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Worst.Candy.Ever.
April 1, 2010 7:08 AM   Subscribe

What's disgusting, looks like a peanut and tastes (vaguely) like a banana? A Circus Peanut! They are so reviled, they merit a page on bad-candy.com. Strangely, though, Circus Peanut sales are up, at least according to "USA Today" (most interesting link of this post). How can this be? I've never met anyone who likes them (except for one person -- see [more inside]). Margaret Husfelt of Houston, Texas is equally confused. SOMEBODY must like them. The little suckers have a Facebook fan page, and they are, perhaps, palatable in a Jello recipe (here's an alternate recipe) or dipped in chocolate. Heck, Jolene Sugarbaker likes them in her salad. And if you're really brave, you might want to try a Circus Peanut Margarita. But don't be surprised if you get ostracized. Some people will never understand. Where's the love?

Okay: I'm going to come out the closet. I love Circus Peanuts. When I admit it, people act like I've said I like to reach into the toilet and scoop feces into my mouth. I have never met a single other person who likes them (or admits to liking them). I've always been baffled as to what keeps them in stores.
posted by grumblebee (138 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like 'em.

Stale.
posted by chronkite at 7:09 AM on April 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've seen them at a local store and I've considered buying them to try them out, but every time I get close, I remind myself that I'm trying not to eat so many sweets.
posted by LSK at 7:09 AM on April 1, 2010


I LOVED those things as a kid. Ever see the banana flavored version?
posted by orme at 7:10 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm extremely happy you included Cecil in this discussion. One of my wife's most favorite quotes of all time is: Over the years the best-selling item has been orange in color, banana in flavor, and peanut in shape.
posted by DU at 7:10 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh and "it was like eating a dead finger" is such an exactly apropos description it would be a favorite of mine if it weren't so disgusting.
posted by DU at 7:11 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I puked in my mouth just thinking about them. Somehow, the puke was more palatable than the thought.
posted by fuq at 7:12 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


If I wanted to eat shit I would eat actual shit before I ate circus peanuts.
posted by Think_Long at 7:13 AM on April 1, 2010


There's no such person as Jolene Sugarbaker, right? Right?
posted by Mister_A at 7:15 AM on April 1, 2010


I like circus peanuts and I can not lie.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:16 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Circus peanuts are an abomination. DISGUSTING.


*puke*
posted by louche mustachio at 7:17 AM on April 1, 2010


Oh, and from the Cecil link comes my favorite quote of all time: "Circus Peanuts! Nature's perfect food!"

Whoever wrote that (Cecil is quoting someone else) deserves a Nobel Prize.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:18 AM on April 1, 2010


I love them.
posted by chillmost at 7:18 AM on April 1, 2010


Describe your least favourite Halloween candy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 AM on April 1, 2010


I haven't had one in forever, and have no desire to have one ever again, but I remember finding them tolerable.
posted by codacorolla at 7:22 AM on April 1, 2010


Circus Peanuts taste like wet cardboard that has been eaten, fully digested and shat out by the most boring person on Earth.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:23 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Related: Lewis Black on candy corn.
posted by kmz at 7:23 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The worst part about Circus Peanuts is that, at the real, actual circus, people eat real, actual peanuts. Okay, maybe that's not the worst part. But it's a craplousy part.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:24 AM on April 1, 2010


At least they're not Cadbury Creme Eggs, though, which are the nastiest candies on Earth bar none. It's like a perfectly good chocolate egg except filled with hobo ejaculate.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:24 AM on April 1, 2010 [29 favorites]


I love them. I'll eat a whole bag. They are amongst the best candies ever. (Seriously. I. Love. Them. Yum. Yum. Yum.)
posted by oddman at 7:25 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh, but they're so good!
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:25 AM on April 1, 2010


There's no such person as Jolene Sugarbaker, right? Right?

Please let there be a Julia Sugarbaker, though.
posted by DU at 7:26 AM on April 1, 2010


t's like a perfectly good chocolate egg except filled with hobo ejaculate.

Those hoboes should have their sugar checked.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:26 AM on April 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


The bodega nearest my house has a whole bin of them, individually sheathed in cellophane, selling for 10 cents apiece. It's all I can do to keep from buying them out and start hiding them in my friends' homes whenever I come over to visit.
posted by hermitosis at 7:27 AM on April 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Circus Peanut sales are up

Let me guess...hipsters are buying them for their ironic value, right?
posted by rocket88 at 7:27 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Those hoboes should have their sugar checked.

They've been drinking a lot of vanilla extract.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:27 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


hermitosis, please don't suppress that urge.
posted by grumblebee at 7:28 AM on April 1, 2010


That does it, haters. I'm going to go over to the little corner market down the block, buy some circus peanuts and candy corn, and sit here eating them while refreshing the thread. Circus peanuts + spite = crazy delicious.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:29 AM on April 1, 2010


One time in college, somebody got a couple cases of circus peanuts from god-knows-where, and for about a week, our dorm lounge was covered in them. As fast as we could clean them up, they'd just re-appear when we went to class.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:29 AM on April 1, 2010


I can't believe how wasteful it is to individually seal single circus peanuts in cellophane. Ugh.
posted by codacorolla at 7:30 AM on April 1, 2010


I can't believe how wasteful it is to individually seal single circus peanuts in cellophane. Ugh.

