...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Food journal number 5: Candy

There is candy here in abundance. Gottegrisen, a candy store near our place, boasts a variety of more than 400 candies in their 3-room store. (Their other smaller branch has only 300, shame shame!) There are other smaller candy stores, of course. Every grocery also has its own candy section. Everywhere it's the same though: you can get a plastic scoop and a big colorful paper bag, scoop up all the candy you can afford, and take the bag off with you to eat during class, the cinema (where one can eat it like chips), or, well anywhere.

There are so, so many kinds of candy, or godis ("goodies") as they are called here--otherwise Gottegrisen wouldn't be able to boast about the number of candy types they have. There are the regular gummy bears, gummy worms and chocolate of different types; there are also more "traditional" candy like raspberry-flavored sugar-coated ones. There are chewy ones, crunchy ones, hard ones; they come shapes of guns, skulls, cars, cats, tubes, fruits and bottles. In general though, they are labeled by type: chocolate, marshmallow, gummy, etc. and by flavor (sour, sweet, even salty!)

I don't know what it is with salty candy, but the Swedes (Marcus included) seem to like salty licorice in particular: "The more salty, the better!" For someone who likes sweet or sour candy, I think salty licorice tastes like saltwater, though. Yet I think more people than Marcus actually like the stuff. Bubblegum and even ice cream are available in licorice flavor, and in cafeterias where they don't have a candy section, there are containers of licorice sticks anyway.

I heard from a classmate that candy was a major food item here next only to potatoes and milk... okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but I did read in a magazine that Swedes eat an average of 7.8 kilos of candy per year! I would also guess that the candy consumption increases at a ratio inversely proportional to the amount of sunlight Swedes get at a time of the year. Fall is coming and candy is here to stay... Still, it is not the Swedes but the Finns who supposedly hold the world record on eating the most candy, besides also holding the world record in coffee drinking and vodka drinking... they must have some pretty hyperactive people there.

Lastly, on the Swedish candy tradition: our bioethics teacher was on the topic of human experimentation and he mentioned that in the 60's some Swedish researchers made kids eat different types of pastries and candies without letting them brush their teeth, in order to investigate tooth decay. The suggestion that came out of this strange research is the concept Lördag Godis, or Saturday candies, i.e. to give candy to kids only on Saturdays.

Anyway, I'm writing this because I'm sugar high, my mouth feels funny, my jaw actually hurts from chewing sour candy all night long. Suddenly I have a mental image of jumping Nickelodeon kids in this hyperactive show called "Coffee and Sugar", and I think this candy experience is just crazy but also enjoyable. I feel like a kid, sans tooth decay.


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