I don’t know about all of you, but Tootsie Rolls are really low on my list of preferred candies. They’re even below black licorice and those wax lips that claim to be cherry flavored but end up tasting like, well, wax. And it just so happens that after a successful night of trick or treating, my kids end up covered in Kit-Kat’s and sour gummies and I end up with what I like to call the “reject stash,” which is made up of broken sucker bits, rock-hard bubble gum, and more Tootsie Rolls than I would want in a lifetime. Whatever it is I think I see, turns out to be a Tootsie Roll for me…
I’ve never quite understood the little chewy chocolate confection that has been around for so very long, but surely there must be more to this popular candy than my taste buds realize. A quick survey among friends revealed to me that people actually enjoy these things, although I’d like to see someone consume half of the collection I’ve accumulated since the reject stash of the summer parade candy. The Halloween supply might put me over the edge, but somewhere, someone would jump for joy.
It’s no surprise that we amass so many of these sweets. According to the official Tootsie Roll web site, 64 million are produced every single day. And theoretically, every roll produced has a tiny bit of the very first Tootsie Roll ever produced because of their special technique of incorporating yesterday’s batch into today’s. That means that if you eat one this Halloween, in theory you are eating a very little piece of the first Tootsie Roll ever made in America. Keep in mind that the first ones were made by Leo Hirshfield in 1896, which might explain exactly what is that odd flavor that sticks in my teeth whenever I do eat one.
My children do not only share my dislike for the original rolls, which were named after Leo’s daughter’s nickname, but they also have something against the inside of a Tootsie Roll pop—that giant-sized sucker with minimal sucker and maximum tootsie. These lollipops have been known to be passed out as ghosts on trick-or-treat night, where a tissue is draped over and tied with a piece of yarn. Two eyes drawn in felt pen stare at you as if to say, “go ahead. Try to figure out how many licks to get to my middle.” If any one of my kids had the actual patience to count the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, they would jump for joy and then hand me the chewy chocolateness on a stick. Lucky, lucky me.
A bit of research will show you, however, that you might not actually even have to count the licks. Children who write to the Tootsie Roll company to report their lick count are rewarded with a “Clean Stick Reward” (also printable online for cheaters everywhere,) and while the numbers range from 100 to 5,800, the average is about 700 licks.
I, for one, will not be doing any such experiments.
And so it stands that while I sit surrounded by the piles of Tootsie Rolls we have collected over the year and my kids run around on a Snicker’s sugar high, I have to wonder if I really am missing something. A candy so with such a solid history and so many fans must have something to offer that I’m missing.
The secret may not be so secret anymore. As stated on the Tootsie Roll web site, Minnie Larson, age 105, of Muskegon, Michigan says that the secret to long life is “peace and quiet, a single life, and an endless supply of Tootsie Rolls.”
She’d live forever at my house.
What's your favorite reject candy? Let me know in the comments below. Just don't leave me any Tootsie Rolls.