Can The Three-Course Dinner Be Far Behind?

Once again, life imitates art.

Refresh your memory, if necessary, to recall how inflation suddenly struck the unsuspecting Violet Beauregard when she snatched the small stick of gum created by Mr. Willie Wonka’s revolutionary non-pollutionary mechanical wonder.

The gum tasted like tomato soup, then roast beef with baked potato, and finally blueberry pie and cream.

It took awhile, but the William Wrigley Company is now selling hard candies in these three flavors:

Strawberry Cheesecake
Cinnamon Bun
Apple Pie Ala Mode

… and they’re good! Can the tomato soup and roast beef be far behind?

That was meant to be a rhetorical question, but then I thought… better check. We’re closer than you think. The only one of the Wonka gum elements I could not find was the roast beef with potato. The others are available.

Let me stress, because I’m not above making stuff up, that every gum or candy in this post is 100% real. I’ll hyperlink them in case you want to buy some.

First up: Uncle Oinkers Gummy Bacon. Manufactured by a company called Meat-O-Matic. Sure, the strawberry flavoring tends to overpower the artificial bacon flavoring, assuming that the FDA requires a product with the word “bacon” in it to have some relation to bacon flavoring. But – unlike those other celebrity spokes-animals – Uncle Oinker can hold his head high: no pigs were harmed in the making of Uncle Oinker’s Gummy Bacon.

The same cannot be said for Mo’s Bacon Bar. I don’t know if the pigs involved in the candy bar were harmed, but they were definitely killed, fried, and covered in chocolate. All in all, not a bad way to go. But this isn’t gum that tastes like bacon, it’s real bacon that’s wrapped in chocolate. So I’m afraid I’m going to have to flip all the cards over and disqualify Mo’s, although it sure sounds good: “Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of salt and sweet coat your tongue.” Just don’t linger over it unduly. The candy comes with a freshness date that’s just three months out, and there’s an excellent chance the package you find will have logged serious hours on your grocer’s shelf.

I have always wondered whether Ronald Reagan’s health problems were caused by jellybeans. Jelly Belly became quite famous during the Gipper years, but have lately fallen off in popularity. I wonder if that’s because Jelly Belly makes the jellybeans seen at right, selling them under the name of a dummy corporation. To see these phenomenal flavors in their full glory, click on the picture to enlarge (I once again remind you that everything you see here can be bought and eaten). I have never tried “earthworm” or “sausage” jellybeans, but I take solace in knowing that once again, industry is hard at work to bring lip-smackin’ meat flavor to candy.

Back to Violet Beauregard. While there seems to be no roast beef and potato candy, you sure as hell can get the first course… the tomato soup, although you might have to travel to Asia… or perhaps a local Lucky’s… in order to find it. Booniverse, the blog which covers culinary curiosities, reports:

It does have an unusually powerful tomato aroma (you can smell one of these things being opened across the room) but it follows up with a nicely strong tomato taste so it is keeping its olfactory promises. Also, the tomato flavor is natural (if not fresh from the vine) tomato and not some manufactured processed tomato flavoring which is admirable. If it were any other fruit I’d give it a glowing report with all that it has going for it so far but…it’s tomato.

To demand the U.S. close the gap with China (what kind of sense does it make to be able to get candy tomatoes and not tomato candy) write a polite letter expressing your interest to your senator or congressperson.

The one fully-original portion of Violet’s chewing gum repast you can get, oddly, is the blueberry gum. No mention of cream, but otherwise it’s the real deal – it’s gum, and it’s blueberry.

So here’s what I did: I approximated Violet’s flavor fest as best I could, by taking a blueberry gumball, carefully wrapping it tightly in one strip of Uncle Oinkers, and then melting down a piece of the Asian tomato candy and carefully coating the gummy bacon-wrapped blueberry gumball over and over until I had built up a hard candy shell. My neighbor volunteered to actually try the thing, and though she has seen neither the Gene Wilder original nor the Johnny Depp remake, after eating this one piece of candy, she became a huge Willie Wonka fan. Here’s a picture of her before we rolled her down to the Juicing Room for squeezing.

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