I’ve always been a lover of chocolate. In fact, ‘lover’ is not a strong enough term. Chocolate has been my sweetheart, my darling, my infatuate and at times my paramour. I ate as much chocolate as I could get my sticky little hands on as a child and this habit is one that remains in my adult meanderings. I’ve grown up with Cadbury’s, Nestle and Whittaker’s being familiar chums of mine, always there with a delicious comfort in times of need.
What was my favourite chocolate treat? The Cadbury’s Creme egg, of course. But not the imposter egg you get today. The New Zealand Creme egg from my childhood was quite a different beast. I have no idea what you were eating in the UK at the time, but when I was a kid growing up in ‘not quite penguinville south of the equator’ the eggs were far more ‘liquid’ inside and had a separate, distinct yellow part for the yolk.
When I say liquid I’m not joking. It was in no way watery, but you had to strategically plan how to crack open your egg, coz the inside was so runny that you risked spilling it everywhere if you fucked up the cracking and dismantled a side. Definitely not like the thick fondant stuff of today where you can dangle the fucking egg upside down for a day or two and nothing will ooze out. Maybe it’ll bulge a little. Whatever; what I’m saying is: they were runnier and they were better.
What does this matter? Well, not just the youth of today, but many future generations as well will not realise what the fuck we were on about when we sang the praises of the creme egg. They’ll look at the weird modern contortion of the egg we loved and think, “these pricks didn’t know good sweets,” but they won’t be looking at the same thing.
As I was going over this salient point in my head, it suddenly occurred to me; how many other products has this happened to? How many others have been subtly ruined one small change at a time, as the travesty of ever increasing mass production marches on, until now they’re completely different to the thing we originally thought they were, and the people who like them are now only liking them for nostalgia’s sake?
For example, I always thought old people were mental for liking toffees and boiled sweets. What the fuck are they even about? Lots of sucking, very little excitement, usually very placidly flavoured. Blah is the word. They’re all blah. If you’re lucky you might loose a filling and have a story to tell the postman when he comes. However, maybe in the days of independent sweet shops, these were fucking spectacular. These sweets could have been the kind of amazing that convinces you to rob your own grandmother and the local orphanage for spare change in order to buy a bag. Maybe they were so good they were the beginnings of teenage delinquentism. Who bloody knows.
What I do know is that my father knew a kid his age who had all his teeth out as a teenager because they had rotted away in his skull from too much sugar overload. I know that sweets were good in my childhood, but not so good that I knew anyone willing to eat so many their frigging adult teeth fell out before their wisdom teeth even had a chance to make an entrance. Maybe sweets of that calibre are now gone forever. Maybe we’re slowly exiting the golden era of chocolate and sweeties. Maybe it’s all down hill from here, folks.
Jesus fucking wept. And by Jesus, I mean me. (Except for my teeth.)