It's only been a couple of years since I discovered that one of my flavor preferences is considered by a sizable segment of the population to be shunworthy.
There I was, tucking into my annual savoring of the leftover fun-sized Mounds bar I had set aside for myself from the Halloween hoard and cruising social media when I encountered, for the very first time, a wave of hatred for my mainstream candy treat of choice and disdain for those of us who enjoy them.
"Tonight a friend told me her favorite candy bar was Mounds and I told her to walk home because that's by far the worst food opinion I've ever heard," tweeted @WorldofIsaac back in 2020.
Feigning outrage to light up one's replies is a popular Twitter sport, but this slander over a Halloween staple that a) features chocolate, and b) is not a Tootsie Roll-related abomination, was new to me. There are so many other misfit sweets to hate on – candy corn, black licorice, those weird peanuts with the bumpy coating – but a classic Hershey product combining coconut and dark chocolate? Almond Joy's nut-less kin?
Our autumnal War on Mounds is, of course, part of a cyclical pastime.
Candy preference ratioing gets fierce during Spooky Season. Do a Twitter search on Mounds – and be sure to include the term "candy bar" in your search terms or you'll be whacked in the eyeballs with some real NSFW content, which is part of the problem. Anyway, you will find it to be a frequent flyer on Worst Halloween Candy lists, along with being considered "low vibrational," "double-nasty" and, colorfully, "a gift directly from the Devil's a**."
What's more, a portion of very online and, one assumes, many more folks who aren't, believe that enjoying Mounds bars may be a personality flaw.
Comedian Sheng Wang jokes in his latest Netflix special, "Sweet and Juicy," that the fact that "my preferred mainstream candy bar is now Mounds" is indicative of the change going on in his life. "Because we all know . . . that's gross. That's gross, dude."
Like everything else, foods and flavors go in and out of fashion. Our autumnal War on Mounds is, of course, part of a cyclical pastime that involves publicly and playfully declaring an enmity for, say, pumpkin spice, veganism and other people's happiness.
Hating on Mounds, however, strikes me as especially odd owing to the commonness of its ingredients. Never mind that Mounds is among the old guard of confections available in the United States' grocery aisles, having hit its 100th anniversary in 2020 and peaking in popularity in the mid-20th century. The point is, this is a candy that established long ago exactly what you're getting: coconut and chocolate, a combination classic enough to be emulated (and, let's be honest, perfected) by any number of gourmet and artisanal chocolatiers.
If you don't like coconut, and lots of folks don't, then Mounds is not your thing. Fair enough. Nevertheless, there are folks who would walk a mile in hip-high snow for a decent pina colada or cook everything in coconut oil who are also adamantly anti-Mounds.
Even if memes, Twitter, and toilet humor never existed, Mounds would still be the punchline of candy bar monikers.
In some respects, this is easy to get. Smaller candy makers who marry those flavors understand that the major issue Mounds foes have with it has to do with its mouthfeel, which makes or breaks any goodie. Hershey assumes Mounds consumers crave coconut meat at its coarsest and its exfoliating benefits for the digestive tract.
Then again, people passionately stan for many candies that put up a fight with your teeth and tongue the moment they pass the lips. To wit: Snickers is the most popular candy in this country, according to a Statista survey from 2020.
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Unfortunate branding is also, shall we say, a barrier to success. Even if memes, Twitter, and toilet humor never existed, Mounds would still be the punchline of candy bar monikers. Consider that Statista data indicating that Almond Joy, Mound's younger milk chocolate sibling (born in 1946) contains a similar amount of coconut – but with an almond! – and is the seventh most popular candy in the United States. Mounds is . . . not even close.
Its promise is in the name, as Wang points out in his routine: Crucial ingredient, plus a positive emotion. Meanwhile, "Who approved Mounds? . . . Mounds is a good name if your only other option is 'Piles.'"
That doesn't change the fact that, as he confesses, it's still his candy bar of choice – his, and that of around 8.3 million people, give or take, with a healthy valuation of prebiotic fiber's benefits.
These days, one would think more folks would appreciate the reassurance by a candy choice that, indeed, some of us don't feel like a nut. We may have issues, as one writer posits, but that's what it is to be human. Honestly, I'd have more questions for the folks who probably think that the tastiest part of any birthday cake is the candles. Twizzler lovers, I'm talking about you. Explain yourselves.
about seasonal sweets