ADORE ME: Our Obsession With Sweethearts
If you are not from the US you probably are not familiar with this Valentine Candy. It must be nostalgia that drives us because there is no other explanation for our mania. As a people we may not like the taste but we are addicted to “Sweethearts”. We buy them every February 14th.
These heart shaped confections are made of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and gum. No chocolate here. What sets these Valentines apart from all others is that they are printed with short sentiments such as, “Be Mine”, “You’re Cute” or “Hot Stuff”, which accounts for their alternate name, Conversation Hearts. They. Taste. Awful. Perhaps we eat them, not for the taste, but because their chalk like grit against our teeth is evocative of childhood. I bought them every year and hid the little boxes with their heart shaped window in my friends’ lockers. We sat in study hall carrying on entire conversations by passing the little hearts back and forth. Sometimes we ‘wrote’ out longer sentences, stringing the colors across the library table.
Today’s kids still pass them out. For nostalgia’s sake set some out on your desk at work. Your co-workers will smile, “Ooo, Candy Hearts!”, grab a handful, pop them in their mouth then pull a face of disappointment because Candy Hearts are still bloody awful. They will never taste as good as they did in our childhoods.
Read about our obsession in the Times:
Visit the Necco Candy Factory site: