18 October 2006 The Nastiest Candy

Here is a story. It is a story about a person who made some candy that turned out to be his least successful, most off-putting cooking experiment ever in his whole life! How could this happen, you ask???

Well. One Wednesday evening, Jono came up with what he thought would be a great idea with great results. He took a mug out of the clean dishwasher, placed it on the white Formica counter, and lovingly poured in some sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla extract. Then he stirred it all really really well and put the mug in the microwave. He set the microwave to cook for 2:22 (dit dit dit went the microwave as he pressed the buttons). Jono started the microwave and soon the enchanting fragrance of vanilla was wafting out of it! After a minute, Jono checked the mixture. It had crusted over some and taken on a custardy texture!

"Wow," Jono thought with excitement and just a hint of fear, "I've never seen or tasted anything like this before!"

He put the mug back in the microwave and let it continue cooking. In the meantime, he did some dishes.


The microwave had just told Jono that the candy mixture might be all done, so he brought the mug out (carefully - it was hot!) and poked at its contents with a fork. Now the mixture was more like something halfway between doughnut jelly and cake! But it still wasn't all that candy-like. So Jono set the microwave for 2:22 again and put the mug back in.

After about a minute of cooking, a familiar smell made its debut out of the microwave.

"Mmmm!" thought Jono. "Caramel! Or should I say, pure delight! But that means I should take out the candy before it starts to burn!" Jono was thinking exclusively in exclamations, a sign of just how exciting was this unfolding candy event.

Jono removed the mug from the microwave and poked at the candy thing with a fork. For no longer could what was in the mug easily be called a mixture - it was too hard and cohesive for that - yet at the same time it was too amorphous to be dubbed simply candy. Jono had made a candy thing, and it was like a viscous, extremely high-temperature sponge with a disturbing caramel-lined interior cavity. Jono tried in vain to break a piece of it off with a fork to taste, but it simply deformed. Not even a spoon accomplished the task at hand. Jono temporarily gave up and instead added some chocolate syrup to the candy thing to try to make it taste better. Then he put it in the freezer for a few minutes and, after that, placed an ice cube on top of it in a quixotic attempt to cool it down a little.

After all this, the candy thing, with chocolate syrup covering it and the sugar-glued walls of the mug, looked more than a little turdly, and Jono felt sincerely sorry for the languishing ice cube. But now the candy thing was cool enough that Jono could carefully pry it apart with his teeth! As was his wont, Jono ate the whole candy thing over the course of the next few minutes, not wanting to let it go to waste, but ruing his confectionery experiment with every difficult, saccharine, vanilla-laden, burnt-tasting-yet-still-cornstarchy bite.

Once he had eaten the entire candy thing, Jono took some time to reflect. He resolved to go lighter on the cornstarch and vanilla next time (perhaps egg whites and almond extract would be suitable replacements??). He also took some pictures of the remaining sugar crust and chocolate syrup, which were busy doing an uncanny impersonation of dried, grossly discolored Superglue, so that he could show them to his friends on his blog and help them experience a bit of the same queasiness that he had just endured. They all lived happily ever after???