The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts March 17, 2006

Good Eats - by Maya Silver

Substance-Free Food
Recently, I explored some theologically inspired diets to help us all “lighten up.” But it has occurred to me that some of us may need to lighten up in a different sense. What better way to do this than with candy, our old childhood friend?

At a health-conscious school like Oberlin, we often lose sight of the fact that manufactured sweets taste good. We get caught up in the organic unsalted peanut butter, sidetracked by the locally grown produce and distracted by the sumptuously supple blocks of tofu. We let our inner rationality lead us out of sugar excess. But every now and then, it is important to silence that austere voice from within and then gag it and let it die a slow death.

Candy, like us, comes in all different shapes, sizes and colors, and, like a few of us, can be purchased at a number of vendors in town. A good mantra for choosing the best candy for elevating your spirits is “the less substance, the better.”

Right off the bat, this rules out at least 2/3 of all candy species. Chocolate, of course, is no longer a possibility, as it contains at least a small amount of calcium and, in its darker forms, may be an anti-oxidant. And forget about nature’s candy! So make like a banana and split...from your banana.

The candy frame of mind you want to be in is this: brightly colored, with gaudy packaging, and no nutritional value. Think along the lines of an edible Tammy Fae, dyed with Red Lake 40.

The most obvious candy destination in Oberlin is Ben Franklin, the local five and dime. The trendiest item for purchase here is, without hesitation, Bubblicious LeBron’s Lightning Lemonade Bubble Gum ($.50). LeBron James has two talents: he is a star player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and he makes a good chewing gum. If you’re a fan of wearable food, opt for one of Sathers’ tasty candy necklaces ($.59) and flaunt it with a lavender sweater set.

A couple of storefronts down, you’ll find Gibson’s, the Oberlin equivalent of your grandmother’s kitchen — usually homemade, always delicious. I most strongly recommend their homemade rock candy ($.75). Don’t be fooled by the name, this treat is no rock. This “jewel” of a delicacy comes in a variety of flavors including root beer, watermelon, lime and purple.

Mentos, the fresh maker, is always a safe bet for a good time, especially since it will increase your popularity tenfold. Even though it comes in a pricey package ($3.79), it is a small amount to pay for a new, fresh you.

But Oberlin’s true hidden secret in the sphere of candy trade is Campus Video. Although the name is misleading, Campus Video does indeed offer more than videos. You can lasso up a couple of laughs with the versatile Nerds Rope ($.55). Or get in touch with your inner fifth grader with a packet of Fun Dip ($.55).

Sometimes, the best way to lighten up is to air out your brain with a little bit of sugar and a lot of carbohydrates. So if you’re feeling blue, don’t ever turn to chard or a dried fruit salad. Just book it to town and make an irresponsible investment in a sugar high.


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