Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Which Candy Should I Read Today?

We humans are big on pairing: we match our clothes, devote ample time to finding our perfect match, and we nod solemnly when told by waiters that certain dishes are best accompanied by specific wines. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule: when my alma mater went to match freshman roommates in 1996, it decided to buck this trend by matching a devoted Abba fan with someone who snobbishly wrote in the “about me” section of her roommate preference sheet, “I like punk rock, indie, spy and surf rock, swing, and some ska and emo…if it’s not silly. No Abba! No disco!”

But let’s forget about outliers and return to my generalization: pairing—we humans like it. So with that in mind, why not put a bit more thought into what kind of candy would best accompany your next beach read or bedtime novel?

I have no concrete rules for candy/book pairing, because if ever there were a time to believe in Relativism, it’s when it comes to candy preferences. You should let your own taste buds guide your candy picks. (That said, I will defend to the death my belief in the superiority of mediocre Hershey’s over mediocre Cadbury’s…and of the wrong-ness of anyone who believes otherwise.)

The possibilities are endless. For example, you could take the amateur literary critic’s approach and match literary quality with candy/chocolate goodness: when reading John Grisham or Dan Brown you eat plebian M&Ms or a Cadbury Flake bar; while reading flamboyant Balzac you go for Jelly Bellies (which also happen to look a bit like his jewel-encrusted canes). And Zola and Faulkner would definitely read well with Maison du Chocolat Tanzanian dark chocolate.

Another approach would be to match by genre:
• Thrillers and suspense novels work well with crunchy candy because they sound like the footsteps of an approaching killer.
• Romances go well with Melody Pops (the candy whistles you had when you were a kid). If you whistle they sound like melancholy. I suppose you could also do far more porno things with them if you were reading smut.
• Jawbreakers are good for page turners because you don’t have to take time away from your book to reach into the candy bag.
• Sour Patch Kids are good for comics. (The sweet/sour combo is too distracting to be consumed while reading more serious literature).

In any case, I most recently paired Raymond Queneau’s Zazie dans le Metro with a Nestle Peppermint Crisp. Incidentally, I didn't use any of the above guidelines in choosing, but rather let the minibar's offerings dictate my decision: it was either Peppermint Crisp or cream cheese.

The plot of the book: A girl goes to Paris to spend the day with her cross-dressing performer uncle, which leads to a variety of comic encounters. Ha ha ha. A cult classic. Lots o' language play.

The plot of the chocolate: I’d say it’s about mixing decent, good-enough-to-eat –on-its-own chocolate with an emerald green hard candy interior.

Frankly, the half-candy, half-After Eight dinner mint-ness of the Peppermint Crisp was a real distraction from the rest of the chocolate bar. But then again, so was Queneau’s obsession with word play, which I might have found innovative when I was 20 but now just find a bit annoying. Not to say that there weren’t any good parts, like the below. (Sorry, I’m not going to translate here b/c the joke is based on the difficulty of the French literary form, the passé simple—a distinction which doesn’t exist in English):
- M’autorisez-vous donc a de nouveau formuler la proposition interrogative qu’il y a quelques instants j’enonca devant vous?
- J’enoncai, dit l’obscur.
- J’enoncais, dit Trouscaillon.
- J’enoncai sans esse.
- J’enoncai, dit enfin Trouscaillon.

Despite my general disappointment with the novel—and if someone wants to enlighten me as to its greatness, please do—the one great triumph in this pairing is that IF EVER THERE WERE A CHOCOLATE BAR USED IN A CABARET PERFORMANCE, the Peppermint Crisp, with its verdant interior, and velvety chocolate coating, would clearly be the winner.

The Score:
Pairing combo: 10
Book as a book: 6.5
Chocolate bar as a chocolate bar: 7

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The Cromulator said...

Lies! Romances go well with red hots. Only the fiery zest of the red hot can match the steamy desires that rage across the pages of a romance!

Moko said...

Not bad, Cromulator.

However: Red Hots give you red mouth, which is not sexy unless you're trying to seduce a 12-yr-old girl who's been creating colorful spit gobs on the sidewalk while she eats a pack of Rainbow Nerds.

Anonymous said...

So hot.

Anonymous said...

this makes us dizzy.

Moko said...

anonymous, you have left the most intriguing comment and i hope i never figure out what you are talking about