Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dum Dums and Mystery

The Dum Dum Pop is a classic. That is not to say that it is the greatest candy of all-time, but is it a true classic. Today, in fact, while visiting family at home, I went into the bank of my childhood and got my free Dum Dum. The same has been happening for at least the last 25 years or so (since I can remember). And that's what's great about the Dum Dum-- they are small and super cheap, so places like banks and museums have no problem giving out these suckers every day they are open. Today I opted for the perplexing Mystery flavor of Dum Dum, eschewing my usual pick of root beer or lemon. By the way, before I continue, the massive variety of flavors is the other great thing about the Dum Dum. Why would I go for strawberry or any other pedestrian flavor when cotton candy or mango are in the mix? (I say that knowing full well that lemon, a standard for me, is quite common; and I say that knowing that historical flavors like buttered popcorn were nasty.)

ANYWAY, I got the mystery one today. It was colored blue, but that doesn't mean a thing. Your coloration schemes cannot fool me, Spangler Candy! You will have to do better than that. Actually, the blue coloring does seem to mean that the flavor cannot be blue raspberry or the like, as that would be too obvious; but, the first lick of the pop told me that, as well--or did it? The first taste gave me vanilla or cream. I at first kept looking at the blueness, and that held me up for a moment, but I fought through it. The problem is that there may be no one flavor one is looking for, at least according to a number of reports. Those reports say that the mystery pop is actually a mix of two flavors that results from production admixture. They argue that the mystery pop is a way to cover a potential loss due to non-pure sucker production. **I feel like that last statement implies some racial undertones, but they are not intended. Let's not bring our racial politics to the Dum Dum table, people.

While I am inclined to believe this mixed-dum-dum story-- as the marketing potential for "revealing" or holding contests to see who could identify the mystery flavor each year could be boons to the Dum Dum brand image, something the company could not do if the mystery flavor is some happy mistake--I will for the sake of this story and my sanity say that I was looking for a single unique flavor today. That said, I think what I ate was a butterscotch pop. However, having eaten a ton of butterscotch candy, and given my first impression that the pop was vanilla-y, I can see how this pop may have been a dirty hybrid pop. Maybe some cream soda in there? However, in that case, whence came the blue dye? It was a murky blue, clearly mixed with the white/cream dye, but why blue if it were a hybrid of butterscotch and cream soda? Are my taste buds so easily fooled?

All these questions vexed me for about 15 seconds, because I am a biter. I cannot sit there with so small a pop in my mouth and not crunch it very quickly. So, the mystery lasted but for a few seconds, but man what a few seconds. It took me right back to being 8 and waiting in the drive-through for the tube to bring me and Sis a sucker. Good times.

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