I found my mouth had a sticky, horrible flavor that permeated everything
August 3, 2022 12:38 PM   Subscribe

SIX DAYS WITH A BIG LOLLIPOP: I completed America's most disgusting treat
"By this point in my journey, it was clear to me that my best bet for finishing the lollipop sooner rather than later was to continue to work on it while doing activities that didn’t require my hands. On Sunday afternoon, I brought the SWIRL POP™ to a 2:45 p.m. showing of Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 Lolita at the movie theater. I did this not because Lolita is a noted part of the lollipop canon, but because I had made a devil’s deal to eat a giant lollipop that was ruining my life."

[Fran Hoepfner writing for Gawker]
posted by Atom Eyes (60 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pfft. I've eaten the softball-sized jawbreaker. Twice.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:54 PM on August 3 [12 favorites]


I had a much, much bigger one of those when I was a kid. I ate parts of it, and would break off bits to give them to other people, but eventually it kind of melted into the saran wrap I was keeping it in and then stuck to my desk and my mom threw it away.

That was really the best possible outcome. I received it, I was very excited about it, I ate an unreasonable but not wholly unhealthy amount of sugar, and then it went away.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:56 PM on August 3 [13 favorites]


Also, I had the day off and was planning to go to Yankee Stadium (don’t start with me), and I knew that security would confiscate my lollipop

I'm like ... 75% sure this isn't the case. Outside food is allowed at almost all MLB parks, and Yankee Stadium isn't (surprisingly) an exception. Maybe the giant stick would be a problem, but I honestly doubt it.

Once when I was about 10, I bought two gummy rats from the candy store at the mall. In my memory, they're just about life-sized. I ate them both. I spent hours vomiting afterward.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:59 PM on August 3 [17 favorites]


Once more, we learn that discretion is the better part of… well, many many things. If I had to do this for work, I’d be calling my union.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:59 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Pfft. I've eaten the softball-sized jawbreaker. Twice.

Two different ones, I hope.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:00 PM on August 3 [53 favorites]


This got me wondering about the diameter of this lollipop relative to those wielded by the Lollipop Guild.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:07 PM on August 3 [10 favorites]


i feel like, for me, this genre of writing needs to be more bombastic and over-the-top than this particular piece is. this is just sort of matter-of-factual "eating a giant lolipop kinda sucks"
posted by glonous keming at 1:08 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


If I had to do this for work, I’d be calling my union.

I dunno, man, if I had some minor unfulfilled dreams from childhood and my employer said, "sure, go nuts, here's five hundred bucks" I'd probably be dancing in the street.

The lollipop cost $2.99. A steal! I expensed this, of course.

I've never expensed a lollipop! Now I have a new mission in life.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:09 PM on August 3 [11 favorites]


Two different ones, I hope.

Once because someone bought it for me as a gag/novelty gift because I said I liked candy and I decided to be all 'challenge accepted!' about it.
The other time I wanted to eat it only on one side so when I was done I'd have a cross-section. That was harder than you'd think, but I do have pictures.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:09 PM on August 3 [9 favorites]


A few years ago, I gave everyone in my family giant-sized food items for Christmas, including a giant Chupa Chup lollipop for my niece. It was way bigger than the lollipop in this article, maybe the size of a decent cantaloupe. She ended up breaking it into pieces and sharing it with friends.
posted by briank at 1:13 PM on August 3


When I was about 8 I was given an enormous gummy rat candy as either a treat or a punishment, and I ate the whole thing. It took days. I had blocked it out of my memory until reading this, and now I remember it vividly. I had to hide from my mom while eating it so I remember sitting in a crouch at the top of the stairs, pulling the wet sticky wobbly and uncomfortably biological-looking thing out of its cellophane tube that I had laboriously stuffed it back into. Biting off its little eyes and then feeling overwhelming guilt and being uncomforable looking at its face. My mouth is sad again recalling its intense flavour - it was a dayglow opaque pink, and it tasted exactly like something that's dayglow opaque pink - and especially the woozy feeling I had as my blood sugar and insulin levels arm-wrestled for dominance within me.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:19 PM on August 3 [32 favorites]


Pretty sure I ate one of those on a car trip from NYC to Chicago. I remember nausea. Thankfully I have forgotten the rest.
posted by Splunge at 1:23 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


I feel sorry for her eating something she hated from lick one. Was there no better flavor out there?

