LIQUORICE ALLSORTS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS
November 7, 2007 10:08 AM   Subscribe

When they came for the gummy bear, I remained silent; I have cavities. When they came for the red hots, I remained silent; I am allergic to cinnamon. But when they came for the liquorice allsorts, one man did not stay silent. And for that Bertie Bassett thanks him.
posted by robocop is bleeding (70 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why are the dates/times backwards?
posted by DU at 10:20 AM on November 7, 2007


The blue candy in this photo - is that what a Bertie Bassett licorice looks like?

Sweet story.
posted by iconomy at 10:21 AM on November 7, 2007


He's a man among men.
posted by Stynxno at 10:24 AM on November 7, 2007


That was first thing to make me smile all day. Thanks.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:25 AM on November 7, 2007


Also, the man does have a point. In some sense, particularly for food items and particularly particularly from long-standing brands, the public "owns" certain things. And yet they have no voice or control if the company decide to do things differently. "Vote with your feet/wallet" only works for commodities, which are the very items the public "owns" least.
posted by DU at 10:29 AM on November 7, 2007


It's surely a sign of an apocalypse that I'm reading this whilst eating some Haribo Color-Rado candies my brother brought me from Germany (which Amazon lists as a "gourmet food" for some inexplicable reason). I can just imagine what the dad would say to that...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:30 AM on November 7, 2007


This wouldn't be such a problem if the fools at the American-owned Cadbury weren't involved. *sigh* If only English candy were for Englishmen again...
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 AM on November 7, 2007


Also also, I envy him his success. If you write to an American company, you get a form letter back from someone who never read the original. If you write back again and enclose their previous response to highlight its inadequacy, you get the same form letter in return.
posted by DU at 10:34 AM on November 7, 2007


I can totally see this playing out in my household as well, my dad loves his Allsorts. This was an awesome story and a great post, made me smile. :)
posted by gemmy at 10:34 AM on November 7, 2007


I'm reasonably sure there is no actual cinnamon in Red Hots.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:36 AM on November 7, 2007


Sweet story

Yes, but not sickly sweet.

And here, all along, I figured the culprit would turn out to be HFCS.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:37 AM on November 7, 2007


DU, I hear that. That is EXACTLY what happened when I contacted MLB about the green hats that the Red Sox wore in honor of Jackie Robinson this past season.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:38 AM on November 7, 2007


Laughed and laughed reading that! Really funny narrative, the Thurber of the allsorts' recipe saga. Thanks so much. It is irksome when I get to love a product that the recipe is changed for the worse. This does happen all the time, hugely frustrating. As a longtime fan of licorice (or liquorice) allsorts, I was hoping the recipe had not changed.

Just wait till the kid grows up and her favorite (conditioner, tinned soup, perfume, brand of underwear, floor polish etc) changes to benefit the company's profit margin, is only sold in the knock-off version or disappears altogether...then let's see her blog...
posted by nickyskye at 10:40 AM on November 7, 2007


Did you know that candy comes from a word that literately means chucks of sugar?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:41 AM on November 7, 2007


American-owned Cadbury weren't involved.

Cadbury Schweppes PLC is British-owned.
posted by ericb at 10:42 AM on November 7, 2007


Good man.

Atom eyes - The UK doesn't have a highly subsidized corn industry (we prefer to put our ridiculous subsidies into other crops) and so lacks the lakes of HCFS that the US is compelled to get rid of by putting it into everything.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on November 7, 2007


They're labeled "all sorts" right on the package and he's complaining that they're the wrong kind? Sorry, Bucko, liquorice specific static assortment got discontinued a long time ago.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:45 AM on November 7, 2007


Cadbury Schweppes PLC is British-owned.

