Candy

prod_shot.gif Wednesday was a special day in my house when I was a child.  My father was (and still is) a pharmacist.  To help make ends meet, he worked a second job on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons at a local drug store instead of his usual 9-5 gig at the area hospital. Thirty years ago being a pharmacist didn’t bring in the big bucks it does today and with four kids, he had his hands full. He was never home until long after dinner on Wednesdays and we were always excited for his return, partly because he brought with him our weekly chocolate treat – plain M&Ms.

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baconchocolate.jpg Here are three little words that might give the staunchest snacker pause: Chocolate-covered bacon.

It sounds so wrong. But it tastes just right, says Joseph Marini III, a fourth-generation candy maker who is selling the bacon bonbons at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk seaside amusement park.

"It's not just for breakfast anymore," he says with a grin.  And this isn't just a wacky West Coast thing.

This year, Famous Dave's at the Minnesota State Fair is rolling out Pig Lickers - dark chocolate-covered bacon pieces sprinkled with sea salt.

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little_02_purchase.jpgI go to Pasadena often because my younger daughter’s cheer team practices there. Yes, I spawned a cheerleader because my parents don’t have enough to laugh about in heaven. It’s given me a chance to explore Old Pasadena and I’ve been loving it.  But the fact that “Of all the Gin Joints” so to speak, I mean that Little Flower Candy Company just happened to open a bakery in Pasadena was just dumb luck for me. The building is an art deco cubby that reveals itself as you’re zooming along what looks like a residential area. Pasadena is funny that way. 

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mocha-mintbiscotti005.jpg It happens every year. About a month before Christmas, I buy at least a couple of boxes of little candy canes. I have plans to hang them over the edge of cups of hot cocoa. I place a large bowl of them on the kitchen island, ready to be snatched up and chewed. There are all kinds of ways I use them during the holidays. But, it never fails. I always buy way too many. And, every year at this time, I pull out the leftover candy canes and begin to stir them into cookie dough. This year is no different. But this year, the cookies are Italian-style twice-baked cookies – biscotti.

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candy.jpg A few months ago I discovered that my friend Jane keeps a tall glass jar in her kitchen filled with chocolate candies – bite-size Dove bars, Mr. Goodbar, Hershey's Golden Almond, Snickers, all my favorites.  Personally I've never understood how anyone could keep chocolate out in plain sight without consuming it. Unless you're Willie Wonka.

Although I don't keep any chocolate visible in my house, I love it when other people do.  I have selected physicians based on the selection of candy in their waiting rooms.  And once I discovered this treasure trove in Jane's house, I always stop by the jar on my way out like a trick-or-treater on Halloween, and toss a few chocolate candies into my purse.  Just in case of emergency.  Which could happen on the drive home.

As if Jane's house weren't already my favorite place to visit, she also owns a great piece of exercise equipment called a Power Plate.  At some other time I can possibly explain this machine but not right now when my attention is focused on the candy jar.

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