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Easter’s Sweet Memories

Everyone has his or her favorite. Mine are the yellow ones.

They are usually lemon flavored unless you purchase those that mimic other candies. I really don’t care for the black ones because they turn your teeth black, making it look as though you just ate a bag of potting soil.

I’m talking about jelly beans, of course. It used to be you could predict the flavor of each of these candies based on their colors. But as in many things in life, you can’t judge something simply by the color of their candy shell.

I don’t know why candy makers feel it necessary to mess with the plain old jelly beans. Now when you dip your hand into a candy dish full of these things at grandma’s house, you can’t be sure just what you might be getting. There are some that are sweet and others that are guaranteed to make you pucker up.

Then there are exotic flavors that include buttered popcorn, cantaloupe, bubble gum and even coffee. Now that’s plain weird. And it’s not just jelly beans. None of the Easter candies I grew up with are safe from change.

Remember when you could only buy Peeps at Easter? The famous marshmallow Peeps also have been targeted for major changes. They still come in just about every color under the rainbow, however you now can enjoy them year-round. They make pumpkin and ghost shapes at Halloween in addition to the Easter chicks and bunnies. That’s not so bad, but fruit punch Peeps, pumpkin spice Peeps or sour watermelon Peeps aren’t on my dessert list.

Other Easter basket favorites have seen changes as well. Who doesn’t like finding a bag of M&Ms in their basket? The makers of these melt-in-your-mouth, not-in-your-hand chocolate-filled candies have felt it necessary to inject the candy shells with additional varieties of peanut butter, fudge and caramel fillings. You better read the package carefully before you throw a bag of these in your shopping cart. You might end up with those caramel infused ones by mistake. By the way, they are delicious.

My mother was the queen of Easter basket making. It could be that her devout love of candy was one of the reasons our cup runneth over with sweets on Easter morning. And somehow she remembered those of us who preferred milk chocolate and those who liked white or dark chocolate when it came to purchasing solid chocolate rabbits.

As we grew up and left the nest, Mom still made one large Easter basket that sat on the round, oak table in the dining room. All her favorites — and some of ours – were piled high in that basket for all to enjoy when visiting on Easter day. My favorite malted milk eggs were tossed in with solid, foil wrapped chocolate eggs. She then included those soft, chewy marshmallow-type candies, accompanied by peanut butter, maple- and coconut-filled eggs. And there were plenty of the traditional jelly beans.

That community basket would be picked clean by day’s end. Mom knew you were never too old to enjoy the sweetness that comes with the glorious celebration of Easter.

Enjoy yours!

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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