Will Dylan Eat It: Dollar Tree Candy, Part 1

White trash visits the candy aisle.

ASS-tronaut food, maybe.
Ass-tronaut food, maybe.

If you’re inclined to check out your local Dollar Tree store (and who doesn’t enjoy the occasional round of observing white trash in their natural environment?), you simply must take the time to browse the candy aisle. Among the expired bags of Pop Rocks and Brach’s hard candies, you’ll find the sort of oddball treats you just can’t find anywhere else. Like, say, cotton candy sealed up in a Mylar bag like some kind of twisted astronaut food. Or, if that doesn’t strike your fancy, try the following horrific things, each a carnival of terror for your tongue. You don’t buy this shit because you like it – you buy it to inflict it on your friends. So, inflict it we shall…let the torture begin!

Candy from another world...or just from Dollar Tree. Same thing.

Nathan’s Famous Gummi Hot Dogs

Not famous. And not good.
Not famous. And not good.

Apparently, Nathan’s is a reputably famous hot dog place from Atlantic City or someplace like that with boardwalks and Tilt-A-Whirls and casinos and all that good stuff that makes people from New Jersey feel a little less depressed about living in the world’s asshole. The aforementioned Nathan and/or his heirs will apparently also whore out the establishment’s good name, attaching it to all manner of food-like substances sold in convenience stores across the nation, from potato chips to pretzels. Sadly, unlike their larger meat-filled brethren, these hot dog-shaped gummy bits are not so famous and not so good.

The stench from the bag was like opening the door on a closet filled with gummy bear blood, ripe and fruity and full of the scent of failure…er, gelatin.

Umm, guys...my jaws ache.
Umm, guys…my jaws ache.

On tasting the psuedo-wiener, it was like biting into an old rubber tire vaguely flavored like some kind of fruit. Don’t ask me what kind of fruit. Maybe that weird alien pear thing that Anakin levitates in Attack of the Clones. It was definitely a fruit not of this Earth, a fruity frankfurter come down from the stars to terrorize us. Or maybe just confuse the hell out of us. You don’t expect something shaped like a hot dog to taste like fruit, even weird alien fruit.

The so-called gummy hot dog was so tough and rubbery that you couldn’t really bite it so much as just cram the whole thing into your mouth and hope you could mangle it into submission with your molars before your jaw muscles gave out from exhaustion.

Chuck E. Cheese’s Gummi Pizza

Upchuck your cheese.
Upchuck your cheese.

Note that, like the so-called hot dogs above, “gummi” is spelled with an “i”, probably due to some obscure trademark nonsense that no one really cares about except the lawyers. In this case, the fake food was in wedges shaped vaguely like slices of pizza, with blotches of red and green that looked like someone threw up on them.

These turned out to be another rubbery exercise in prolonged mastication, though nowhere near as bad as the so-called hot dogs. They had less of the hard and stale feel, and were marginally softer. What would make a semi-reputable establishment like Chuck E. Cheese affiliate their name with something like this?

Looks like vomit.
A wedge of cheese with vomit on it.

Really, the weird alien fruit flavor wasn’t any worse than the Nathan’s hot dogs, but it wasn’t any better, either. It’s that kind of vaguely familiar taste that comes from what the packaging claims are “natural” flavors, which are natural in the same way Pamela Anderson’s breasts are natural. Come to think of it, these gummy things are probably made from the same material as Pam Anderson’s boobies.

Probably the most disturbing thing about these gummy and marshmallow psuedo-foods is that you would expect them to taste like the things they’re modeled after (despite the fact that they make no claims of “authentic flavor” or the like on the package). As the Maitre d’ noted:

You’re expecting Bertie Bott’s beans, and all you really get is a vague fruit flavor. For that reason, I have yet to figure out what kid would beg his parent for these candies. Perhaps that’s why they’re at the Dollar Tree.

Somewhere, I imagine some kid begged his mom to buy him some Chuck E. Cheese candy. Then there was much crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth afterwards. After a few years of therapy, he might be able to set foot in a novelty pizza place again.

Also, back in my day, it weren’t called “Chuck E. Cheese.” Nosirree. We called it “Showbiz Pizza,” and its mascot wasn’t a rat, it was some big ol’ bear thing that wore suspenders. I don’t reckon they still have ’em, but we were scared of them got-dang unholy animatronics. Them things moved all by theirselves, and I tell ye that ain’t natural.

As you can see, the experience of eating these gummy monstrosities has taken its toll on the Maitre d’s sanity. Exposure to Cthulhu himself might possibly strip someone of Sanity Points slower than these things. Of course, none of us were exactly rational to begin with, or we wouldn’t be eating marshmallow and gummy things shaped like real food.

Next Time: Mallow Fries and Mallow Burgers!

About The Chef

The Chef was born 856 years ago on a small planet orbiting a star in the Argolis cluster. It was prophesied that the arrival of a child with a birthmark shaped like a tentacle would herald the planet's destruction. When the future Chef was born with just such a birthmark, panic ensued (this would not be the last time the Chef inspired such emotion). The child, tentacle and all, was loaded into a rocket-powered garbage scow and launched into space. Unfortunately, the rocket's exhaust ignited one of the spectators' flatulence, resulting in a massive explosion that detonated the planet's core, destroying the world and killing everyone on it.

The Chef.
Your host, hero to millions, the Chef.
Oblivious, the dumpster containing the infant Chef sped on. It crashed on a small blue world due to a freakish loophole in the laws of nature that virtually guarantees any object shot randomly into space will always land on Earth. The garbage scow remained buried in the icy wastes of the frozen north until the Chef awoke in 1901. Unfortunately, a passing Norwegian sailor accidentally drove a boat through his head, causing him to go back to sleep for another 23 years.

When the would-be Chef awoke from his torpor, he looked around at the new world he found himself on. His first words were, “Hey, this place sucks." Disguising himself as one of the planet's dominant species of semi-domesticated ape, the being who would become known as the Chef wandered the Earth until he ended up in its most disreputable slum - Paris, France.

Taking a job as a can-can dancer, the young Chef made a living that way until one day one of the cooks at a local bistro fell ill with food poisoning (oh, bitter irony). In a desperate move, the bistro's owner rushed into one of the local dance halls, searching for a replacement. He grabbed the ugliest can-can dancer he could find, and found himself instead with an enterprising (if strange) young man who now decided, based on this random encounter, to only answer to the name “Chef".

His success as a French chef was immediate (but considering that this is a country where frogs and snails are considered delicacies, this may or may not be a significant achievement). Not only was the Chef's food delicious, it also kept down the local homeless population. He rose to the heights of stardom in French cuisine, and started a holy war against the United Kingdom to end the reign of terror British food had inflicted on its citizens.

When the Crimean War broke out around France, the Chef assisted Nikola Tesla and Galileo in perfecting the scanning electron microscope, which was crucial in driving back the oncoming Communist hordes. It would later be said that without the Chef, the war would have been lost. He was personally awarded a Purple Heart by the King of France.

After that, the Chef traveled to America, home of such dubious culinary delights as McDonald's Quarter Pounder With Cheese. He immediately adopted the Third World nation as his new home, seeing it as his job to protect and enlighten it. When the Vietnam War began, he immediately volunteered and served in the Army of the Potomac under Robert E. Lee and General Patton. During the war, the Chef killed dozens of Nazis, most of them with his bare hands.

Marching home from war across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, stark-naked and freezing, the Chef wound up on the shores of Mexico. He spent several years there, drinking tequila with Pancho Villa and James Dean. He put his culinary skills to the test when he invented the 5,000-calorie Breakfast Chili Burrito With Orange Sauce (which is today still a favorite in some parts of Sonora).

Eventually, the Chef returned to his adopted home of America, where he met a slimy, well-coiffed weasel who was starting up a new kind of buffet - one dedicated to providing the highest-quality unmentionable appetizers to the online community. The Chef dedicated himself to spreading the word of his famous Lard Sandwich (two large patties of fried lard, in between two slices of toasted buttered lard, with bacon and cheese), as well as occasionally writing about his opinions on less-important topics than food.

Every word of this is true, if only in the sense that every word of this exists in the English language.