I agree, especially when we can do the whole lot with a single nuke from orbit.
posted by DU at 7:32 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let me guess...hipsters are buying them for their ironic value, right?

YEp, you guessed it ;)
posted by Damn That Television at 7:32 AM on April 1, 2010


I love circus peanuts. Their toothcrush texture lies between styrofoam packing material and the foam insides of your seventh grade wrestling mat, soaked and aged with a decade of teenage sweat. The first bite of saliva dissolves it into a slippery film with a glycemic index requiring scientific notation to properly write out, as well as a gummy residue designed to carefully nestle into any nascent cavities. The flavor has a high note which is almost blue and sways on the dance floor between a banana you are nearly certain is nothing but rot-mush on the inside and the chemical promise of the fifties.

No food is so purely artificial in almost every sensual dimension as the circus peanut. To eat one is to understand where human science has reinterpreted earthly food into a heady, sermon-shattering Thou Shalt Eat It Anyway set of commandments. Our descendants will have digestive systems tailored to match it, this, the food of the future.
posted by adipocere at 7:33 AM on April 1, 2010 [63 favorites]


At least they're not Cadbury Creme Eggs, though, which are the nastiest candies on Earth bar none. It's like a perfectly good chocolate egg except filled with hobo ejaculate.

Pistols at dawn, sir.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


No hate for flying saucers/satellite wafers?
posted by Iridic at 7:35 AM on April 1, 2010


On a lark, I bought a small bag about a year ago, and as we were driving home, my wife opened it and had one.

"Eww," she remarked, "Why am I eating this?"

I had one, and thought the same thing.

A few minutes later her hand absentmindedly strayed back into the bag and she ate another. I noticed this, only because I suddenly found myself eating another one as well.

The bag was empty before we got home, neither of us remembers exactly how that happened.

Now, the circus peanuts are a sort of menace that exists on end-caps when we are shopping. Neither of us really wants to buy them, but somehow, they frequently end up in the basket at the last minute.

I won't admit to enjoying them. But I will say, that they only taste right when they are slightly stale, and when I'm behind the wheel of my car.
posted by quin at 7:36 AM on April 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I like them. I can't say I eat them a lot or go in search of them, but I hope they stay in the world.

I would like to try one in a s'more, in place of the regular marshmallow.
posted by Miko at 7:37 AM on April 1, 2010


At least they're not Cadbury Creme Eggs, though, which are the nastiest candies on Earth bar none. It's like a perfectly good chocolate egg except filled with hobo ejaculate.

posted by DecemberBoy


You just made my list.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:38 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


One time I drank a pint glass full of vinegar for a bet. Another time I accepted my roommates' dares to eat the contents of a mystery unlabeled can we bought at the discount shelf at a local grocery store. I've eaten tablespoons of cinnamon, globs of wasabi, and (accidentally) shards of glass. I'll gladly eat a circus peanut than any of these aforementioned things, but yeah they're pretty bad. Sorry if this was a letdown in hyperbole but be real with me here people they're just shitty candy
posted by Damn That Television at 7:42 AM on April 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


DecemberBoy:At least they're not Cadbury Creme Eggs, though, which are the nastiest candies on Earth bar none. It's like a perfectly good chocolate egg except filled with hobo ejaculate.

For several years the whole Cadbury empire was on the brink of bankruptcy until somebody finally had the good sense to change the name and marketing campaign of Bum Cum Chocolate Balls to Cadbury Creme Eggs.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:42 AM on April 1, 2010 [35 favorites]


I like them.

Although I haven't had them in probably 20 years. I'd eat one right now if there was one here. Yes I would. I wonder if the CVS has them.

I'll be right back.
posted by papercake at 7:43 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


When my brothers and sisters were kids, my father wouldn't ever buy us candy. I don't blame him too much; we were poor and candy was expensive and not very good for us. But we begged and pleaded with him anyway. He finally relented and agreed that we could have circus peanuts and only circus peanuts. It was the only candy he'd buy us, and we ate them up like it was the greatest thing on earth. I have fond memories of eating those stale orange styrofoam peanuts.

About once or twice a week, I take a walk with my 2.5-year-old son for a walk. We usually swing by CVS and its endless aisles of candy. Of course he begs and pleads with me for candy, and I refuse to buy him any. The other day, I spotted circus peanuts in one of the aisles and couldn't resist. He ate the entire bag before we made it home. The circle is complete.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 7:44 AM on April 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


They've been drinking a lot of vanilla extract.

