Growing up as a vegan, the one thing non-vegan I always wanted to try was a candy bar. I was fascinated by them; we used to sell them in my parents store a lot and I remember all the crazy stuff kids would do with them, like freeze them in the summertime. A frozen candy bar? My 12 year old mind was blown. And top it off they came out in king size. Vegan, I know I said I’d be true but…
Snickers was my most coveted of them; the commercials had me at ‘crunchy peanuts.’ The gooey caramel, the milk chocolate. Though I had never tasted such a combination, my heart told me I would love it. But I was vegan so it was forbidden —our love could never be.
So imagine my surprise when some 20 years later, while chatting up some fellow vegans at a party I was catering , I was like “why has no one made a vegan candy bar yet?” They looked at me like duh of course they have. Go Max Go Foods makes a Snickers called a Joker, a 3 Musketeers called a Buccaneer, a Mars bar called a Twilight and several other candy bars… I stopped listening after Snickers because the angles singing in my head were too loud. My day had finally come—like an obsession with an old lover, I had buried my feelings about candy bars and then suddenly they came rushing back. “Where can I buy one!?” I asked in a hurried almost weird tone ?? They said you could order online, or go to Lula’s here in NYC. I composed myself enough to say thank you. It took me three different attempts to make it to Lula’s. I even considered texting the owner, Blythe, to see if she would open for me but thought better of it. The day I finally got to them, it began to pour during my walk over. I had no hood or umbrella. When I finally got there, I bought three Jokers (mock Snickers), a Twilight (mock Mars) and a Buccaneer (mock 3 musketeers)—the ones I remember most from childhood—and like a love struck teenager, I tore into them in the rain on the corner of 6th and avenue A.
Now, I don’t know if my palate just never got used to that amount of sugar, but at that moment it’s hard for me to taste anything but sweet. I almost dont li… No! Maybe the decades of anticipation just built the experience up so much that there can be no tangible equal to the taste my mind has created. I bit one of each, The Joker was (surprisingly?!) my fav because it had more than one texture; the peanuts broke up the nugget enough for me, and besides not liking it was just not an option. The Buccaneer was very light and fluffy like the 3 Musketeers commercial say they are. The Twilight was the same. Even though the package boast no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, I have to mention that the second ingredient is corn syrup. So do what you will with that. Watching someone you love eating corn syrup is kind of like watching them do coke. Okay well maybe that is extreme but you get what I am saying.
Overall I guess it stimulates what all vegans are missing—the placebo effect. It’s like that scene in the Matrix when the traitor says “I know it’s not real steak on my tongue, but I don’t care lie to me baby!”