In March 2007 they announed that they were "...split[ting] itself up into two separate businesses....One of the divisions will focus on chocolate and confectionery while the other will concentrate on its US drinks business - which includes Dr Pepper."*
posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on November 7, 2007


Allsorts are gross. Gross, and wrong.
posted by SassHat at 10:55 AM on November 7, 2007


In some sense, particularly for food items and particularly particularly from long-standing brands, the public "owns" certain things. And yet they have no voice or control if the company decide to do things differently. "Vote with your feet/wallet"

Consumers rejected New Coke. Coca-Cola faced a giant consumer revolt when they switched the formula of their premium brand soft drink in 1985.
posted by ericb at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2007


It seemed like a good idea at the time -- "New Coke, 20 years later, and other marketing fiascoes."
posted by ericb at 11:00 AM on November 7, 2007


. Sir, I don't know you, but I salute you. Fighting the good fight for all of us. Hurrah!
posted by doctor_negative at 11:00 AM on November 7, 2007


Ah. I was confused because of this.

Of course, a real English candy company wouldn't have made this mistake.
posted by koeselitz at 11:26 AM on November 7, 2007


That was fun to read.
I think that guy must be my mom's soulmate.
Fight for your consumerist right to little blue balls, and other little things that you feel the inexplicable need to fight for!
posted by bassjump at 11:31 AM on November 7, 2007


See? Mentalists.

Is this acceptable English slang for those with mental illness? How about trying "shiftless freeloader" on for size, dear?
posted by prostyle at 11:36 AM on November 7, 2007


Shut it, snooty yank.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2007


Presumably the US manufactured cadburies chocolates taste slightly vomity, like Hersheys does? I'll be avoiding them, in any case.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2007


Rollerballs.
Balls roller.
Balls.


Crap, she's close to breaking the code...

Abort!

Abort!
posted by quin at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2007


I loved the ending, but I don't really get the "omg my dad is such a kook" vibe. I mean, when I grew up, my mother worked for Konsumentverket - "a state agency whose task is to help the general public in Sweden with consumer affairs" - so that Livejournal reads like every other thursday to me. If something's wrong with a product or service you've bought, you complain. No big deal.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2007


I was so mad when they changed the recipe for Readybrek. It was like they'd destroyed my childhood... and that time when they suddenly stopped making my fav shampoo, and they other time Hot Crunch disappeared. But not mentalist enough to start a massive letter writing campaign though.

Oh and I'm certain a certain word it comes from here...
"You're a mentalist!"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:22 PM on November 7, 2007


That is glorious.
posted by empath at 12:28 PM on November 7, 2007


If anyone messes with Twiglets I'll go mental.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on November 7, 2007


Excellent post.
posted by everichon at 12:31 PM on November 7, 2007


I remember being a young, obsessive Dr. Who fan, and tasting my First Real Jelly Baby.

It was gross.
posted by everichon at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2007


I really wish I had a reliable source of Turkish Delight. In sixth grade, the class read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (actually I may not have, since by then I'd already read it nine or ten times) and the teacher acquired some, and the kids all poo-poohed it and I raked in the unloved gelatinous rosy riches.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:46 PM on November 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


That is wonderful.

And re: American chocolate, it's getting worse... see here for proposal to allow products with no cocoa butter to be labeled "chocolate".
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2007


I don't really get it either. Seems awfully tough on her dear old dad. If something is wrong, you complain. Of course, we don't know how exactly he complains about this but it doesn't really come across how OMFG hilarious it is.
posted by agregoli at 1:17 PM on November 7, 2007


Indeed. It's a great story, but man, his daughter's an asshole. How sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a livejournaling child!
posted by Greg Nog at 1:42 PM on November 7, 2007


his daughter's an asshole.

Alternatively the daughter is a teenager or younger, and acting in a completely normal and natural way.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2007


"23, bookseller and recent English graduate", according to her private Livejournal.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:53 PM on November 7, 2007


Also, I am now ravenously curious to try that Blue Bertie Bassett.
posted by everichon at 1:54 PM on November 7, 2007


I think the tone is affectionate making-fun, not "I really disrespect my dad".
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:02 PM on November 7, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur, do you have a decent falafel joint or Mediterranean bakery nearby? That's my source for scrumptious Turkish Delight (sometimes called lokuum, I think).

