Circus Peanuts

Regarding Cecil’s column about Circus Peanuts and the enjoyment thereof …

I noticed a couple references to “grandma”, and that made me think of one possible reason why some of us honestly enjoy Circus Peanuts. I’d be willing to bet that most of us got our first taste of this fine candy as a child at Grandma’s house. I certainly did. Assuming that visiting Grandma was typically a pleasant treat (for me, it was always a treat when, several times a year, the family would pile into the car for the 90-minute drive up Interstate 5 to visit Grandma and Grandpa).

Probably the first item on the official list of Grandparent Responsibilities is “Spoil the grandkids”. Buying candy is one of the chief methods of said spoiling, and what with fixed incomes and all it shouldn’t be surprising that Grandma would go for the inexpensive candies. After all, to a young kid candy is candy — no need to splurge on the highbrow stuff. As a result, as a child I could always count on finding a selection of inexpensive candies at Grandma’s house, Circus Peanuts chief among them (although those thick, pink, round mints — similar in texture and diameter to Neccos, but maybe four times as thick — were also common and popular).

And so it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that much of the enjoyment of Circus Peanuts comes from their pleasant association with childhood visits to Grandma’s house.

Yes and no. I certainly enjoyed my maternal grandmother, who was the one who had circus peanuts around. But, I don’t think I ever finished one. Maybe I just had a low threshold gag reflex at age 4. :smiley:

But c’mon wheres the etymology come in here? Were these things once cooked up by bearded ladies and sweaty alcoholic clowns back in a boxcar somewhere along the PT Barnum line, like some weird banana flavored methamphetamine only to be sold one greasy bag at a time to unsuspecting children come just to watch the animals poop? Why are they called circus peanuts and not something else like, I don’t know, Martianmellows?

You raise a most interesting point here. While all the websites seem to say that they were invented in the 1800’s, I can’t find anything to support this. Perhaps they were called something else(like maggot-gagging goobers).

I can’t find anything being referred to as a candy called “circus peanuts” before about 1920. And I have some pretty good searching ability. I’d dearly love for someone else to provide an earlier mention. But they certainly were in newspaper ads from that point onward.

Searching the Trademark index, the name wasn’t copyrighted before 1994 by the Spangler Candy Co. saying they had first used the name in commerce in 1950.

Using Google Book search, you can’t find them as early as I have in newspapers.

I’ve always loved circus peanuts and Necco wafers as well. However, I tried those pink mints (the ones that say Canada) for the first time a couple of years ago, and I hated them. I felt guilty about wasting them, though, so I threw one out for every one I ate.

Man, have I ever been doing a lot of reading about circus peanuts tonight. I no longer envy Ol’ Unca Cece. His job duties are enough to snap the mind of a lesser man.

I did find this interesting fact: circus peanuts were the genesis forLucky Charms. Wikipediaconfirms this oddity. So now at least I know that Lucky Charms are the bastard prodigy of Cheerios and circus peanuts. And that the people at General Mills back in the 1960’s actually employed mad scientists.

Never hung out with grandma, but I love circus peanuts, YMMV

Circus peanuts are indeed one of those old tastes that bring back memories. However, in my case, it certainly wasn’t at either of my grandma’s houses that I was first introduced to them. I blame my parenting. :smack:

Oh, and, yeah, I do like them. Wanna fight about it??? :stuck_out_tongue:

Wow. Circus peanuts. Just another little bit of the planet that this Briton was entirely unaware of. I want to try some now.

My grandmothers were partial to spice-flavored (usually cloves) ribbon candy and filberts (hazelnuts) encased in balls of sugar-flavored sugar. I was a fat kid willing to scarf down just about anything, but I could barely, and only in moments of desparation, stomach even small amounts of those.

This tale reminded me of the sour kraut juice story. You are clearly one of the deranged people whom Cecil was referring to in the report. :smiley: And it almost sounds like something I would do, but not with kraut juice. (Where’s the barf smiley?)

The thing that hit me was the throwaway political comment.

The comment still appears to be relevant in 2008. (Equally applicable to either party. Trying for a broad-brush political snark.)

I tried Circus Peanuts for the first time last month. I’m in my thirties. I was in the dark about its history or some people’s attitudes towards them. Since it was marked down drastically in price, it was worth a try in my book.

It was delicious! Loved the banana-like flavor and the sponginess. Gave it to my husband, took a wary nibble and he couldn’t run to the garbage fast enough.

That Lucky Charm connection is interesting. I do enjoy still eating Lucky Charms. Force the oats down first then finish with the bowl-full of marshmallow goodness.

No, you really don’t. You aren’t missing anything. They are probably the most disgusting candy on the planet (next to those peanutbutter toffies in the black and oarnge wrappers sold at Halloween)

PS. Only 35 days till Halloween!

I like circus peanuts. There, I admitted it.

I’m not just saying this to be shocking…it tastes good to me. I like cabbage, and I like fermented products. However, it tastes much better when you drink it out of the jar of sauerkraut rather than out of a can. It’s probably even better when you make the sauerkraut yourself, but I’ve never tried that.

The only problem is that, because it’s so salty, it draws water into your gut and acts as a powerful laxative, so don’t drink too much. I suspect that most people who buy sauerkraut juice do it for the laxative effect.

Not only were they invented in the 1800s, but available evidence seems to indicate that they were also last manufactured in the 1800s. They’ve actually been selling from inventory ever since. Same with “orange slices.”

Those orange and black peanut butter candies are my favorite candy in the entire world. They’re like extra thick creamy peanut butter. Yum!

So, it is, in fact, meant to be drunk, straight?:eek:

:: sidles up next to Yookeroo ::

I do, too. Can’t remember when I first had them, although I’m sure neither of my grandmothers gave them to me. I vaguely remember that they were near the checkout line of the A&P supermarket where my mom shopped, and she would occasionally toss a bag of circus peanuts in the cart as an impulse buy. My sisters didn’t like them, but I did, and still do, as a rare treat (probably haven’t had any in 3+ years).

My Bubby owned a candy store. So I got to try all kinds of sweets. I love Circus Peanuts. I feel the urge to go buy some now.