Tom Hanks has a lot to answer for.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:48 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like circus peanuts, but the only places I ever see them sold are older convenient stores and card and party supply outlet stores. Maybe that's for the better, because by about the fourth one I realize it's time to throw out the bang and wait another year or two before trying them again. But those first two or three - deee-licious.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:48 AM on April 1, 2010


can I be the first one to say that we're overthinking this plate of circus peanuts?

why, yes, yes I can.
posted by HuronBob at 7:49 AM on April 1, 2010


I like both candy corn and circus peanuts. I don't go out of my way to get them, but if they're nearby I will eat them.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:51 AM on April 1, 2010


My mom, who's diabetic, keeps a bag of circus peanuts in her purse at all times, in case her insulin drops too low and she needs a quick shot of pure sugar into her bloodstream. I can only speculate that she chose circus peanuts over, say, Milky Way bars because she knew she would never feel tempted to dip into the bag unless it was an absolute emergency situation.
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:54 AM on April 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ick. I hate marshmallow, except for those super-compact marshmallows you get in breakfast cereal and Peeps™ roasted on a stick over an open fire.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:55 AM on April 1, 2010


Can I hear some hate for malted milk balls? Wayyy nastier than circus peanuts.
posted by hanoixan at 7:57 AM on April 1, 2010


Well, no wonder they're horrible. They're made with marshmallow, just like Peeps, food of the devil himself. Marshmallows are evil. Except on s'mores.
posted by lhauser at 7:58 AM on April 1, 2010


My great-grandmother who helped raised me grew up a dirt-poor sharecropper in rural Alabama. Circus peanuts were the old candy available--God only knows why. In her doting before her death at age 98, she would sit like a child and nibble gleefully on circus peanuts and little else. I still get bleary-eyed every time I see them.
posted by jefficator at 7:58 AM on April 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


the only places I ever see them sold are older convenient stores and card and party supply outlet stores.

That's a part of their natural camouflage, you never realize how close they are until you discover that you are actually eating one right now!

Once you know that they are everywhere you'll start to see them; Walgreens, hardware stores, Target, places you go and would never think to find them, and *bam* you are eating them again.
posted by quin at 7:59 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No food is so purely artificial in almost every sensual dimension as the circus peanut.

Not even Marshmallow Peeps?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The morning after the first night my ex-husband and I ever spent together, he ate the following for breakfast*:

Circus Peanuts
Dolly Madison Zingers
Dr. Pepper

I probably should have taken that as a sign, but I was young and foolish.

*I know there has to have been a smoother way to phrase that, but...fuck it.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:59 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're not the best thing in the world, but I remember liking them okay when I was a kid. The texture is a big part of it.
posted by snottydick at 8:03 AM on April 1, 2010


My dad loved eating those when I was growing up, and he infected me with his love of terrible candy. They ARE awful, and I wouldn't necessarily eat a whole bag at a time, but god damn they are delicious.
posted by runaway ballista at 8:03 AM on April 1, 2010


Who likes them? John Holahan did, and when he mixed them with Cheerios he had the prototype for Lucky Charms.

The jury remains out as to whether this is a good or a bad thing.
posted by norm at 8:04 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every once in a while, like many others note above, I'll buy a bag. After the first bite, I'll think to myself, "What the fuck? I used to like these?!"

Which come to think of it, is the same reaction I have to cigarettes.
posted by notsnot at 8:05 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I went through a phase where my friends and I ate these, I suppose ironically, but it was kind of back in the 90s so..,pre-ironically? They're self-limiting, like Necco wafers, so even if you want them you can't keep eating them.

At least they're not Cadbury Creme Eggs, though, which are the nastiest candies on Earth bar none.

Oh, Herr December, like I needed another reason. I'll marshall the rest of the troops on the pro-Creme Egg side and we'll take Vegas.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:15 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I call fake meme.
posted by oneironaut at 8:15 AM on April 1, 2010


Many years ago I was sent to the industrial supply store to pick up Hilti bolts for anchoring a building, and this store had circus peanuts and boxed chocolate stars. Then at the hardware store, more circus peanuts, and a bit more variety, but I passed them all by. Later that fine day I was back in town again, this time for parts for the crankcase I had just broken on the hammer drill, at a different store that seemed to be part feedlot, part fishing tackle. They had some local jerky, and those circus peanuts and little else. I had the misfortune to be both hungry and rushed - so I grabbed some of both.

The circus peanuts where great!

Really. Fast forward a few years and I see the circus peanuts at a gas station in Chicago- and those were TERRIBLE. So I understand where the hate comes from. The good ones are like little foam sugar bananas. The strawberries ones are also good, and have the added benefit of vaguely resembling what they taste like, just get them at construction supply stores.
posted by zenon at 8:16 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love them... and I've also found an easter candy version of them shaped like bunnies and chicks in yellow, blue and pink!
posted by kimdog at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2010


I used to eat these growing up because I was allergic to real peanuts and felt left out.
posted by Pax at 8:23 AM on April 1, 2010


They are disgusting. Luckily I grew out of my peanut allergy.
posted by Pax at 8:24 AM on April 1, 2010


I actually just bought a bag yesterday, for the first time in about 10 years. It was a total impulse buy and I enjoyed the first two. My husband hates them, but my kids loved them. After reading this thread I went and got the bag and had another. It wasn't as good. Maybe two is the limit of my tolerance.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:24 AM on April 1, 2010


Yep, I remember liking them as a kid. But I do remember one time buying gummy bears at a gas station and it was an off-label American brand that had HFCS and a bunch of other garbage, so I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that there are manufacturers out there using bastardized versions of the circus peanut recipe. In that respect, it's possible that a lot of circus peanuts out there taste worse than the ones in the 1960s-1970s.
posted by crapmatic at 8:30 AM on April 1, 2010


One of my roommates ordered a package from a biological supply company. It came packaged in biodegradable packing peanuts, and there was even a little card describing various crafts one could do with the things.