I continue to be amused at articles like this, but let's face it, "I ate something gross for days" will probably not change your life, other than if this article gets a lot of Internet hype.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:27 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


See also, the story from the person who actually drank one of those Velveeta martinis.
posted by briank at 1:35 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


So I normally don't feel old, but I just read an article about eating a giant lollypop that doesn't reference the Seinfeld episode where Kramer eats the same lollypop or either of the Simpsons episodes where Homer acquires big food (a long sandwich and pile of sugar respectively) and it goes poorly.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:35 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


I'm reminded of the time Caity Weaver ate endless mozzarella sticks, which made me laugh until I ached.

It seems like a lot of lollipops have a gross waxy coating for some reason. I recall that being true of the one time, as a child, I attempted to eat one of the big lollipops. A grownup told me that "your eyes are bigger than your stomach," an idiom that has puzzled me all my life.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:36 PM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the giant Sugar Daddy I got when I was about 9 was way bigger and way worse than this.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:40 PM on August 3


So, 550 kcal is about 120g of sugar, about as much in a large milkshake. So, basically nothing. The "story" if there is one, is restricting yourself to lick it, and lick it alone. Honestly, I'm very sad the blogger didn't count the licks. Old people will know what I mean by this. Myself, I would not even have gotten to three. [ chomp ]
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:40 PM on August 3 [20 favorites]



So, 550 kcal is about 120g of sugar, about as much in a large milkshake.


a nonchalant reaction to this sentence (for anyone other than endurance athletes) is far more horrifying than the article.
posted by lalochezia at 1:54 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


So, basically nothing.

That was similar to my first thought when she mentioned it was about 5 ounces. Five ounces is slightly more than a 'quarter' in British sweet-shop language, i.e. a pretty standard amount of boiled sweets that you'd carry around in your coat pocket in a little white bag. I can still eat that amount in about an hour, particularly if it's cinnamon balls, liquorice gums or army and navy sweets.
posted by pipeski at 1:55 PM on August 3 [6 favorites]


I can't decide whether or not I'd be choose to engage in conversation with someone sitting nearby and eating this at a Lolita screening. I suspect the answer is yes, out of curiosity, but with a great deal of caution.

For some reason I was given giant, child's leg sized novelty candy cane cylinders many times as a kid. I cannot imagine why. It took me years to realize the right way to eat them was to use a hammer to make them into edible sized candy the day you receive them. Otherwise the amount of dust and cat hair on them by the end of the week becomes impossible to ignore, even for an eight year old.
posted by eotvos at 1:57 PM on August 3 [11 favorites]


I've eaten sticks of rock twice that big. I’d generally lick them into a giant shiv before chomping my way through the remainder.
posted by brachiopod at 1:57 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


I've eaten sticks of rock twice that big.

I....have questions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:04 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


Oh, and:

I can't decide whether or not I'd be choose to engage in conversation with someone sitting nearby and eating this at a Lolita screening.

In her defense, this was likely a heady artiste-type experience; Film Forum is partnering with another film house and a museum on this big cultural festival-type thing for the next couple weeks here in New York, all about "Hey art and culture had a big sea change in the early 60s let's look at what artists were doing and the movies they were seeing and making". I actually was at a similar screening of Hud two days ago in that very theater.

I realize this doesn't necessarily explain why she specifically chose to see Lolita in that festival, as opposed to something like Dr. Strangelove or Goldfinger or whatever. Maybe it was a deliberately ironic choice.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:08 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


I....have questions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 PM on August 3 [+] [!]


So glad you asked.
posted by brachiopod at 2:35 PM on August 3 [11 favorites]


"eating a giant lollipop kinda sucks"

I see what you did there. Or didn't, being that this was a "lick-only endeavor."

This article made me want to brush my teeth. Twice.
posted by 41swans at 2:37 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


The other time I wanted to eat it only on one side so when I was done I'd have a cross-section. That was harder than you'd think, but I do have pictures.

