Food Personal Essays

Candy & The CaronaVirus

unnamedMy dear friend C. and I used to go to the candy floor at Gimbels on 86th Street once a week. Actually, the whole store was filled with candy — more candy than one could imagine. We bought it and ate it during the week and went back for more the next week. We were in our early twenties, each running around at our first job and living together in an apartment. We painted our living room Grecian Rose, which was great until we saw it from the street at night and realized our apartment looked like a bordello. Life was good.

Over the years, C continued on the candy quest and never gained weight, which is really not a very BFF thing to do, but we still talk “candy,” especially in times of trouble. When I lived on the Cape, she would come once a year to go to Chatham Candy Manor in Chatham to stock up. Sometimes I would make a run for her and then meet her in New York City.

We have discussed old age together, and one of her criteria is that we must live near a good candy store. I don’t think that’s unusual at all, although I need an indoor pool that isn’t at the YMCA, and I still weigh dozens of pounds more than she does. Life is many things; unfair is one of them.

WWII_imageI sent her the article this morning that said that people are not buying kale and quinoa anymore; they are buying Oreos and chips. And in return, she sent me the announcement from See’s Candies in Los Angeles that they are closing all their stores. I would challenge her notion that See’s is on par with Chatham Candy Manor, but we are trying not to argue during this stressful time. Perspective. Anyway, See’s is 99 years old and has never before closed except during WWII, when they would shutter their doors only if they didn’t have the ingredients they needed.

Here is our back-and-forth:

C: So, even health nuts have moved to junk?

Me: Finally, they’ve become our people.

C: Kale and quinoa have always been questionable. I have a bag of Oreos in the freezer for emergencies.

Me: I feel strongly that Hydrox are infinitely better than Oreos. I have no sweets here. (This is true.)

C: I agree, but they are hard to find. Birthday Cake Oreos are fantastic!

She went on to assure me she’d stocked up last week. She went to See’s and wore her face mask. We determined that perhaps candy is an essential need, and the candy stores should be open, like pharmacies. While we do recognize that they aren’t truly “essential,” we will always appreciate that candy is part of our 45-year shared history. Cathryn’s husband, Victor, holds our obsession against us, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the prenup that he can’t say anything about it. And we are both grateful that he has no interest in our candy, which makes us like him all the more.

P.S. You remember C.; she is the one who keeps real maple syrup in her car in case she decides to stop at IHOP, where they don’t always have it. She is very organized.


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