Somebody began reading the card and said, "wait... biodegradable... dissolves in water... non toxic... made of starch..."

Well, one thing led to another and my roommates ate a whole box of packing peanuts. I was the only one to abstain.

But if you put one of those things and a circus peanut in front of me, I would choose the packing peanut. They really seemed to like them.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:31 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, circus peanuts. My family's secret shame -- my father loved those damned things. He also loved snowballs (those pink coconut sphere things), liver and onions, and pretty much any other culinary abomination you could think of. At dinner he would put everything on his plate, stir it together, and then cover it with black pepper and eat it. I tell people now that his tastebuds were shot off in the war. The circus peanuts were part of a larger problem. He had a terrible skin reaction to anything with yellow/orange dye in it, and so of course craved such things unceasingly: cheetos, circus peanuts, orange slices, anything like that, the more un-naturally orange the better.

Man, I miss him.
posted by madmethods at 8:32 AM on April 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's like a perfectly good chocolate egg except filled with hobo ejaculate.

Great. Just great. Now I want to blow a hobo. Thanks a lot.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:33 AM on April 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


Me and my dog love circus peanuts.
posted by jdfan at 8:35 AM on April 1, 2010


I used to love them as a kid, but now they're in the same category as Coke-flavored Gummis...NASTY.
posted by Telpethoron at 8:37 AM on April 1, 2010


Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. Like most snacks I enjoy, I could probably eat an infinite amount if I paced myself.

Just yesterday I attributed my fondness for these candy-shell Easter "egg" things my girlfriend bought to their similarity to circus peanuts.
posted by droob at 8:38 AM on April 1, 2010


What's disgusting, looks like a peanut and tastes (vaguely) like a banana?

Hugh Hefner's penis?
posted by stormpooper at 8:43 AM on April 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


...I admit it, ... I like to reach into the toilet and scoop feces into my mouth.

That's pretty much the gist of this post as far as I can tell. Sorry Grumblebee, but they just seem so nasty I don't want to even try them.
posted by explosion at 8:53 AM on April 1, 2010


Now I want a circus peanut. And a cigarette.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 8:56 AM on April 1, 2010


On the subject of circus peanuts, I am hard-pressed to muster much energy for or against them. If somebody had a bag, I'd probably eat a few, but I wouldn't go so far as to seek a big bag of them out.

DecemberBoy, hanoixan: them's fighting words! Although it's true, one Cadbury Creme egg seems to have enough sugar in it to last me for about 2 years.

The candy I always thought was nasty were those weird sesame/toffee things you find at penny candy places; bitter, almost-burnt tasting and full of seeds.
posted by usonian at 9:04 AM on April 1, 2010


Today, mass-produced Circus Peanuts are made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin (Note: some gelatins are derived from pork [1]), soy protein, food coloring and artificial flavor.

So, it is sugar, using gelatin to hold its shape.

The artificial flavor? Let's use Science.

It is not that easy to create an artificial peanut flavor, so for reasons lost in the mists of history, the original manufacturers of circus peanuts decided on banana. Banana flavor is very easy to simulate with amyl acetate, which can be distilled from real banana oil, or can be made in a lab by mixing vinegar, amyl alcohol, and sulfuric acid in just the right way.

The food coloring?

FDC Yellow #5
AKA Tartrazine... it is highly allergenic to some sensitive asthmatics, and can cause migraine, blurred vision, itching, rhinitis and purple skin patches. They do not recommend its use by children.

Yellow #6
While Yellow #6 is not a carcinogen, one of its co-products – Sudan I – very much is, and is often found as a contaminant in batches of Yellow #6.

Red #3
In the body, it behaves like estrogen, possibly leading to an increase in breast tumors, and definitely leading to decreased sperm production in mice...


Yep. Worst. Candy. Ever.
posted by vacapinta at 9:04 AM on April 1, 2010


When I was very small, I was given a circus peanut. According to family lore, I bit into the thing, chewed, spat it out and declared, "that candy tastes like headache."

Creme Eggs, on the other hand, are gooeylicious.

*checks Creme Egg hoard, rubs hand together, drools*
posted by kinnakeet at 9:05 AM on April 1, 2010


Well I just walked to the store to get a bag because all this yappin' got me curious. They were sold out at the big grocery next to my office. There was an empty peg between the Maple Nut Goodies and Orange Wedges. So I went to RiteAid and bought the store brand Circus Peanuts. I ate one while leaving the store. By the time I got back to the office, I had eaten twelve. I'm not sure if I like them, but I can't stop eating them.
posted by studentbaker at 9:10 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cadbury Creme Eggs are sort of gross and sort of tasty, but Cadbury Mini-Eggs (in the purple bag) are splendid.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:12 AM on April 1, 2010


I loved Geekologie's recent Pick you own candy chart that included both circus peanuts and candy corn, but with no paths that lead to them.
posted by rtimmel at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like them too. Not sure why. Maybe because they are pure sugar.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2010


I hate banana flavor. I love peanuts. When I first encountered a circus peanut, my brain went, "awesome! a marshmallow peanut candy!"

