Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Best Candy Bar To Eat In Sections

Why can't you buy a Peanut Butter Twix in the candy aisle or at the gas station anymore?

I know, they're not "gas stations," they're "convenience stores." But I only go there to get gas, except when I have to get milk and don't want to wait in the lines at the grocery store just for two gallons of milk. Although we need more and more milk every day now. We go through milk faster than I go through gas, and a fair amount of the gas I use is used going to get milk.

Must focus. Peanut Butter Twix. Must focus. Peanut Butter Twix.

Only the most-tired of you out there will be in doubt as to what The Best Candy Bar To Eat In Sections is by now, but I will spell it out for you in case there are some readers who did not begin their day, as I did, with a giant cup of coffee and Mika's "Love Today" on CD in the car. The Best Candy Bar To Eat In Sections is "Peanut Butter Twix."

Now take a moment to watch "Love Today." Really crank up the sound. Your boss won't mind. Not once he hears the song:

Don't you feel more upbeat and happy? I do. That's not the official video, by the way; it's a commercial or commercial wannabe by this guy, TonyDivine, who is clearly very talented.

Must focus. Peanut Butter Twix. Must focus. Peanut Butter Twix.

Why can't you buy a Peanut Butter Twix as a regular candy bar? And why are they in red wrappers? And why do I have to buy six of them just to get one? And why do I have to get them in the 'snack' aisle at the grocery store? And why doesn't Sweetie buy Peanut Butter Twix instead of Milky Ways, which I'll eat but I won't be very happy about.

Sweetie: I ate the Milky Ways under protest. All four of them.

Peanut Butter Twix was the first time in my memory that a candy bar "branched out" and used the name of another candy bar to establish a brand and lure in the people who already loved the 'original' version. Back in my day -- 1983, the year Peanut Butter Twix was introduced -- people were forced to buy products, watch movies, and wear clothes that had no apparent relationship to products they'd bought, movies they'd watched, or clothes they were wearing.

That's right, kids. You can't imagine the horrors we faced, walking through a store with no clue about whether or not we'd like something, having to constantly go outside of our comfort zone. You people have all grown up watching endless "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" movies and remakes of "The Brady Bunch" and "Starsky and Hutch." Your sodas all have names that begin with "Coke- ", "Pepsi-" or "Mountain Dew-."

I'm not just exaggerating, either. Over at (Yes, there's a "" It's here) they list seven brands, all beginning with "Mountain Dew." They include "Baja Blast," "Live Wire," and "Code Red." Note that none of those names give you an idea of what the soda tastes like. It's enough to know that it's "Mountain Dew," right?

There's also "Dew Iced... With Mountain Dew." There should be a special award for the PepsiCo employee who managed to fit "Dew" in their twice. I bet Generation Y members cry with relief when they see that.

But in 1983, marketers didn't know that we would all just blindly buy something if it had a familiar word in front of it. They had to convince us to buy things like soda and candy bars even though those sodas and candy bars might be entirely unrelated to anything we'd ever bought before. (They weren't entirely unrelated, of course: everyone knows that there's only three companies in the world that produce all the products we use and all the entertainment we watch. Just like everyone knows that all colas use the same exact formula and the differences are only in our heads.)

So in 1983, and before, marketers had to convince us that "TAB" was something we wanted to buy. (A task they largely failed at; "TAB" in my memory is associated with fat women in leg warmers and with cancer.) (Please don't sue me, Coca-Cola. I can't help my memory.)

Then came Peanut Butter Twix. The candy that changed the world. I know, I give a lot of credit for changing the world to seemingly innocuous things like Jennifer Aniston's hair, but I'm always right when you stop to think about it. And I'm right here, too, because I'll bet that this was the first real instance of rebranding (unless you count the 1 zillion varieties of "Bun" candy bars, but nobody does.)

Twix had a real image at that time: The chocolate candy with the cookie crunch. At least, that's how I remember it. It might actually be "The only candy with a cookie crunch." (See, Coca Cola! I'm unreliable!) The manufacturers then messed around with that, and came up with Peanut Butter Twix, which originally sat there in the yellow wrapper -- the yellow wrapper that I can't even locate on Google but which I know existed -- on the candy rack at the Piggly-Wiggly, drawing your eye in with its blaze of unfamiliar mixed with the familiar. Twix? But Twix isn't in yellow. And what's this about peanut butter? Twix doesn't have peanut butter. But it SAYS it's a Twix.

It was irresistable. Or so I thought, but it turns out lots of people could resist it because Peanut Butter Twix didn't last forever or take over the candy world or make it to the cover of Time or anything. They pulled it off the shelves for a while, and then it resurfaced, this time in a red wrapper and located in the snack aisle, but it was too late for me and probably for others, because I'd moved on to Butterfingers and Sweetie does the grocery shopping, and because candy bars are not supposed to be bought in the snack aisle, they're supposed to be thrown onto the conveyor belt at the end of your groceries, or grabbed while you wait in line at the gas station. Candy bars should come in ones, not packs of six or 10 or 50. They should be eaten on the ride home from wherever you bought them, either sitting in the back seat while Mom drives, or sitting in the front seat while your babies have a contest in the back to see who can say aaaaaaaaaahhhhh the loudest and longest.

And, to finally get to the point of this, they should be eaten, if at all possible, in sections and using a system, and that's what Peanut Butter Twix was The Best At. For all the hoopla about how to eat a Reese's, or that you can eat M&Ms without them melting (a lie, and I can prove it!) in your hand, Peanut Butter Twix was both the first and the best for eating in sections.

Here's how I'd do it: Open up the candy bar. Take out the first one. (Remember, with Twix, you get two, and not a cheesy, miniature "two" that's really less than one, like with Heath and Mounds and Almond Joy. You get two full-size bars.)

Eat the peanut butter off the cookie first, carefully scraping the peanut butter and chocolate top, but not the sides or the cookie, until there's no peanut butter left.

Then nibble the chocolate off all the ends until there's just cookie, with a little bit of chocolate and peanut butter that you missed.

Finally, eat the cookie. Savor it, mingled with the memory of peanut butter and chocolate that still lingers in your mouth.

Then-- voila!-- another one awaits you!

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