This past weekend, I met up with my parents for some garden shopping. We met in our usual spot, Peru, Illinois, which is kind of a halfway point for us. (It’s a bit of a longer drive for me, but it’s worth it because that area has great thrift stores!) We usually go to the same ol’ places but since I was on the hunt for tomato and pepper plants for my garden, they took me to Rural King–“America’s Farm & Home Store”. I did get some plants and some seeds here (more on that later) but I fell in love with the store for other reasons.
Reason #1: the free popcorn and coffee. When you walk in the Rural King door, you are welcomed by the scent of freshly popped popcorn and a pot of coffee. Isn’t that so sweet and old-fashioned? My mom and I helped ourselves to some popcorn while we poked around the candy aisles.
Reason #2: the vintage candy selection! Where else can you get seeds for your garden, parts for your tractor, food for your chickens AND old-timey gum and sweets?! I could have bought one of everything, but I decided to narrow it down to a few things (mainly because I didn’t want my candy bill to out-do my garden bill…so embarrassing…)
Here’s a rundown of my choices:
Chuckles, a sugar coated jelly candy introduced in 1921. (There is an interesting review of the Chuckles flavors here.) I am familiar with Chuckles, but I can’t remember ever tasting them, so I’m looking forward to breaking the package open this week.
Teaberry gum, my faaaavorite gum of all time. It was introduced in 1900 was popular in the 60s. (Has it been on Mad Men?) If you’ve never tried it, I think you should–it’s sweet and has a slight wintergreen flavor…it’s hard to pinpoint…it’s not super minty, it’s just wonderful. And I love the packaging and all of its vintage pink goodness. I found the commercial below and I may have spent a good amount of time this morning perfecting my Teaberry shuffle…
Clove gum is another old gum…there’s not much to say about it except that it’s reeeally clove-y. It’s not bad, but I think one pack would have been enough to walk down memory lane.
Beemans gum is from the 19th century. I’d forgotten what it tasted like. For some reason, I was thinking honey (BEEman…turns out he’s the inventor of the gum and not a bee) but it’s a nice light mint flavor…different than Teaberry, but almost as good!
And finally, Sky Bar. I’d never seen this one before and I am most excited to try it. It’s made up of four sections with four different fillings: caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge. According to the Necco website, the Sky Bar is still the only candy bar to offer four different flavors. I had a very healthy lunch today (involving roasted cauliflower) so I doubt this candy bar makes it through the afternoon.
I think my favorite part of the old-timey candies is that their packaging is usually the original design…no one felt the need to update it to keep up with the “cool kids”. It’s charming and tasty and while I’m eating it, I just can’t help but think (in an old granny voice): They don’t make things like they used to.