Thursday, May 10, 2007

Candywatch: The Jujyfruit Menace

I'm a bit of a foodie, but I have a fairly uncomplicated relationship with candy (excepting of course, chocolate, which I consider less of a candy and more of an ingredient). I really like sweet, fruity candies like Starburst, Skittles, Nerds, etc. I'd rather not have a Now and Later. But nothing could really prepare me for the most confusing candy experience I have ever had:

Based on the somewhat limited Wikipedia article on Jujyfruits, the above box design is the last one that the Heide Candy Company of Germany implemented before being bought out by Hershey's in 1995 (Heide was sold to Farley & Sather's Candy Company, Inc in 2002). Do you see the boy on the box? The one holding the orange-flavored-but-tomato-shaped Jujyfruit aloft? Do you see how he is leaning away from it, afraid of its power? Do you see how he looks like a German cartoon version of me?

Perhaps the candy's Teutonic origin explains its bizarre tastes. When I think about Jujyfruits, I'm reminded of the scene in Gravity's Rainbow in which Tyrone Slothrop is trying to seduce a woman, but is forced to go to her aunt's house and eat "wine jellies" and Tabasco gumdrops and such. One candy he eats has a menthol center. I still laugh at this scene when I read it, even with the knowledge that Jujyfruits used to have a mint flavor.

So maybe Europeans have miscalibrated taste buds in general. The current lineup of flavors is:

Lime (Lime took the place of mint in 1999)

The current lineup of shapes is:

Bundle of grapes
Pea Pod

Maybe this discordance is just an extension of Pynchon's vignette. Maybe Jujyfruits are just continuing Pynchon's Postmodernist project. In a Jujyfruit, the signifying shape (Pineapple, say) is not only sundered from the signified flavor, but is also moored eternally to a comically divergent flavor, like licorice.

Alternately, Jujyfruits could be the last experiment of a Nazi scientist who, seeing his work with hallucinogens and Elder Gods drawing to a close at the end of the war, devised a candy that somehow infiltrated American movie theaters and convenience stores, none of us the wiser. I can him now in Nazi hell, or sitting at the right hand of Nylarhotep, cackling every time someone pops a mint-flavored banana into their mouth.

Becky's mother sent her home with a bagful of junk food the last time she visited, and you had better believe that Jujyfruits were on the menu. Becky didn't want them, and gave them to me. I figured that I'd just toss them out eventually and yet they persisted, never leaving the passenger seat of my car. I'd drive to the post office and find myself popping the waxy morsels into my mouth. I ate the whole contents of that box.** I couldn't resist. I was that boy on the box, the one who holds the Lemon Tomato in his hand, and tries to resist, but cannot tear his eyes away. So with a thin-lipped grin, he resigns himself to ju-ju-gum saturation yet again.

**Except for the licorice ones. That shit is gross.


Alison said...

i like this blog. i like that you are so in college you're talking about jujyfruits being pynchonic. or maybe you're not in college anymore (in which case, congratulations!)?

one time we watched independence day for a movie night in college (and i was an american studies major friends with a bunch of film and/or literary and cultural studies majors) and all we talked about was how the aliens were giant vaginas and the only way to vanquish them was to penetrate them (fly the the plane into the glowing opening on the bottom) and plant a seed (nuke).

alison (i probably owe you money for the amante we ate together that one time.)

i will add you to my blogroll. if you want to see the blog attached to the blogroll, you can at

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