Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Miss Fred

I was in World Market the other day (Pier 1's primary competition) perusing the candy options. They always have unique, interesting choices (Hershey's and Mars wouldn't dare show their cheap chocolatey mugs in that aisle), altho I often wonder if the sweets are REALLY from other countries or just packaged to make us dumb Americans pay an inflated price for something we perceive as "special" because it's got Japanese writing on it (so you better hope the picture is accurate - too bad "lick-n-taste" is not a viable sibling to "scratch-n-sniff").

The black liquorice (not licorice) from Australia looked good so I bought some. How could I resist a package that begs me to "Give it a BURL!" which is the Aussie way of saying "give it a try" - conveniently explained right there on the package... Hmmm. They have to explain their own colloquialisms in Oz? Burl rhymes with hurl too... hope those verbs aren't related in this case.

Australians apparently do know something about liquorice because this stuff did NOT suck. It did, however, get me wondering how they make the squishy, thick, black tubes of tangy tongue tantalizers, which in turn reminded me of... Mr. Rogers.

Yes, Fred Rogers; the sweater-wearing, sneaker-changing icon of my youth. (Hey, maybe I can blame him for my perfectly aligned closet of hoodies in all colors of the rainbow, coupled with the matching Converse anally lined up underneath! Not that I'm OCD or anything.)

Once in awhile his show would have a "trip through the toothbrush factory" or some such video that showed the secret life of everyday items before they come to live in our reality. I would sit in rapt attention learning about processes most people don't consider even once in their lifetime. I don't know why this fascinates me so much, but it does. I mean seriously - when you think about vacation, I'll bet the first thing you do is turn to your significant other and say, "Hey! I know! Let's find out how to tour a giant candy factory and watch underpaid, overworked union employees grumble about wages, break health codes, and attempt to keep all 10 fingers intact!" No? You don't do that? Oh, ok. Maybe you didn't watch Mr. Rogers as much as I did.

Fortunately, today we have the awesomeness of the Internet so you can find practically any information you want in an instant. Except how they make real liquorice. Perhaps the Universe is waiting for me to fill that void. I did, however, find a video on how they make the red twirly "licorice" (that's actually carefully-disguised sugar), and... (wait for it John...)

wait for it...


Ok, actually gummy worms, but close enough. Bears get an honorable mention somewhere in there. If you have just under five minutes, you too can cross off your bucket list a visit to the candy factory to find out how "jelly candy" is made simply by watching the following video. Yet another example of how media has replaced real life, but nevertheless kinda interesting. :)

If you thought that one was cool, once the video ends it gives you little thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to show the other videos they offer. Holding the mouse over the thumbnail will tell you what the video is. Click to play it. They have everything from peanut butter to condoms... think Fred would've run the condom video on his show? I wonder if he had an array of those to match his sweaters?

Yeah, yeah, I know... this is why I can't remember the important stuff like appointments and what I did yesterday. My brain is wired for useless trivia and silly questions. What can I say?