I think you know what everyone’s next question is.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:51 PM on August 3 [9 favorites]


In her defense, this was likely a heady artiste-type experience
That does change my impression a bit. Thanks! (To be clear, I wouldn't fault anybody for seeing the film again in any venue. There are many good things about it, and many interesting things to say about the bad things about it.) That particular passage also makes an absolutely perfect pull quote for a post.
posted by eotvos at 2:52 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


That was really the best possible outcome. I received it, I was very excited about it, I ate an unreasonable but not wholly unhealthy amount of sugar, and then it went away.

This seems an optimal outcome for any endeavour. Well done.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:10 PM on August 3


I wanted to like this but a) I’m still trying to not get COVID, and b) masks are required in the subway, and c) it’s hard to think of a better opposite for “wearing a mask on the subway” than “commuting while slobbering on a giant lollipop for an hour in the service of a throwaway joke article for the relaunch of Gawker dot com.”
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:13 PM on August 3 [15 favorites]


Does anyone remember Giant SweeTTarts? They were about the size of a fist, and you had to gnaw at them and scrape away at the sweet powdery-ness. I forgot all about those, a childhood favorite, until this article reminded me.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:47 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


Nothing proves the genius of Caity Weaver's mozzarella sticks article like a lesser imitator taking a swipe at the brass ring.
posted by babelfish at 4:41 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


I can barely look at giant jawbreakers after a friend told me that she put an entire one in her mouth when dared to by her brother and had to have her jaw dislocated to have it removed
posted by LindsayIrene at 4:42 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure if anyone else remembers them, but there were things called 'sugar pigs', which were big chunks of flavoured(?) sugar in the shape of pigs. I remember getting one for Christmas once or twice in the 1970s (this is the UK, by the way). Sugar pigs are about as practical to eat as a polished granite ornament. I don't know how they get sugar to go that hard. Sugar pigs are not large, but they take forever to eat. You don't so much bite into a sugar pig as patiently scrape at it with your teeth, gradually deepening the grooves, much as our ancestors carved rocks using pieces of antler. I daresay most pigs are not fully consumed, having become unappetising as they accumulated lint, hair, and small winged insects.
posted by pipeski at 5:05 PM on August 3 [14 favorites]


As clearly demonstrated by Snickers and Fun-Sized Snickers, the size of a piece of candy in inversely correlated with its funness.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:11 PM on August 3 [9 favorites]


(There is nothing theoretically more fun than a single, isolated sugar molecule.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:12 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


Who hasn't eaten the hot-dog shaped swirl pop on a stick before? It becomes a dagger in no time...
posted by Chuffy at 5:31 PM on August 3


I can barely look at giant jawbreakers after a friend told me that she put an entire one in her mouth when dared to by her brother and had to have her jaw dislocated to have it removed

Does what it says on the tin.

As clearly demonstrated by Snickers and Fun-Sized Snickers, the size of a piece of candy in inversely correlated with its funness.

I think what we can glean from this is that fun is about one square inch. I think we all have a square inch that we find the most fun.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:45 PM on August 3 [5 favorites]


Does anyone remember Giant SweeTTarts? They were about the size of a fist, and you had to gnaw at them and scrape away at the sweet powdery-ness.

I love SweeTTarts and I would very much like to get one of these so I can remember it later.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:55 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


she put an entire one in her mouth when dared to by her brother and had to have her jaw dislocated to have it removed

*shudders*
Literally the stuff of my childhood nightmares!
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:05 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


My young child has one of these right now, purchased for her at Disneyland. It's got Minnie on it. Every couple weeks she remembers she has it and asks me if she can eat it. I'm always like "nnnooo, not today, sweetie." I'll confess I don't really have an endgame here. I don't know if I'll ever let her eat it. I think she'd probably file for emancipation if I tossed it. It's a conundrum.
posted by potrzebie at 7:17 PM on August 3 [14 favorites]


I once gave a gummi haggis to a Scottish person of my acquaintance. No idea what he did with it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:26 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, I was gifted a giant Hershey's kiss, about the size of a closed adult fist.
They make larger ones which are hollow, but this was just solid chocolate.
It was possible to bite off the pointed tip, but after that, I basically just gnawed away at the edges like a rodent. (Never thought about smashing it into smaller pieces)
posted by cheshyre at 8:33 PM on August 3 [13 favorites]


Pipeski, the saratoga candy company includes a tiny mallet with their peppermint pigs.

Several years ago I told someone wondering how to eat an overstuffed deli sandwich to ask for extra bread and save the rest for later.

