Have you heard of Swedish Candy Saturdays? I am trying them out!
It was a tradition in Sweden that everyone who liked sweets should buy and eat as much as they wanted on Saturdays. Then you would thoroughly clean your teeth and not have any more until the next Saturday! Apparently in Sweden, the population is going off the rails and starting to eat candy during the week now, but lots of adults and kids still observe Candy Saturdays. In big cities here in Canada and the US, there are even Swedish candy stores with specialties like salted licorice.
I am old enough to remember “penny candy” at the local convenience store. Lots of varieties were available, costing 1 cent each, or 2 for a cent, or even 3 for a cent. Things like jellybeans, gum drops, jubes, Swedish berries or fish, Mojo, spearmint leaves, jawbreakers and bubble gum. For a little more money, Twizzlers or Pixy Stix or candy cigarettes (gulp!) I remember the cashier, Sue, standing patiently behind the counter with the little half-pound paper bags waiting for us to choose “2 of this or 3 of that” infinitely. I also remember a friend bringing a whole quarter (25¢) to the store and buying 50 mojos – the bag was filled to the top – we were so shocked!
A few years later, my grandmother would take me shopping on Saturdays and we’d head for our own Pick and Mix at the local Woolworth’s. If you are not familiar with the concept, there were bins of loose candy, and you would scoop the amount you wanted into a bag. Then you would weigh it and pay by the hundred grams (probably quarter-pounds back then). All candies were the same price.
As a teen, especially when I had my own money, I bought candy most days after school. I never lost my taste for chalky or sugary or sour candies like Love Hearts, Sweetarts, Bottle Caps, Fruit-Tella, Starburst and Hi-Chew.
You’ll note that my parents and grandparents were complicit in all this – they loved candy, too. Everyone in my family likes to reminisce about it – and still buys it. With the older generations, they remember post-WW2 when nothing was available. My Dad tells me that dates were the big treat then. They were fond of toffees and molasses kisses until their teeth didn’t oblige them anymore, at which point they had to switch to Werther’s (which kids think of as old people’s candy!) However, even I have given up some candies to spare my teeth – like Spree and Nerds.
I like browsing all the cute retro touristy candy shops, but most vintage candies are still available dirt-cheap down the block at the corner store or dollar store. Like all good Canadians, I buy my candy at Dollarama or the Bulk Barn.
There are lots of distinctive chocolate bars and chips in Canada. For chocolate: Eat More, Pal-o-Mine, Cherry Blossom, Big Turk, and Laura Secord French Mint. For chips: ketchup, roast chicken, Hickory Sticks, and our latest thing, Storm Chips (a bunch of different savoury flavours in one bag – to be eaten during snowstorms). We also have an allegiance to some Canadian or British brands – for example, we buy Goodies (not Good and Plenty) and Crispy Crunch (not Butterfinger). Whenever I travel, I look for candy that’s new to me.
I could go on all day about the candy I like (and I hope you will, in the comments!)
Candy is my sweet of choice – while I like cookies and pastries and ice cream and other desserts, I can eat them sparingly. I have coworkers who “tsk” at me about eating candy, but will have a double-double and a doughnut at coffee break, and share staff birthday cake in the afternoon, and have a glass of wine or two with dinner. There are now 4 of us at work who will brave the comments and have a chocolate bar or some Twizzlers if we feel like it!
I like chocolate, but I can’t overdose on it – I seem to know when to stop. If you really push me on my candy habit, I will tell you I really only have two bad consumption habits – candy and coffee. Everything else I haven’t started or can do without. Maybe part of it is that I am self-disciplined in many other ways, like exercising and eating vegetables. Instead of “all things in moderation,” one should have a couple or a few areas in life where binging is acceptable, even if it is knitting or sex 😊
Some would say if I simply had one square of good-quality chocolate each day, I would be perfectly satisfied. Bah humbug!
After coming across a mention of Lördagsgodis recently, I decided to give it a try. I was still eating candy most days, and I overindulged during the holidays this year. Today is my 6th Candy Saturday! The first week, I had a lot of candy in the house, including a tin of Quality Street chocolates. I ate a lot of them, and shared them. I kept eating Christmas candy for 2 or 3 weeks, including some post-holiday candy canes purchased on sale. I bought myself some Rockets (known as Smarties in US), Tootsie Pops and jellybeans. I noticed after week 2 that I was eating less.
The kicker is, there is no candy from Sunday to Friday! Since I don’t have cake or ice cream or desserts anyway, I effectively have no sweets except for fruit and yogurt. By week 2, I found that not eating candy led me to not snacking in the evenings. I’d have a cup of tea after dinner and brush my teeth and that would be that! I still feel grumpy some evenings, like there is nothing to look forward to: if I can’t have candy, I don’t want anything!
Saturdays started to get more tentative. I don’t eat candy before lunch. I don’t always want to binge in the afternoon and impact my dinner. Without being “primed” by daily candy intake, I’m not as ravenous for it. So I end up eating far less than if I had spread out the treats throughout the week. Maybe more than most people, but less than my usual. Clever strategy, Sweden!
I still have some of my candy stash and I expect I will modestly keep topping it up. I’ve never really been able to keep it in the house before without eating it all. I am, by no means, done with it. But it has been interesting to challenge myself. I am going to continue until Easter and then reevaluate.
This has had no impact on my weight (a banned topic on this blog) or energy levels. A thought – in my last post, I was experiencing winter blahs. Maybe candy deprivation is why, haha!
PS – I can only think of two kinds of candy I don’t like: Peeps, and anything with artificial watermelon flavour. And I have to admit my capacity for eating candy corn is very low. That’s about it!
If you are a candy eater, what are your favourites? No matter what your snack favourites, how do you strike a balance between enjoyment and discipline – or do you bother?