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?
I like candy but it’s something I tend to eat in spurts. I’ll have a craving for something – often seasonal, like Cadbury Eggs at Easter time – and buy/eat a lot of them for a short while, then be done.
I am often tempted by candy at the check-out when I go grocery shopping — I treat myself once in a while to a Snickers bar or a pack of Skittles from the selection available there. I don’t really have a favorite candy bar; I *do* buy some that are not particularly popular though, like Baby Ruth and Almond Joy. My husband’s favorite from the cashier lane is large-size York peppermint patties.
Candies I avoid: sour gummy-type candies and anything that contains gelatin (which mostly means no marshmallow candies).
It must be a bit of a chore to avoid gelatin in products. I do eat some seasonal fare that I don’t crave year-round, but there is always something to take its place. I like Snickers, York peppermint patties, and Skittles! Baby Ruth and Almond Joy are very American and not so common here 🙂 I almost typed Salmon Joy; that would be even less common 🙂
This was fun to read! I too remember penny candy. My favorites were Pixy Sticks and black licorice whips (I was a weird child). When we went to the beach during the summers growing up, my mom would give us 5 cents per day for the snack bar. They had a few penny candy items, but 5 cents would get you a whole Look or Big Hunk bar (the only candy that wouldn’t melt out on the beach as you ate it). If we were disciplined we could save our 5 cents for two days and get a soft serve cone or a lemonade bar. Both those were dangerous though as they tended to melt quickly. I usually bought licorice each day – 5 whips was heaven for me.
I’ve never been much of a candy bar person – my favorite was one called Milkshake that I would freeze. Sadly it’s no longer made, not even for the vintage shops. I also liked the old versions of Butterfinger and Payday. I don’t buy candy here except at the holidays for our kids but I tried lots of chocolate when we were traveling. We loved all the many different flavors of Lindt truffles available overseas (and visited the Lindt World of Chocolate in Lucerne), and ate many Mars Bars and other Mars confections, and lots of Cadbury offerings. These days I love Cadbury Creme Eggs – the year the filling was orange flavor I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, and I also love milk chocolate covered peanut clusters. On the whole though, candy is a rare thing for me these days. I like it, but don’t crave it.
P.S. I forgot to add that we love collecting and enjoying as many flavors as possible of KitKat bars when we’re in Japan. Last visit we found 31 different flavors!
I didn’t know that Creme Eggs ever had flavours! I definitely remember your KitKit collecting, though! My tastes are contradictory – I don’t like mochi because it’s too “gummy” for me, but I do like the tapioca beads in bubble tea – go figure!
Interesting, I’ve never heard of lordagsgodis despite spending time in Scandinavia. I guess that wasn’t a thing in Norway or Denmark. And what’s the name of the Swedish candy stores? Just curious.
Lately my candy faves are milk duds, Starburst jellybeans, dark chocolate and Daim if I’ve been to IKEA. I love Easter candy like Cadbury Creme eggs, Reese’s eggs and yes, peeps. But unfortunately I have a horrible sweet tooth and also love cupcakes and pastries. What can you expect when your name is Candi? 😆 Lately I’ve been addicted to chocolate covered popcorn though and it’s something I need to reign in.
Hi well-named Candi! Chocolate covered popcorn: I am not familiar with that! I noted Swedish candy stores in many cities but they don’t seem to be a franchise, like Sockerbit in NYC and Sweetish in Lancaster PA. For Easter I love creme eggs and somehow end up buying Jelly Bellies at Costco…Link is the Reese’s fanatic at our house.
I see penny sweets (candy) around here but I suspect thay are not a penny anymore. There is a fish and chip shop in a village on the way to our cottage in Scotland who have trays of penny sweets on display for the local children. The Scots have a very sweet tooth – all their cakes and biscuits from the bakery seem to be covered in pink or white icing.
I myself don’t like sugary things much and particularly not sweets (my mum never ate sweets either) and so I never buy them, the most I have is a square of Lindt’s darkest chocolate each evening (I smiled at your Bah Humbug!) and occasionally a chocolate from a box of chocolates if anyone has bought me a box as a present and my favourites would have to be After Eight mints. My daughters know to buy me the tiniest Easter egg as a token gift otherwise one would last me all year and just gather a white bloom on it – we often would take an Easter egg with us on our summer holiday just to eat them up. Because I don’t like sweets I never bought them much for my two daughters when they were growing up and they are both in their 40’s now and very grateful that they have not had to suffer any dental work or fillings at all unlike their friends! I suppose I don’t have to strike any balance as sweets (candy) just don’t interest me – I would much prefer an apple or some yoghurt but it is interesting to know that it can become an addiction so maybe I am lucky or maybe I am missing out!!.
PS I do like to see the rows of jars in the traditonal style sweet shops and the old chocolate bar wrappers though.
Hi Viv, I do not know if your candy-free life is a blessing or a curse, haha! I cannot imagine being without that pleasure. Funnily enough, if (in some strange world) I was forced to do without one kind of food, I would give up candy to keep fruit.
My son in law always had a big bowl of candy on the table which disappeared once Little L came on the scene but it appears Little L has a sweet tooth like her dad and at age 7 has just had her first filling in a baby molar. It was a bit of a shock for her and my daughter but will it be enough to stop her eating quite so much….we shall see. I did have a sweeter tooth when I was little and a mouth full of fillings by age 12 and that stopped me eating them and now I don’t like sugary foods at all and prefer savoury anyday. I think some people’s teeth are much more able to tolerate a lot of sugar – my family on dad’s side had dreadful teeth and false teeth age 60! Mum and her mother, my gran, always had good teeth probably because they didn’t eat sweets and at 96 mum still has all her own but they are beginning to loosen now and fall out with age. I think my pleasure is savoury snacks and crisps – sometimes I feel I just have to have a bit of salt!
I can remember Woolworths, I used to love it as a child. I’m not really a sweet person but more a savoury gal, but I may well try it out and just eat savoury snacks on a Saturday 1
Isn’t it funny how people can be so drawn to either sweet or savoury – my sister would prefer to snack on crackers, antipasto and olives!
Lördagsgodis, a bit of a 70s thing or for parents and always combined with excellent toothbrushing techniques. Scandis do eat lots of sweets and the quality is very good. Lots of lovely licorice, sweet, salt, salmiakki, or super-sour. Never red (an abomination). Living abroad is a bit of a nightmare, so many sweets I just refuse to eat.