh.