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Monday, September 18, 2017

Spotlight on Starburst

I have to admit that I have very few fond memories from when I was a high school student.  And you really don't need me to explain why as I've been extremely open and candid about it.  I'm at the point now where I have said what I wanted to say about it and am now focused on wanting to find some positives about that time period.

Such as taking tests at school.

Okay, I know what you're saying.  You're saying that I have completely lost the plot.  How can taking tests be considered a highlight of the school year?

Well for me, it all depended on who our teacher was.  Certainly there were some teachers that I hated getting tests by.  In particular one history teacher who had an obvious Napoleon complex who thrived on making life for his non-favourite students pure hell.  Hence the reason I will not be mentioning his name anywhere on this blog.

But if you were lucky enough to have Ms. Renusz as a teacher, you could guarantee that she'd have your back on test day - well, at least when it came to giving you a burst of sugar anyway.

During any of our history or sociology classes whenever we had a test, she would help all of us relax by giving us all candy to eat while we wrote our exam.  You can call it a placebo or you can call it a miracle candy, but I always managed to do extremely well on any test I had with her because of that.  Not so with Mr. Napoleon complex, in which I was lucky to score a 65%.

I suppose in some sense, she was sort of teaching us a bit of a lesson in the sociological manner by giving us candy in hopes that by doing so, we'd score higher on tests.  I don't know if it quite worked out that way, but I suppose she was demonstrating Pavlov's theory because whenever we had a test, we all thought we'd get candy!

Now this leads to today's topic.  It's all about the candy that Ms. Renusz used to give us the most often whenever it was test day.  It's a candy confection that was founded nearly six decades ago and has given boys and girls a guaranteed sugar high ever since.  Believe me, when I was a kid and I used to get these in my trick-or-treat bag, they were among the first candies to disappear.

I'm talking about Starburst Fruit Chews.  And as far back as I can remember, I have always loved them.  They pack so much flavour into them that each bite makes you crave more.  And they are still relatively cheap to purchase too - a standard package of 12 costs about the same as a Snickers bar.

Now, I'm sure that everyone has their own favourite flavour of Starburst.  Myself, I do love all four of the flavours in a standard pack of Starburst.  Though, I do admit that my favourite flavour is the cherry red ones.  I love anything cherry for the most part, but there's something about a cherry Starburst that makes me salivate just like Pavlov's dogs.  They are so amazing and I'm glad that they are a part of the original pack.

But they weren't always.  In fact, Starbursts weren't originally called Starbursts when they first debuted in candy stores!

Back in 1960, when the first Starburst candies were manufactured, they were actually known as Opal Fruits.  The candy was first sold in the UK and named by Peter Pfeffer (who won a contest to name the candy for a prize of five British pounds!)

And would you believe that cherry was NOT one of the original flavours?  The other three (orange, strawberry, and lemon) were present, but instead of the cherry flavour, Opal Fruits contained lime instead.  

(Okay, now I actually want to try a lime Starburst.  As far as I know, that flavour was phased out by the time I was born, as I cannot recall having a lime one.)

The candies were manufactured by the Mars company (responsible for creating Mars, Milky Way, M&M's, and Snickers chocolate confections), and though it took seven years for the fruit chews to arrive in North America, they were finally sold in American shops in 1967 - originally under the brand name of M&M Fruit Chewies.  By 1970, the name was permanently changed to Starburst.

Today, the name Starburst is used all over the world, though the UK and Ireland was using the Opal Fruits name until the late 1990s.  Over the last fifty-seven years, Starburst has experimented with brand new flavours of the popular fruit chew including Sour Flavours, Tropical Flavours, Combo Flavours, and Baja Flavours.  Some of these include raspberry, coconut, mango, passion fruit, banana, and apple, among others.

And don't think that Starburst stops at just fruit chews.  There are Starburst jellybeans, Starburst freeze pops, and even Starburst gummies (which are a weird texture but have exactly the same flavours as the original fruit chews).

Now, if you excuse me, I am going to have some red Starbursts now...but I still would love to try a lime Starburst.

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