Then the flavor kicked in. I can't even look at those traitorous little bitches to this day.
posted by Aquaman at 9:17 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like circus peanuts. As others have mentioned, those marshmallow Easter candies (usu. bunnies and chicks) are the exact same thing, yet less reviled (less known?)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:27 AM on April 1, 2010


I had taffy the other day. Pumpkin pie taffy. It was really good. We don't get taffy. These circus peanuts sound like bile, however.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:28 AM on April 1, 2010


My mother loves Circus Peanuts. Now I must find some to put in her Easter basket!

I can eat about three of them before I feel like my teeth are rotting out of my head. Unless they're stale. Then I'll eat the whole damn bag.

What? I'm not proud of it, but it's the truth!
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:39 AM on April 1, 2010


C'mon, circus peanuts weren't nearly as nasty as those Nik-L-Nip waxy cola bottle things. Yeeuuccchhh!!
posted by medeine at 9:56 AM on April 1, 2010


There's actual vitriolic hatred for Cadbury Creme Eggs?? Malted Milk Balls?? What the fuck, people? Do you start your candy regimes with a lavatory bleach block appetiser, because I cannot imagine how else you could mistake such ambrosia for vanilla jizm.


Vanilla Jizm would be a great name for a bad band, though.
posted by Jilder at 10:01 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I hear some hate for malted milk balls? Wayyy nastier than circus peanuts.

No. Because you are wrong.
posted by archivist at 10:15 AM on April 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Love 'em. But I can only eat a couple at a time, or you go into Circus Peanut overload, so ait takes me a while to go through a bag. They're almost impossible to find in Canada (as are Necco wafers, another favourite from my childhood in the US). You can find yellow coloured, banana shaped, banana flavoured things in Canada that have the exact same consistance and flavour as Circus Peanuts, but they are wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. If they gotta be orange coloured, peanut-shaped, and banana flavoured or they just aren't the same.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:26 AM on April 1, 2010


They're almost impossible to find in Canada...
posted by grumblebee at 10:38 AM on April 1, 2010


They're almost impossible to find in Canada...

Yeah, except amazon.com won't let you order anything from a third party seller, and amazon.ca doesn't cary any third-party stuff. So, that does me no good.

Sorry. The no-shipping to Canada policy is a long-standing beef I have with with amazon.com.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:42 AM on April 1, 2010


I meant, won't let you order anything from a third party seller if you live outside the USA, of course.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:43 AM on April 1, 2010


ebay?
posted by grumblebee at 10:45 AM on April 1, 2010


They're exactly the same as Peeps and Peeps are an abomination, except you can make Peeps fight in the microwave with little toothpick swords and, if you are bored enough, tiny paper hats. Circus peanuts won't even fight; they just lie there and swell up and die, which, come to think of it, is probably what will happen to serious circus peanut aficionados.

Necco wafers, another favourite from my childhood No, seriously? You ate Necco wafers? They're made of dust! They taste like dust! They're almost worse than circus peanuts and that is hard to manage.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:46 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


No food is so purely artificial in almost every sensual dimension as the circus peanut. To eat one is to understand where human science has reinterpreted earthly food into a heady, sermon-shattering Thou Shalt Eat It Anyway set of commandments. Our descendants will have digestive systems tailored to match it, this, the food of the future.

While I find your analysis intriguing and well-argued, I gotta dissent slightly from this view. Circus peanuts are old-school, machine-age, retro-futurist. They're the bakelite of postmodern food, the streamlined lino-tiled Betty Draper candy, starting to gesture toward the truly far-out but still discernibly of this earth.

In the age of Dippin' Dots vending machines and Rockstar energy drink and Jon Stewart's beloved Jimmy Dean-brand Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick - the cryogenic ice cream, silicone-n-botox Tila Tequila age - there's something almost wholesome about circus peanuts. They're from a more innocently artificial time, like cane-sugar Coke or something.
posted by gompa at 10:47 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


They're exactly the same as Peeps

ABSOLUTELY NOT. Totally different texture. I love Circus Peanuts. Peeps make me gag.
posted by grumblebee at 10:48 AM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just ate a bag of Dutch Zwarte Piet-shaped circus peanut tastealikes, and I'm proud of it. Granted, I couldn't eat more than two at a time, but still. I'd take 'em over a Cadbury Creme Egg any day.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:51 AM on April 1, 2010


Well, one thing led to another and my roommates ate a whole box of packing peanuts. I was the only one to abstain.

But if you put one of those things and a circus peanut in front of me, I would choose the packing peanut. They really seemed to like them.


I have also done this out of a combination of desperation and curiosity, and let me tell you they are not bad. They taste a lot like Cheerios.
posted by rollbiz at 11:04 AM on April 1, 2010


Oh man, I bought some the last time I was in the States, just to terrify everyone at work with them.