On preview, yeah, I too thought the tone was much closer to playful than mean-spirited.
posted by verysleeping at 2:06 PM on November 7, 2007


Alternatively the daughter is a teenager or younger, and acting in a completely normal and natural way.

And therein lies a mystery.

As a child, you *know* what the good sweets are, and Liquorice Allsorts are not them. The good sweets are things like Candy Shrimps, Sherbet Flying Saucers, Fried Eggs, Pop Rocks, Bazooka Joe, etc.

The only people who eat Liquorice Allsorts are old people. It was ever thus. It was true when I was a kid in the 60's, and it's true now. If some kindly old person were to offer me a Liquorice Allsort, I would say 'There are two things in this world that pretend to be sweets but are not. One of them is coconut. The other one is Liquorice. The proverbial allsort seeks to disguise both of these useless ingredients with the most marginal candy coat, but it fails miserably on every score. Take your Liquorice Allsorts and give them to another old person, or a Dutch person, who will appreciate them.'

But at some point, it seems that there are those children who metamorphose into old people. It certainly isn't true of me, as I still prefer the Sherbet Flying Saucer, the Malteser, the cheap bubblegum with sherbet in the middle, etc. So I'm curious. At what point is it that these tastes change?

Because that is the point at which we give up on life itself.

And by the way, what's up with those Dutch people? How can *anyone* think 50 different types of liquorice is any way to stock the candy aisle in the supermarket? Do they have a national constipation problem, or something? Is it a critical adjunct to the toilet inspection shelf?

I think we should be told.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:37 PM on November 7, 2007


The axis of feeble post is coming to mind again, what with all this knee-jerk denunciation flying around.

I suspect a particularly English/american humour gap is the cause of the problem here though.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on November 7, 2007


Moral: if you are in fact a crusader for virtue in the field of packaged confections, do not also be the father of Georgia Nicolson.
posted by darksasami at 2:43 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


(I must be getting old. 23-year olds seem like basically the same species of animal as teenagers to me these days.)
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2007


I bloody knew it! I've had a few packets lately, and I was sure they were a bit weird.


This man is truly a god amongst men. Somethings you just don't mess with.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2007


Oh, I'm not having an English/American humour moment: Canadians speak both idioms.

But if his daughter is 23 and a recent English grad, then she needs to move out of her parents' house. The tone is adolescent (OMG old pepul are so WIERD LOL) and 23 is too old to be so humiliated by her father's quest for allsort justice.

Only teenagers think complaining is dorky, and that's just because they think everything is dorky.
posted by jrochest at 3:24 PM on November 7, 2007


You're dorky.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's to the seperation of the Spogs from the unwashed masses of the lower class plebian allsort.
posted by lalochezia at 3:53 PM on November 7, 2007


verysleeping: I have reasonable access to authentic Turkish Delight in lots of flavors, just over the hill in San Jose, where there is a huge number of Asian immigrants. What I want is the hot pink Cadbury stuff!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:28 PM on November 7, 2007


Ahh... Fry's Turkish Delight

(Utterly disgusting IIRC)
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2007


Awesome link, Artw!! It's pretty terrible, true. I love it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:28 PM on November 7, 2007


This post could also be a lost chapter in "A Spot of Bother." I really enjoyed it. And I don't think the girl was being terrible, it was just a funny story about the dad's obsession with sweets.
posted by SassHat at 6:49 PM on November 7, 2007


I thought it was very sweetly done...the daughter obviously loves her dad.

My mom sat down and cried when they switched from old Coke to New Coke. I mean cried like someone had died. She still claims it's not quite right.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:04 PM on November 7, 2007


I'm actually very glad to read this - I bought a bag recently and not only were there no Bertie Bassets, there were none of the little pink or blue bobbly ones. I was pretty upset about that. Good to know there's a reason for the BB no-show at least.
posted by corvine at 1:27 AM on November 8, 2007


By a weird coincidence the other day I was chatting about the George Lazenby 'Big Fry' ad
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:28 AM on November 8, 2007


See also Bounty... 'the taste of paradise', for another ridiculously sexed-up, overly sweet and sickly, chocolate bar ad.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:33 AM on November 8, 2007


I hate Allsorts. I liked this thread and the All sorts posts. Dad lost it when he preferred the blogger's brother's Allsorts to hers. She then did what she could to straighten THAT around. Good on her. Dad is obviously barking mad.
posted by CCBC at 2:30 AM on November 8, 2007


Not a licorice fan, but I did enjoy reading the Allsorts saga. I think she was more playful than mean-spirited, but yeah, a little childish.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:43 AM on November 8, 2007


This confectionery-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it

I'm terrified of what the comprehensive article might look like.

