Thursday, October 12, 2006

weird candy science

Welcome to another installment of the Shelf’s weekly Halloween candy review. It’s been kind of busy around here at the Shelf offices, so we decided to hire a private candy taster to test today’s selections. There was one problem. You don’t exactly find “Candy Tasters” in the phone book. Oddly enough, I happened to see an ad for a Candy scientist on a flyer hanging up in the local Kinko’s. Even though it had the word “Mad” originally on it and crossed out with the word “Candy” written above it, I thought it would be OK. What’s the worst that could happen? We sent in our candy selections and with in a week we received a package in the mail. It had a tape, some photos and, oddly enough, it had claw marks all over it. Hmm. I can’t figure that last one out. Oh, well. What follows is the pictures and a transcript of the tape.

Today’s treats are Halloween themed and, if my guinea…er, I mean my taste test panel is to be believed, “pretty awesome.” Ah, youth. In my never-ending scientific quest to prove that candy is worthwhile (especially if you brush afterwords, kiddies!), I believe I have stumbled upon the perfect examples. It is that fusion of science, fun and candy goodness: Pop Rocks!
Today we have two Pop Rocks treats. Let’s examine the first subject, shall we?
Halloween Pop Rocks Dips.

Ah, yes- the old candy stick dipped in other candy routine. We’ve been down this road before, but this is no ordinary variety. Included in the package is what I assumed to be a bat shaped sucker. I believe it to be so, as a candy scientist I am never wrong. However, one of the panel (we’ll call him lab rat…uh, I mean subject #1) informed me that it was more of a rocket shape. Insolent little… um, I mean, um- heh, how observant. Nice little test subject isn’t he? Nonetheless we press on…

Halloween theme? Check! Nice packaging. Taste? Check! Sour Orange.
Subject #1 proceeded to then lick the sucker and dip it into the Pop Rocks, whereupon he shoved it right in his mouth. The sour orange taste was appealing, however what followed was not. Subject #1, with several Pop Rocks in his mouth, drank a little root beer immediately after. I observed that perhaps the old myth about the soda and Pop Rocks may not be valid; however, to those new at Pop Rocks, the effect can be a little surprising. The other two subjects laughed and pointed while subject #1 proceeded to have root beer shoot out of his nose. I, being the trained scientific candy scientist that I am, merely noted the effect and did not laugh at all. And if subject #1 tells you otherwise, don’t believe it. Ahem.

We then sent subject #1 to the sick bay for further nose study ( I hope one of my assistants had a camera!) and moved on to the next experiment. This is one I am most excited about: Pop Rocks Laboratory! Test tube, unnamed chemicals, and sugary goodness that could prove messy! It’s a candy scientist’s dream! And no, that is not me on the package.

I had subject #2 lay out the material. There is a test tube, secret ingredients #1 and #2, and two packages of Pop Rocks. Halloween theme? Not really, but apparently they are pushing the mad scientist angle. I personally feel that is quite offensive, a stereotype. Just because some of us, like Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll, or any other of my esteemed colleagues are a little different and want to push the boundaries, does that mean we need to be ridiculed because of our disastrous, dangerous results? I mean, um- lack of positive results? I think not, but I digress….

I proceeded to sit subject #3 in front of the equipment and instructed him to hold the test tube while I, a trained candy scientist, poured in the secret ingredients. Subject #2 suggested protective eyewear. Even though I told him he should mind his own business, he insisted. Subject #3 said he would like some, and even though I explained to him that nothing could possibly happen and that the last few experiments were nothing but flukes, he continued to insist. I then gave in to his pathetic requests. Wimp… er, I mean it is a good thing to practice safety. Yes. Wimp.

After proper eye gear was found and in place, we then poured in some Pop Rocks. They just kind of fizzled a bit. Then we added secret ingredient #1. I noted that the liquid changed color from a slight red to orange. Then we placed secret ingredient #2 in and then the foaming, fizzing, change occurred. The foam poured out of the test tube.

Success!! Subject #3 asked what the next step was, whereupon I told him he was to drink it. He declined and passed it to subject #2, who also declined. Wimps. I then took the test tube and … bottoms up! I am not sure why they were all screaming and shouting at me. There was no effect what so ever. The sweet sugary goodness was a bit soggy, but otherwise I noted no change whatsoever. Just to prove my point I had my assistant take a picture for our experiment. As you will see, I am perfectly normal.

And that was the end of the tape. I’m not sure what happened to the mad candy scientist, but I think we might go back to testing our own candy next time. In the meantime, I can recommend the Dipping Pop Rocks and the Pop Rocks Laboratory as real Halloween fun. That’s all we have for today. See you next time on the Halloween Candy review!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Can we keep this... between us? I'd hate to lose my teaching job...

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