Sunday, March 11, 2012

The candies and sweets of my youth

At the foot of the MRT station near my workplace a few weeks ago, I screamed in my mind at the sight right in front of me: Butter Ball candies in the familiar yellow plastic packaging.

I quickly gave a P5 coin to the woman vendor, who looked up at me quizzically. I then scooped up 5 Butter Ball candies and said, "Piso isa, 'di ba?" She nodded, and I smiled.

I popped one in my mouth soon after and was immediately transported back in time when I was in my grade school uniform, white socks, and black shoes, waiting for my turn at the Chinese garter game--a piece of long garter is held by two girls, and one has to jump over it, making sure to touch the garter with one's legs. The garter is held higher and higher as the game progresses.

Ah, it's the same Butter Ball of my youth, with the same sweet "butter" taste. Now this was contentment, never mind if the candy now costs so much more than it did back in the '70s.

Butter Ball isn't the only candy I loved back then. There was Cola, a round candy wrapped in purple, which tasted like Coca-Cola.

Then there was Serg's milk chocolate which I preferred more than the crumbly Choc-Nut. The latter one is still around today, but sadly, Serg's is nowhere to be found. My schoolmate Analyn said the owner's daughter was her classmate in prep, and she thinks they may have migrated already.

I remember I was in Grade 3 or 4 when I discovered Pop Rocks--an imported candy which, when you put inside your mouth, would literally 'pop' in what seemed like baby explosions. I would close my mouth and listen to the pops, afraid that if I opened my mouth, the 'rocks' would pop out of my mouth, and isn't that so dyahe?

I didn't quite get the science behind it, but I suspect there was some carbon dioxide thrown in there. Now come to think of it, Pop Rocks could have been my first exposure to "molecular gastronomy."

Goya chocolates in football-shaped balls and round gold coins have also been treats I enjoyed as a child, and so were Ricoa Flat Tops and Curly Tops--cheap and satisfying. I stayed clear of Milky Ways and Hershey bars in grade school since these would cost a big part of my baon, and so I settled for local chocolates.

Just last week, I discovered that Goya has pretzels dipped in dark chocolate, and twice this week I gleefully had that for snack in the office. I so liked it that I didn't share. Ooops. Sinful.

But still nothing beats the candies our helper bought recently at the sari-sari store--Lipps candies! These were the bright red candies that made your tongue (and lips) bright red. My classmates and I would stick out our tongues at each other and laugh at how red they have become. And yes, we would take the red candy and apply it on our lips as "lipstick." I was happy to discover that Lipps is still around these days, even though they changed the packaging.

And so yesterday at the office, after lunch, I unwrapped one pink Lipps candy. Ten minutes later, I checked my tongue in the bathroom mirror and chuckled at seeing my fuchsia tongue. I felt like a kid all over again.

Funny how little things like candies bring back memories of your childhood. And to think I haven't even started on the drinks, like the Choco-Vim I used to buy with chits at the school canteen.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: I'm almost done with Finishing Well: Book Two: Is This Really My Life's Work?, written by Bob Buford. It challenges people in the midlife stage, or those beyond 40, to discover how to make the second half of their lives count.

The author does this through interviews with accomplished people conducted over lunch, such that you feel as if you're there and part of the conversation.

What is the second half of life (or what he calls Life II) all about? He says it's all about relationships and priorities, it's about family first, it's about saying no, and it's about giving and receiving a blessing. It also involves having a new purpose, repositioning, and finding or creating the right context.

So much to learn in this little book.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14


firstwivesclub said...

Karen, you know Lipps has those candies in lollipop form, right?

I love Butterball as well, and White Rabbit (I wonder how much melamine I've consumed)! Ah! And Ovalteenies, thank goodness those are still around. But I preferred Horlicks Blue. ;)

I, being part-Chinese, also grew up eating Haw Flakes. :)

quietstream said...

Oooh, Haw Flakes! We used to pretend we were having Communion with those. :)

I love White Rabbit and Ovaltinees too. Didn't know Lipps came in lollipop form. Wala yata sa canteen namin noon. hehe :)