Do you hear it? The Angels are singing. To the soft accompaniment of a harp. I have pinched myself and have determined that I remain on your (and my) side of the fence that divides the living from the not living, so it must be something else. And wouldn’t you guess, it has to do with French Burnt Peanuts.
This Blog first hit the big time in a lament about how my favorite confection had gone away – Brach’s French Burnt Peanuts. The poor Maple Nut Goodies have hung on shelves with no company whatsoever, and must be awfully lonely. Not nowhere near so lonely as those of us who miss their former shelf-mate.
I couple of years ago I revisited the topic with a taste test of some of the substitutes I had found. The results ranged from terrible to average to good but so expensive that I might as well have bought the Brach’s Candy Company myself and started making them again for my own private stash.
So what brings us back? Candy from the hardware store.
I love the idea of buying things that are not hardware from a hardware store. I was first exposed to the wonders of such purchases when old Mr. Baer of Baer Hardware in Fort Wayne extolled the virtues of Ice Cubes which sat in a little box near the cash registered. I remember that they were chocolate and I remember the name, mainly because I remember him saying something like “haven’t you ever tried Ice Cubes?” in his thick, grandfatherly German accent.
My mother once came to visit me in my bachelor days. In her inimitable sense of humor she inquired whether I was purchasing my toilet paper at a hardware store. I was not, but knowing how little I had paid for it at the grocery store, I could understand her point.
The hardware store of today is far from the dark little building where Mr. Baer explained the utility of Vice Grip pliers. Today my hardware store of choice is Menards, a chain out of Wisconsin. I wonder if it is coincidence that it is right next door to a Culvers burger and frozen custard place. Or maybe just a happy coincidence that allows me to go “full Wisconsin” all in one convenient location. Which is OK for this IU fan as long is it does not involve football or basketball.
Menards is a wonderful place, not least because it stocks lots of food. Not just cans of beans and cases of bottled water, but fun stuff. They used to stock a brand of French Burnt Peanuts that were
reasonably tolerably good for the price, but those disappeared and I found other things to sate my sweet tooth. Dots are pretty good, as long as they are fresh. Bit O Honey is in the same category. Well, not really because Mrs. JPC leaves the Dots alone so that I get all of them.
Boston Baked Beans were a distant and highly imperfect substitute, so those were purchased on occasion. And the Dr. Pepper-flavored Twizzlers were always fun. I sometimes wonder why I do not weigh 400 pounds. But I digress.
The other night I stopped at Menards on the way home from the office. I needed a bottle of CLR to do battle with the hard water deposits that are the bane of my central Indiana existence. It is not really a long walk from the front of the store to the back [Bzzzzzt – the author is not telling the truth] OK, it is a little far but . . . snacks.
Suddenly, there they were – one bag in its display. A brand of FBP I had never tried. Ya gotta try, right? I made my purchase, mildly irritated that the clerk put my bag of candy into a bag rather than just giving it to me. She had no idea that it would not leave the parking lot in its closed state.
I opened the brittle plastic wrapper, and . . . as I began this little tale, thus sang the Angels. Perfect color, perfect flavor, perfect crunch, perfect proportion of peanut to candy coating, and not least, a perfect price. OK, I suppose a really perfect price would be free (with free 30 minute delivery) but let’s not get silly. $3.49 for a half-pound and conveniently available at my hardware store of choice is about as perfect as these kinds of things are likely to get.
The good people at LMH Quality Products of Mankato, Minnesota are to be congratulated on their fine product. I wonder if there is a visitor center and tasting room? If there were any other decent brands out there, I could see this as being the finale attraction on a French Burnt Peanut trail. Won’t Mrs. JPC be excited when she hears my idea for our vacation plans for this coming summer!
So, I could probably write more about this but it is hard to type with one hand as I am shoveling hand after hand of the little red nubby morsels into my yap, so perhaps we should just call this good. And yes, I could not turn my attention to taking a picture of the bag until I had finished the all-important tasting evaluation. And Public Service Announcements aren’t supposed to be as long as real blog posts anyway.