When I was a kid, my favorite candy was Crispy M&M's, the classic chocolate candy with a grain of puffed rice embedded in the center. I remember eating chocolate before they were released — cheap stuff like Kit-Kats and Crunch Bars –but it wasn't until the crisps that I truly had my own favorite candy. They were perfect: They didn't melt in your hand; they weren't disgustingly sweet in the way regular M&M's are; you always felt like you were eating a lot of them; and there were so many contrasting textures.
Even physically, they were attractive, in their own every-piece-is-slightly-lumpy-but-different-and-special kind of way.
And then one day, without warning (and, according to popular legend, because they were cannibalizing the sales of regular M&M's), the crispies disappeared from American shelves.
I was heart broken (and upset several years later when the Mars company gave the blue bags to the horrible Pretzel M&M's). But then this year, Crispy M&M's came back.
I don't know how I missed the news late last year, but one day, I wrote a blog post about how French Toast Crunch was coming back, wished the crispies would, Googled it, and saw the press releases. I waited the agonizingly long wait for Mars company to ship the bags to my local 7-Eleven. I bought two bags, and then I ate one. And that's when I realized they weren't that great.
It this point, I will point out that taste testing M&M's is kind of a fruitless endeavor. You can kind of imagine what they taste like from the beginning; there are very rarely any surprises, so I don't know what kind of nirvana I was expecting when I bit into one, but I didn't find it.
Everything I loved about them is still there. They are still loveably misshapen, their crunch is the same, they're still the perfect amount of sweetness, but nothing about them is as good as I remembered. I walked home from the 7-Eleven dejected, carrying a bag of candy that had basically broken my heart.
Last week, Ryan Cady wrote a fine piece on how ridiculous 90s nostalgia is, and now I will reiterate: Not only is the nostalgia kind of silly, but in this case, it subtracts from something that is honestly pretty good. Because while I was walking home, I realized something. I should like Crispy M&M's.
They're sweet, they're crunchy, they're everything a chocolate candy should be. They are, hands down, superior to regular M&M's. If they stay on the shelves for longer than a limited time, they'll start cannibalizing sales again, I'm sure of it. But because I remember these candies so fondly from my childhood, the ones I held in my hand in present day just don't have the same luster.
Like an old romance, the candies were never as amazing as I thought they were.
So, I will be objective about this: Crispy M&M's are better than any other self-contained morsel of cheap chocolate you can get. If you want a $1.79 bag of candy, you should buy these (they're in the green bags now). And if you're some kind of strange person and are in love like me, put those memories out of your head, and just enjoy these at they are.
'Cause hey, they might not be as good as you or I remember, but I totally finished my second bag.