A Tribute To the Christmas Nougat

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Halloween has come and gone, just like my sleep the day that Stranger Things 2 dropped on Netflix. In America, certain holidays are celebrated with sugar. Massive, gigantic amounts of sugar in the form of candy.

We start in February with Valentine’s Day. Everybody wants a SWEET-heart, right? The candy industry floods stores with red and pink wrapped treats for the first two months of the calendar year and the only way to swoon your prospective love is with heart-shaped chocolate.

Then…Easter. Holy smokes does that bunny love candy. Cadbury eggs are my guilty pleasure, but each has their own including some weirdos who claim to like Peeps. What color do those stores switch to for the Resurrection of Jesus? Pastels. LOADS of pastels.

There is a general lull in between Easter and Halloween, but because of Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day, the candy aisle generally has a star-spangled look during the summer.

Then…Halloween. The candy holiday of all candy holidays. What’s the color? ORANGE. You don’t like it? TOOOOOO BAD. Halloween will take over half of Wal-Mart each year for months at a time from costumes to pumpkins to candy to anything else you need for a two-hour stretch that kids knock on strangers’ doors for free candy.

Thanksgiving gets a pass on the candy front — it’s mostly a savory holiday with the turkey and dressing. Besides, stores have to prep for CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR’S. I think if the candy companies could get away with it, they’d take the candy they didn’t sell at Halloween, slap a red and green label on it and re-sell it in December. Regardless, Christmas candy has its own special flavor, and one of those is the point of this blog post today.

The Christmas Nougat. 

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Look at it. Isn’t it beautiful?

I love this thing. First off, let’s look at the design. Striped along the outer edges. White and red. Red and white. Immediately it evokes feelings of candy canes, and with good reason. The inner portion is a white field, much like the snowy fields that many picture when they think of winter and the holiday season. Finally, the tree. Just look at that magnificent green little tree. And it would be SO easy for the candy makers to simply make the tree trunk green as well, but if you look closely it is brown, as it ought to be. Is the tree artificial or a real tree? Much like Schrödinger’s Cat, it exists in both states and is a perfect representation of the season for people who get their tree at Hobby Lobby or from nature.

Then, we unwrap the candy.

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Just…wow. 

It comes off clean. Whatever Brach’s has done to the consistency and texture of the candy, if the product is fresh and at the right temperature, it won’t stick. Best of all, it’s ready to eat. Small enough to pop right into your mouth, it goes from being semi-hard to soft thanks to the saliva working through your mouth. The peppermint flavor rushes through and takes you towards Christmas, even if the holiday is two months away. It transforms in your mouth to something not quite akin to chewing gum. Right when you are content, the candy is dissolved and gone. Ready for another one.

Eventually the bag is gone, and then the holiday season as well. On to Valentine’s Day and another year away from the Christmas Nougat. I’ll love you while you’re here, and miss you when you’re gone.

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FREE BOOKS!!

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Halloween is turning out to be a treat for book-lovers. There are four books I know of that are free over the next few days which are normally not — perfect time to go pick them up.

ImageFirst off, go get Peter Cawdron’s Little Green Men. Seriously. Do it now.

I reviewed it already a few months ago and it will be well worth your time. Cawdron drew his inspiration from the Philip K. Dick stories we all grew up on and achieved his goal tremendously. A classic sci-fi tale written in modern times. LGM is free today through Nov. 3.

Next is Blood Moon by Carol Davis.

I also reviewed Blood Moon a few weeks ago and did a short interview with author Carol Davis. Carol is fairly new to the self-publishing scene on Amazon, but not new to writing. Carol has got some serious writing chops and Blood Moon shows it. A good werewolf story told in a new way. Blood Moon will be free on Halloween day.

ImageAlso free right now is Eric Tozzi’s The Scout.

This is the only one out of the bunch I haven’t yet had a chance to sink my teeth into, but boy does it look good. Very highly recommended by friends of mine, Tozzi’s book tells the story of an alien scout that was sent to survey the earth. Tozzi’s background lends itself perfectly to his first written work. From his Amazon author page: “For over five years I worked for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a documentary producer and editor, covering Mars Exploration.” I know I’ll be reading this as soon as I get a chance.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nighthawks at the Mission by Forbes West.

This book can probably best be summed up in this review by Michael Bunker. “Nighthawks at the Mission is an epic, fantasy, sci-fi, tour-de-force. It is also a slightly demented, scatter-brained, fragmented, meme-dropping, allusion-riddled, drug-addled, Jack Kerouac-like, stream-of-consciousness mind thumping that dares you to “get it.”

Also right now, I’m offering my own sci-fi horror short story Ant Apocalypse free today and tomorrow.

The set-up is simple — a man in a house with ants. What happens when those ants become more than what the man expects? If you download it and read it, I’d love for you to leave me a review on Amazon for it.

Anyway — that’s what I’ve got for now. Go get some great reading material!!