Just wait till the kid grows up and her favorite (conditioner, tinned soup, perfume, brand of underwear, floor polish etc) changes to benefit the company's profit margin, is only sold in the knock-off version or disappears altogether...

I hold a daily moment of silence for Aura Rosemary Mint Rinse as I rub their sickly sweet green and vastly inferior conditioner into my hair.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:12 AM on November 8, 2007


The Bassetts factory where Allsorts were manufactured was actually based in Chesterfield iirc and was demolished a good couple of years ago (it was right next to Chesterfield train station. Here is the remains of the site.

I am unaware of the current location in Sheffield where Allsorts are now manufactured but I will make it a mission of mine to discern the location and see what sabotage has taken place. I also noticed a change in the quality of Allsorts around the time manufacturing was shifted from Chesterfield, perhaps the same excellent craftsmanship that resulted in the, frankly spastic, Church Of St Mary and All Saints. I suppose that's what you get when you name a church after a second rate, all-girl pop act.

Thorntons also used to have a manufacturing facility nearby where a friend of mine worked one summer. It was particularly excellent because it allowed him to genuinely put "fudgepacker" on his CV which caused no small amount of mirth.
posted by longbaugh at 10:27 AM on November 8, 2007


Alternatively the daughter is a teenager or younger, and acting in a completely normal and natural way.

I guess that's what I meant by "asshole". You liquorice-hating bloggers stay the HELL off my lawn!


But at some point, it seems that there are those children who metamorphose into old people.


I think I've gone through The Change. I like liquorice just fine now, despite hating it as a young whippersnapper. The blame for this development, as for so many of the other horrific things in my life, most likely results from my enjoyment of Ouzo.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:32 PM on November 8, 2007


Someday we too will smell of cabbage...

I'd drop my support for them the moment they embrace their fusty-old persons sweet image with a werthers original style marketing campaign, of course. Theres something hideous about how werthers knowingly target the old and their hopes and dreams of giving sweeties to grandchildren and getting gratitude in response (Instead of a reaction of "Blech! Yukky old people sweets, which is probably more the case. Vile little trainer-wearing nintendo-palying shits)
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on November 8, 2007


Ha, I can't believe this made metafilter! I'm glad some of you enjoyed the saga - it's really all gone a bit nuts but it's good to see people finding it funny. Just a few clarifications!

1. The dates are backwards because the saga was originally posted in my private journal. I collected them together in a public journal because some people asked me to. So I posted them all at once, backwards so people could read from top to bottom.

2. I love, love, LOVE my dad, and believe him to be the smartest person alive. He knows about the journal and I wouldn't mind him reading it as the whole thing is written with the deepest affection. He's brilliant and I'm so sorry some people have felt I was being disrespectful or was in any way embarrassed by him. I was chuffed when he got his refund cheque, which he richly deserved!

3. 23 really is far too old to be living with my parents, especially as I had been living away from home for four years prior to moving back in! Thankfully (for both them and me!) it's only for a year while my partner finishes university. And we do pay rent. Honest!
posted by emslj at 2:29 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


emslj -- welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by ericb at 2:44 PM on November 9, 2007


Thanks ericb. I've been reading for quite a long time but have never felt compelled to comment before. Surprise, surprise, a post about me pushed me over the edge. Funny that.
posted by emslj at 2:52 PM on November 9, 2007


Cheers emslj and cheers to your dad too - your saga made my day.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:14 PM on November 9, 2007


Very entertaining emslj. Glad to have you here.
posted by quin at 3:30 PM on November 9, 2007


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