I took one, and drew a face on it in marker.

It's still as fresh as the day I first drew it on.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:04 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think our dads were twins, mrbarrett. We were poor and never had junk food either, but my dad loved Circus Peanuts. What is it with dads (and one mom in this thread) and Circus Peanuts?
posted by Toothless Willy at 11:18 AM on April 1, 2010


There's actual vitriolic hatred for Cadbury Creme Eggs?? Malted Milk Balls?? What the fuck, people?

Seconded. Malted Milk Balls are awesome-- the haters must just not be eating them right. You have to suck out the tasty innards before chewing the sort-of chocolate outsides. *drool*
posted by jokeefe at 11:19 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Peeps and Circus Peanuts ARE NOTHING ALIKE. Different texture, different flavour, and peeps are covered in coloured sugar. Peeps are soft squishy marshmallow. Circus Peanuts are . . . unique.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2010


What is it with dads (and one mom in this thread) and Circus Peanuts?


Funny, I inherited my love of Circus Peanuts from my dad. My mom hated them. So does my wife. So I guess my children will inherit any love for them from me, continuing the chain . . . .
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:22 AM on April 1, 2010


Also, as a Canadian, I just have to note that before this post I had never heard of Circus Peanuts before. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by jokeefe at 11:22 AM on April 1, 2010


Metafilter: fight in the microwave with little toothpick swords and, if you are bored enough, tiny paper hats.
posted by jokeefe at 11:23 AM on April 1, 2010


My mom is the one that likes Circus Peanuts. It's funny because she doesn't eat a lot of sweets. She also likes licorice whips.
posted by Miko at 11:47 AM on April 1, 2010


Peeps are an abomination, except you can make Peeps fight in the microwave with little toothpick swords

There can be only one pile of molten Easter-themed sugar.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:58 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, okay, peeps and circus peanuts - I can't decide whether to capitalize all of them or none of them; it's a quandary that I think even the Chicago Manual of Style won't cover - are not the same. I plead ignorance. They seem more or less the same to me - horrible, shaped blobs of sugary stuff. I grant you that circus peanuts have fake banana flavor (aaaaiyeee! Anathema! Flee for the hills!) and peeps just taste like sugar and dye, but still. Ewww.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2010


My son at about age 10 or so was all about staging microwave peep wars. I wish I had pictures: he made them hats and swords and sometimes eeny little sword belts before they went to their fiery death. It was quite wonderful - let's all gather 'round the microwave, kids, for some old timey gladiatorial family fun.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:04 PM on April 1, 2010


Once I actually had a craving for circus peanuts.

I like them, and I like Necco wafers--the old ones that is.

The company, Necco, was bought unfortunately by American Capital Strategies and they changed the flavors. I bought some recently, assuming they were the same as always. But no, the old Necco wafers are gone, and these really horrible new flavors are now Necco 2010. Ick.

But I would eat a circus peanut right now if I had one.
posted by chocolatetiara at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2010


I've noticed that the most important aspect of taste to me is texture. It's more important to me than flavor. I was joking when I responded violently to the idea that Peeps and Circus Peanuts are alike, and, intellectually, I can see how someone might see/taste them as similar. But they are world's apart to me, due to the texture difference. Similarly, I have a hard time classifying white bread and wheat bread as having anything in common.

I guess this is weird, but I've always loved foods that have "synthetic" textures -- textures that don't remind me of anything found in nature. I can't think of too many non-candies that have it. Tofu, sort of, but not quite, because it's too soft -- too easy to dissolve in your mouth. As such, it reminds me of the texture of watermelon or some really tender meat. (Which isn't bad. I like tofu. But it's not the texture I'm talking about.)

The texture that I'm talking about is more like plastic. It's the texture of Fruit Rollups, taffy, Circus Peanuts, Star Burst and gummy bears. Adding granulated sugar on top of it, as with Peeps, ruins the purity. And Peeps are already too soft and yielding to be in the plastic category anyway.

This sounds insane, but in my mind the taste of Circus Peanuts -- that sort of plastic-y taste -- is connected with the visual style of the late 60s. It was my earliest aesthetic. I'm talking about the design of "2001," the smooth, spherical chairs, the cat suits, etc. Sleek, smooth, unnatural.

As a kid, I refused to color with crayons because they were too rough and grainy. I loved magic markers. Circus Peanuts taste to me the way magic-marker lines look. How's that for some 60's-influenced Synesthesia?

Eventually, I grew to love wheat bread, brush-stroke-y paintings, burlap and crayons. But I still have a strong positive reaction to the taste of streamlined stuff.
posted by grumblebee at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Unwrapped," is a cable channel program about how various mass-produced foods are made. The host sits on a set fashioned like a 1950's diner and pretends to be enthusiastic about introducing segments on the manufacture of Necco Wafers and stuff like that.

One time I was watching it at four in the morning and after the commercial break he said "It won't surprise you to learn that circus peanuts are born directly from Satan's ass." Then he took a swig strait from a bottle of bourbon.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:22 PM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


So you don't like circus peanuts?
Great - more for me!
posted by charlesminus at 12:26 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Eww," she remarked, "Why am I eating this?" ... I had one, and thought the same thing. A few minutes later her hand absentmindedly strayed back into the bag ... The bag was empty before we got home...

