Fringe Candy: The Wayback Machine, Rock Candy

Nothing to see here. Just an everyday glowing rock.

A few important things to know about rock candy:

It might be the earliest form of candy, with records of it appearing around 2,000 years ago.

It’s pure sugar (with a pinch of food coloring)—if Pixie Sticks are the cocaine of the candy world, rock candy is the crack cocaine.

It has a string in it, so be prepared to spit that out.

Really, it’s more kid science experiment than legitimate candy, so why review it? Well, because I found it in the Sweet Factory bulk bins when I was looking to kill some time this afternoon. I had memories of rock candy from my childhood, formed on a stick rather than a string because Durango was upscale like that.

Rock candy is kind of ingenious in a way, and if you have kids you can make your own rather than give your hard earned Dinero to some skeezy street candy peddler. All you do is dissolve sugar water until you can’t dissolve no more. Add a few drops of food coloring. Get a pencil with strings tied do it and dangle the strings into the sugar water solution. Then kick back and wait a week. You’re making candy!
What’s happening is that the sugars are recrystallizing in much the same way crystals form in caves. But this is edible. And the appeal of pure sugar is not to be understated. Even knowing it’s about as simple as can be, I still enjoyed a small bag of this writing it up.

And I emphasize small. A little bit of this goes a long way unless you’re a real sugar junkie, at which point check yourself into a program. Don’t underestimate the power of the rock. The big sugar crystals are hard. Not jaw-breaker hard, but if you have issues with your teeth, chew at your own risk. You’re better off breaking off a piece and sucking the life out of it. A small piece will give you a lot of value for your money. Which is as it should be, because, let me reiterate, this shit is pure sugar.

Since there is really nothing I can say about flavor, let us discuss presentation. Rock candy is beautiful. Really, just get a clear plastic bag of it and look at it for a while. It’s like fairy crystals—all pink and purple and yellow (at least the batch I had was…actual results may vary greatly). This stuff is like Dwarven treasure. Heck, make a little cardboard treasure chest and fill it with rock candy as a treasure for your next Dungeons & Dragon game.

Rock Candy is a bit of history. It’s been around forever so there’s a good chance that your parents and your grandparents and on through the generations were familiar with it. Like the shark, it pretty much hit it’s evolutionary peak long ago, but it’s already reached the Platonic ideal of candy in some regards—a perfectly simple way to get sugar into your blood stream and look pretty while doing it. Nothing fancy for flavor is necessary. In fact, I personally feel that infusing it with a flavor would cheapen the experience.

Go pick up a few strings and share them. I just shared a few with friends and it was a bonding experience as memories of childhoods long gone came to the surface—all described around a mouthful of colorful crystal rock candy.

One thought on “Fringe Candy: The Wayback Machine, Rock Candy

  1. Nathan, thanks for the blast from the past! And I love your idea of sitting around with friends and sharing some rock candy. I will always be fascinated by those simple things from childhood that bring back the memories.

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