This is the first Sad Girl Taste Test of fall, so it only seemed appropriate to try out the fabled Brach’s Thanksgiving Dinner Candy Corn to kick off the season.
And oh my god, I regret it so much.
Before we get into the details, let’s rewind for a second to talk about what this product even is (besides a PR stunt); back in the summer, it was announced that Brach’s would be releasing candy corn that actually tasted like a full Thanksgiving meal, and obviously the internet reacted with shock, horror and (in my case) twisted glee.
Now, candy corn is already a hugely contentious subject. (Which feels like a ridiculous thing to say during a pandemic in an election year, but also, maybe that’s partially how we got here in the first place.) Some people love it, some people hate it, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of middle ground. (I’m more of a mellowcreme pumpkin guy myself.) The one thing people can (probably) agree on is that Brach’s is like, top dog when it comes to manufacturing this confection.
And its latest monstrosity, the Thanksgiving Dinner fiasco, rolled out seemingly everywhere except New York City, meaning I had the extra-sad task of monitoring availability via the Walgreens website. (I imagine this is available at other retailers besides Walgreens, but I don’t feel like any of those retailers are conveniently near where I live in Brooklyn.) Finally, aka yesterday, I learned that between two and five (turned out to be three) packages were available at the Walgreens across from my apartment, so I went and grabbed one for $2.99. (I also grabbed a v. large package of toilet paper, because I am starting to feel like there will be a second wave supermarket panic, and I’d rather not have to duke it out if and when that happens.)
Alright! Great! We had the goods! Time to taste!
Upon opening the bag, I was hit with a wave of like, maple-y, chemical-y musk. All of the pieces are shaped like your typical candy corn, but come in a variety of different colors to help identify which are which. And the flavors we were allegedly working with included: green beans, roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, ginger glazed carrots, sweet potato pie, stuffing. (Interesting they didn’t go for pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes, but also this whole idea is batshit, so…)
Obviously the cranberry sauce and green beans were the easiest to identify, so I started there. And yeah, they both tasted mildly like what they were supposed to be, if those things had been left in a sugar pit until they eventually fossilized. Mildly off-putting re: the green beans, but not bad.
It would get worse, though. The turkey and stuffing flavors were like…yes, very savory, but again, tasted like they’d been left for a thousand years in a vat of sugar. Like, Thanksgiving leftovers from beyond the grave, you know what I mean? (Probably not since that’s hopefully not a thing, but it’s the only way my brain can think to describe it.)
I thought that would for sure be the worst one, considering candy with hints of meat is not exactly the dream scenario, but I was wrong. The ginger glazed carrots win the award for most off-putting flavor, hands-down. I absolutely can see what they were going for, but somehow it just translated into like, soap? (If you like eating soap, this is the one for you.) I physically recoiled.
The only one I’d willingly eat again is the sweet potato pie flavor, because it had a nice nutmeg-y vibe happening, and also felt like (aside from maybe the cranberry sauce) the least Frankenstein-ish thing in the bag. But also, it’s difficult to distinguish from what I am fairly positive is the turkey flavor, since they’re both the same colors, just inverted. (A goddamn Thanksgiving Russian roulette, no thank you.)
“HOW’D THEY DO IT?!” you might be asking, in which case I’ll tell you I have no fucking idea; the only ingredients listed are sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze (shellac), salt, natural and artificial flavor, gelatin, honey, sesame oil, titanium dioxide, yellow 5, red 40, yellow 6, blue 1, red 3. (I guess it’s mainly to do with the undisclosed natural and artificial flavor situation.)
This is the definition of apocalypse food, and honestly, maybe Brach’s knows something we semi-don’t (I don’t feel too super confident about our continuation as a society, after all), in which case maybe add it to your pandem-election season pantry arsenal. Personally I think you should skip it and go for a couple of cans of chickpeas instead; Mariah Carey broke the news that Thanksgiving is officially canceled this year anyway, and honestly, I agree. (Also it’s genuinely horrible to eat, so please divert your $3 and 110 calories per serving elsewhere. Let’s enjoy real food while we still can.)