The exact same thing happens whenever I leave a copy of the National Enquirer at someone's house.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:45 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I worked at a Ben Franklin store some years back, it was mostly our elderly customers who bought Circus Peanuts. One man told me they were the only candy he could eat with his aged teeth.
posted by Carol Anne at 3:05 PM on April 1, 2010


What is it with dads (and one mom in this thread) and Circus Peanuts?

Count me in as well. I remember my Dad used to have a bag of these things laying around in his car all the time. They were usually stale and I would munch on them. Beside the fact that I kinda have a thing for artificial banana flavor (sorry) is that they give me major positive emotional recall of hanging out with my Dad.
posted by pianoboy at 3:13 PM on April 1, 2010


Hello, my name is Gravy and I am a sugarholic. Due to my addiction, I have eaten many strange "candy like" substances that were neither tasty nor good for you. I have eaten everything mentioned in this thread so far aside from the packing peanuts. As a child, I would typically choose my candy by size rather than by flavor-- meaning I have eaten unbelievably nasty stuff. To this day I can recall the bizarre taste of candy necklaces which had a horrible rubber aftertaste-- possibly because of them being strung on rubbery elastic. Also I ate chick stix. Nobody of sound mind ever ate a chick stix. There is no good reason to ever eat chick stix.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:34 PM on April 1, 2010


Good Lord Secret Life of Gravy - I totally forgot about Chick-O-Sticks. They were absolutely horrible, and yet I still ate those crappy pieces of crap.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:41 PM on April 1, 2010


I always feel sorry for the circus peanuts when I see them hanging in little cellophane bags in the store.

I bet I've been looking at the same bags of circus peanuts for years.
posted by contessa at 3:42 PM on April 1, 2010


Circus peanuts have a banana flavor? I had no idea. Not because fake banana flavor is gross (it is), but because circus peanuts just look so vile, I've never tasted them.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 5:05 PM on April 1, 2010


To this day I can recall the bizarre taste of candy necklaces which had a horrible rubber aftertaste-- possibly because of them being strung on rubbery elastic.

I had forgotten about those. The same aunt who got those for us kids, also got us candy cigarettes...
posted by 445supermag at 5:06 PM on April 1, 2010


After reading this thread, I resisted the momentary urge to buy a bag of circus peanuts at the grocery store this afternoon. I felt disproportionately virtuous.
The company, Necco, was bought unfortunately by American Capital Strategies and they changed the flavors.
Son of a BITCH. All hope may not be lost, though - according to this article they did completely change the flavors of candy hearts, but you can still get the wafers in the original flavors, this year anyway. I'm going to stock up if I can find any. They'll go into the pantry, next to my carefully rationed jar of Postum.
posted by usonian at 5:29 PM on April 1, 2010


Son of a BITCH. All hope may not be lost, though - according to this article they did completely change the flavors of candy hearts, but you can still get the wafers in the original flavors, this year anyway. I'm going to stock up if I can find any. They'll go into the pantry, next to my carefully rationed jar of Postum.

Yeah, I bought some Necco wafers recently and they tasted exactly as I remembered them--delicious! Especially the purple liquorice ones.

I thought something was up with my candy hearts this year, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:33 PM on April 1, 2010


I bought some Necco wafers recently and they tasted exactly as I remembered them--delicious!

Oh, god! What??? Necco wafers are terrible! It's like eating chalk! It's candy for people who hate the concept of everything candy stands for! Nobody possessing any sanity whatsoever wants to eat a dry pellet, which is exactly what a Necco wafer is. And all the colors taste the same except for the black ones which tastes the way one would imagine Satan's communion hosts would taste. Vile!
posted by contessa at 6:11 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


To address a few Necco comments: First of all, Necco's are awesome. They are simultaneously delicious and utilitarian, I was told by a tour guide (every kid from my neighborhood tours the factory once) that Necco wafers were a major staple of the first South Pole expedition, due to their weight/sugar/taste ratios being preferable to such a trip.

Second, to those who have complained about the taste change recently, take them or leave them but you should know that the difference is because Necco had the balls to go all-natural with their wafers. This is why the green wafers are no more.

So it's fine if you never liked Necco's or don't like them and don't care about artificial crap in your candy, but Necco did take a big leap going to natural confections and that's probably worth considering for the rest of you...
posted by rollbiz at 6:29 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I also thought that this years Necco SweetHearts were the best ever, but it's probably because they had a texture closer to circus peanuts. :)
posted by rollbiz at 6:31 PM on April 1, 2010


Necco Wafers are good, those conversation hearts are bad (well, maybe not anymore; didn't ry them this year), Peeps are bad, malted milk balls are okay, Cadbury Creme Eggs are rockin' but not as rockin' as those other, littler, Cadbury chocolate eggs. With the pastel shells. I could eat myself sick on those.