I've never had an all day sucker but would eat it by breaking off a segment at a time.

Same principle
posted by brujita at 10:16 PM on August 3 [5 favorites]


Peppermint Pigs are a regional/family usually Christmas time thing.
You know the stereotypical 'piggy bank'?
Make one about the size of a big potato; but out of a solid hunk of candy cane type peppermint candy, dyed bright pink.

It comes with a mallet and a little red bag.
You gather a group and put it in the bag and say Hooray! We made it past another winter solstice and the sun didn't die, and we have plenty of food in the root cellar to last until spring!
Then you smash the pig, dump out the bag, and hand out the pieces to share in the sweet minty prosperity.

Trying to consume one a few licks at a time...is perhaps a question for Mister Owl?
posted by bartleby at 11:56 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


They still make Giant SweetTarts!
Not fist sized, but about the size of poker chips. The same mouth-puckering tart sugar.
BUT!! they're chewy. Not the hard crumbly aspirin of regular SweetTarts.
They have an X or + cut into them, if you want to divide them like a chump, instead of eating the whole thing at once. But the joke was they were Willy Wonka Communion Wafers.
posted by bartleby at 12:17 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I'll ever let her eat it. I think she'd probably file for emancipation if I tossed it. It's a conundrum.

This is like the literally Disneyland version of Saddam Hussein’s Blood Qu’ran: a copy of the book written in (allegedly his) blood, which it is forbidden to use — blood is haram — but also forbidden to destroy, as it is a Qu’ran.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:42 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, I was gifted a giant Hershey's kiss, about the size of a closed adult fist.
They make larger ones which are hollow, but this was just solid chocolate.
It was possible to bite off the pointed tip, but after that, I basically just gnawed away at the edges like a rodent. (Never thought about smashing it into smaller pieces)


My friend Jeff has always been notoriously fond of chocolate. When we were all back in high school, every year saw his friends give him slightly more impressive chocolate birthday presents.

Eventually the series came to an end with his 23rd birthday, when we reached a point we could not plausibly surpass: two of us chipped in and gave him a larger-than-life-sized bust of his head in chocolate.

I contacted a local chocolatier and asked what was the largest piece of chocolate they sold and found it was comically inadequate for our purpose here. I explained the project and after chortling a bit about this, the owner said she’d look for a suitable solution. After a couple of days she called me up and said that the coconut oil they used came in big white plastic drums, larger than a bucket, and would I like that much chocolate? Bien sûr, madame.

They washed out a drum and filled it with molten chocolate and I came out to pick it up: 23 pounds (10.4 kg) of high-quality chocolate. The price was eye-watering.

But of course the sculpt was still to be done. For this, I hired an artist friend who undertook the commission. It took her over a week, partly because Jeff’s birthday is the end of June and it was an unseasonably warm late spring/early summer, so the artist could only work for maybe 30-45 minutes before the material got too mooshy to work with, so back into the fridge it went for another couple of hours. (The artist told me that her entire apartment smelled like chocolate and she had chocolate under her fingernails for days... “I used to like chocolate before this all began, you know.”)

We presented it to him a day or two before his birthday. I have photos of him somewhere gazing down at a Rodinesque rendering of his own face with a mix of delight, anticipation, startlement, and horror. He later told me he took it back to his grad school residence, put it in the deep freeze for a week and invited a bunch of people around to witness him sledgehammer it into shards, at which point everyone had their fill and took pieces of his head home for later snacking.

Since then we just give him cards.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:08 AM on August 4 [39 favorites]


You ever buy a BOX of the Swedish Fish? I don't mean the mini ones that come in movie theater boxes - I mean the full size Swedish Fish that used to be sold by the pound. I used to buy a whole box and a 6 pack of Jolt Cola (slogan: Twice the caffeine and more than enough sugar!) and then go biking with my best friend. Once, we biked so far that I had to call my mom to pick us up. She had to drive 45 minutes through five or six towns to pick us up about 30 miles away. I was on a single speed BMX bike...
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:40 AM on August 4 [8 favorites]


When I ran concessions for a circus, these were the biggest seller (and biggest profit margin) among premade treats. Popcorn and cotton candy absolutely dominated the numbers of course, being both popular and essentially free to produce, but of the packaged candies.
posted by Nothing at 6:21 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Jolt Cola (slogan: Twice the caffeine and more than enough sugar!)

