Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

Evil MutantsWe gather today to pay seasonal homage to sugar, corn syrup, titanium dioxide and food dyes Yellow 5 and 6, Red 3, and Blue 1, all lovingly blended into a tooth-rotting, belt-expanding, artery-clogging delicacy known as candy corn.

I have written previously about this Halloween treat. I expect to write about it in the future. When something as heaven-sent as candy corn is concerned, overwriting isn’t possible.

Candy corn is to October what watermelon is to July. It is one of the four principal food groups—along with raspberry preserves, bacon, and Jack Daniel’s—recommended for a healthy daily diet by the USDA and AMA. Surely it was worshiped by earlier civilizations like the Mesopotamians. (I’m not quite certain who they were, but their name sounds regal enough to merit candy corn.)

Would you dare approach Thanksgiving without turkey? Christmas without a tree? Valentine’s Day without roses? St. Paddy’s without green beer? Fourth of July without fireworks?

Of course not. Nor should you entertain any thoughts of Halloween without having at least one hand, preferably both, stuck wrist-deep in a bag of this sugar-kerneled nirvana.

Alas, there are storm clouds on the horizon. Evil mutant candy corn has been created, threatening to ruin this culinary experience. Someone needs to alert the FBI before this nonsense mushrooms into a full-blown national catastrophe. 

I should’ve suspected chicanery was afoot. After all, confectioners have been messing with traditional Halloween candy corn for years. Congressional action may be required to thwart this steady erosion of American ideals.

They started by adding chocolate. Bleech!

Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate—from Hershey to Ghirardelli and all points in between. Chocolate is fine on vanilla ice cream. Also in Reese’s cups. Also drizzled atop cherries, strawberries, and apricots.

But chocolate-colored and chocolate-tasting candy corn is an affront to the eyes and taste buds alike. People of proper breeding and manners avoid it.

The people at Brach’s have further sinned by formulating a caustic purgative known as “caramel candy corn.” Bleech II!

Caramel itself is divine. I recommend it straight or melted on apples. But not cooked into candy corn. Some food combos are simply not meant to be.

Guava paste on pork barbecue, for instance. Lime Jello atop pumpkin pie. Bagels and sawmill gravy. That sort of mismatch. The same holds true with caramel and candy corn.

Indeed, the only mutated form of candy corn your obedient servant can recommend with a clear conscience, not to mention rumbling belly, is the round, orange candy corn pumpkin.

True, these babies don’t appeal to the eye like good ol’ orange, yellow and white-tipped candy corn kernels. However, they are positively delicious. And their generous size ensures you advance to the tooth-rotting, belt-expanding, artery-clogging stage that much faster.

I must close now and hie myself to the store for a ten-bag purchase. I hear supplies are limited this year.

Sam Venable is an author, stand-up comedian, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel.
He may be reached at