Can't say I've ever had a Circus Peanut but now I'd like some s'mores.
posted by Neofelis at 7:21 PM on April 1, 2010


Anything that tastes like bananas is evil. Bananas are evil. Banana bread=evil. Banana popsicles should be banned because they make me think they are lemon. Circus peanuts are directly from a banana flavored hell. How anyone can put one of them in their mouth is beyond me.
posted by SuzySmith at 7:22 PM on April 1, 2010


Please, Circus Peanuts are BEST candy ever! Well, almost as good as Peas and Carrots. Almost.
posted by Mael Oui at 7:52 PM on April 1, 2010


Last fall, the house behind mine (finally) got painted. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with the color, until the cable guy (who came out to hook us back up after a storm) identified it. . .

It's Circus Peanut Orange. Their entire house and garage are the exact color of Circus Peanuts.
posted by Herodios at 8:00 PM on April 1, 2010


grumblebee,

Regardless of what anyone's artificial candy tastes may be, what you wrote is what I love about food in the first place. Textures, smells, colors, the way it sounds when you eat it, all of those take you back to that "time in your life", or maybe it represents the future for some of you.

I've always liked eating broccoli, ever since I was a little kid. I see organic food shops all over the place where I am, and I couldn't count how many times I've heard the words organic or free range whatever. Yes, I care about what I put into my body, and I usually stick to a pretty healthy regimen of a variety of foods. Sometimes it seems as though the affection towards organic foods around here has more to do with the "it has this many grams of protein" or "quinoa is THE perfect food" yada yada yada. I DON'T CARE. You know why I like broccoli? Because I'm a giant eating little trees. All those vitamins are just a bonus.
posted by bam at 8:16 PM on April 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Not all candy corn is created equal. Some of it has that delightful almost burning quality of honey or brown sugar, others are tasteless gelatinized corn syrup (ugh).

I have a love/hate relationship with circus peanuts, which are that special kind of wrong where you find yourself eating more because the flavor isn't quite right, and you think maybe the next one will get you into some zone where it makes sense to your palate. Then the little bag is empty and you still feel a vague sense of dissatisfaction and disquiet along with a vaguely dirty pleasure.

Necco wafers are a good, aside from the smoothie flavor which I haven't tried, but I think you have to be an over-salivator to appreciate them. One of my friends remembers playing communion with them as a child (also pretending crucifixion, don't ask).

Chick-o-Sticks should not be dissed, they hit a difficult to reach flavor sector in a sea of nearly identical candies, one that only the elusive chicken bones comes close to.

Malted milk balls I used to love, now I only like the dark chocolate variety, also elusive.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:52 AM on April 2, 2010


Peeps and cadbury cream eggs correspond to the general rule that holiday candies are usually awful, or they'd make them year round.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:53 AM on April 2, 2010


Malted milk balls I used to love, now I only like the dark chocolate variety, also elusive.

I've always had a special soft spot for malted milk balls (I love malted milk itself and add it like a topping to my ice cream) but my absolute favorite is the big green ones by Harry & David-- they have a very slight mint flavor. I used to be able to buy them at Target, but they stopped carrying them, and I'm too cheap to buy them over the internet. For some reason the only kind that Trader Joes carries is peanut butter flavored. Not my cup of tea. So I'm back to the cheap Whoppers when I need my malt ball fix.

The worst are the English Malteasers. They are horrible, even bitter. I couldn't even finish the whole package.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:54 AM on April 2, 2010


Huh, never heard of English Malteasers or the Harry & David ones (which I'll definitely try). Even if I don't eat as much milk chocolate, Whoppers still have their uses.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:24 AM on April 2, 2010


Fake banana flavor is my second favorite artificial flavor. The hierarchy goes:

1. watermelon
2. banana
3. sour apple
4. peach
5. blue
posted by JoanArkham at 5:13 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to love circus peanuts and peeps. But then I learned what gelatin is made of.

To wit, gelatin is made the stuff that comes of the top of a great massive industrial boil of the hooves, bones and fat of cows, horses, and pigs.

That was the day I stopped eating marshmallows and candy with marshmallow or gelatin.

That was the day the peeps and peanuts died.
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:26 AM on April 2, 2010


My one and only experience with circus peanuts:

When I was wee, there wasn't a lot of money to go around so it's not like we had candy very often. For whatever reason, I latched on to the idea of circus peanuts and begged and pleaded for them every time my mom and I were in a grocery or convenience store. She told me over and over that I wouldn't like them. I replied over and over that she didn't know what she was talking about. Circus! Peanuts! Candy! Orange! What could be better?

Turns out, a lot of things. I thought they would taste like yummy orange marshmallows, but instead they tasted like... I can't even describe it, but my 30-year-old brain clearly remembers what my 4-year-old mouth tasted that day. I was embarrassed about being wrong, however, so I forced myself to eat one more, then hid the bag somewhere. I'm sure my mom eventually found them and threw them out, but she was kind enough not to say "I told you so."
posted by Never teh Bride at 2:22 PM on April 2, 2010


And all the colors taste the same except for the black ones which tastes the way one would imagine Satan's communion hosts would taste

I already liked Necco wafers (growing up in New England'll do that to you.) and, uh, I'll be repurposing some this evening.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 1:01 PM on April 9, 2010


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