The following is a rerun of a blog I wrote a few years ago--I thought I'd publish it again for Halloween!
Circus Peanuts: Nature’s Perfect Food!
In honor of Halloween, I thought I would do a little story on Circus Peanuts. You know, those orange, peanut-shaped, dense marshmallow candies sold in a bag. Some say they taste like Styrofoam, a dead finger, or a combination of the two. I happen to like them. Although I haven’t had one since I started eating the healthy lowcarb way back in 2001. But when I did eat them, I enjoyed them. Which surprises me, because they aren’t chocolate. And I don’t like marshmallow Peeps or things like that. But Circus Peanuts, yum.
In production since the 1800’s, Circus Peanuts are made of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, soy protein, food coloring and artificial flavor. It says “artificial banana flavor”, which sounds repulsive to me, yet I don’t recall them tasting banana-y at all. It was a unique flavor and texture I can’t even describe. My earliest memory of this treat was sharing some with my dad, who had a bowl next to him while watching TV. I must have been very young. I never gorged on them, but ate only a few now and then through adulthood, maybe once a year or so. Just enough to get that Circus Peanut fix.
I know there are many people who cannot stand this candy. It surprises me how intense their feelings are towards these globs of sugar. I mean, there appears to be a significant percentage of the population that absolutely loathes them. My brother-in-law is one. Like many, he hates their taste, texture and mere presence. I remember one time years ago he visited and we set out a bowl of Cheetos and hid a Circus Peanut amongst them. We were playing a board game and he reached in without looking and grabbed this distinctive-feeling snack, letting out a loud groan/laugh when he realized what it was. Needless to say he refused to eat it. (He probably gave it to me.)
Wikipedia has an informative entry on Circus Peanuts, along with a photo of a bag of this candy as well as a loose, close-up piece in all its glory. The entry has a link to a blog article called “Does Anybody Actually Like Circus Peanuts?” which captures both sides of the debate. (I stole the title of my blog from somebody’s comment in that article.) The author makes it clear that Circus Peanuts are not his favorite food. While they don’t make him gag, he has a very hard time understanding how anyone can genuinely like them. The author also is amazed that Circus Peanuts are available from several companies. “In other words, people compete to sell them!” he says. “So apparently what we’ve got here is a product that survives not because anybody is genuinely fond of it, but because less than 100 percent of the populace is totally repelled.” Try to check out that article and the reader comments if you get a chance—it’s pretty funny.
In the meantime, go out and buy a bag of Circus Peanuts if you don’t already have some in the house. Eat them yourself, hand them out at Halloween, hide them in somebody’s Cheetos, or as one reader suggested, wait until they get stale and use them as building material.
Take care and Happy Halloween!