I actually remember it as "All the sugar and Twice The Caffeine!" I had a roommate who once tried to fend off the sleep deprivation from insomnia by consuming 4 cups of strong coffee, 3 shots of espresso, a pound and a half of chocolate espresso beans, and 3 bottles of Jolt over the course of the day - and the caffeine didn't kick in until about 8:30 that night, when all of the caffeine hit him at once.

After dealing with that, I remember the Jolt slogan very, very well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on August 4 [5 favorites]


Yeah, caffeine.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:02 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


If nothing else, the Internet has allowed us to experience other peoples' mistakes without having to make those mistakes ourselves. I think that should count for something.
posted by tommasz at 7:38 AM on August 4 [11 favorites]


MetaFilter: has allowed us to experience other peoples' mistakes without having to make those mistakes ourselves.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:07 AM on August 4 [10 favorites]


> she put an entire one in her mouth when dared to by her brother and had to have her jaw dislocated to have it removed

Aren't they just sugar? Couldn't it be shrunk by a long and undignified drool while taking a shower open-mouthed?
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:29 AM on August 4 [5 favorites]


Does anyone remember Giant SweeTTarts? They were about the size of a fist, and you had to gnaw at them and scrape away at the sweet powdery-ness.

Fun Fact! The core of nearly all classic white jawbreakers is basically a giant sweet-tart/Blip candy - it's cheaper/faster than panning from a sugar seed to be solid to the core.
Even the little 1/2" ones, actually especially the little ones. They're like maybe 2mm of jawbreaker and then soft candy. Very disappointing.
Except the Ferrara Pan classic Jawbusters, those are still solid all the way through.
And no, I've not found a suitable replacement in the last 8 years, but I keep looking!
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:20 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


Pfft. I've eaten the softball-sized jawbreaker. Twice.

I'm pretty sure I still have scarring and callouses from the one time I ate one of those giant things over 30 years ago.

Also I grew up near the "Original Gourmet" lollipop factory, which made those big, round lollipops in what was then relatively exotic flavors and was similar to the Jelly Belly craze and time frame. I haven't seen those things around in ages but it seems like they used to have their display stands almost everywhere from grocery store candy racks to convenience stores and gas station minimarts.

They had a little store front where they sold their own products plus a pretty good array of unique novelty candy, vintage candy and some candy making supplies like molds and bulk melting chocolate or big fat bricks of caramel.

They definitely had giant gummy rats, as well as several kinds of candy or gum cigarettes, the kinds with the wax paper tube wrappers filled with corn starch or other powder so they'd puff if you blew out through them. It was honestly the last place I ever saw these kinds of candy cigarettes being sold. Even more disturbing/ironic they also sold "loose" candy cigarettes like a corner store.

I remember they also had a bewildering array of jawbreakers in various sizes, from really tiny ones to ones that were bigger than softballs or grapefruit. I always thought it was funny and weird that they had this display with like a dozen glass candy jars all of the same size and they'd go from sizes about 3-5 mm up to the really giant ones, but when you got to the giant sized one there would just be one or maybe two giant jawbreakers sitting in the jar while there were hundreds or thousands of the smaller ones in the same jars.

I spent way too much of my allowance at that store, especially on stuff like the blocks of caramel. For one it was real good milk caramel, but it was also way cheaper to buy a big fat block of it and just gnaw on it for a few days, compared to unwrapping individual cubes from a bag.
posted by loquacious at 4:23 PM on August 4 [3 favorites]



They definitely had giant gummy rats, as well as several kinds of candy or gum cigarettes, the kinds with the wax paper tube wrappers filled with corn starch or other powder so they'd puff if you blew out through them.

I loved these. I could totally go for a candy cigarette right now.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:41 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


There's a "drug store" about a mile away from me right now that still sells them! Pre-pandemic, I would eat there a couple times a month and would always be shocked to see them when I went to pay. I can pick some up next time I am there if you really want.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:05 AM on August 5


The other time I wanted to eat it only on one side so when I was done I'd have a cross-section. That was harder than you'd think, but I do have pictures.

I think you know what everyone’s next question is.


There are so many I think this could be I can't even begin to speculate but I am *here* for it.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:45 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


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