A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Emergency Candy

Here's a candy I've been eating since I was a kid. As a child, I didn't favor them especially; I was partial to chocolate. But who am I kidding? I ate anything sweet I could get my hands on.

The "Boston Baked Bean" is a generic name used throughout the candy industry for sugar coated peanuts. The Ferrara Pan Candy Company developed their line of Boston Baked Beans in the early 1930's. They're made by rolling peanuts around in a revolving pan with sugar, color, and flavoring until they build up a thin shell. That process is called "cold panning."

My own fond memories of Boston Baked Beans are tied, not to childhood, but to my stint at Intel a few years ago. I worked a punishing 12-hour day, plus another hour for suiting up (and then down again) into a cleanroom "bunny suit" and for passdowns, plus two to three hours for the 65-mile commute each way. I was taking classes as well on my off days, and walking around like a zombie most of the time.

Driving home from work, I'd pull over into the Tigermart on the turnpike for a coffee most days. Usually I'd pick up a box of Boston Baked Beans as well....at $.25 a box, they were the only bargain in the overpriced convenience store. Peanuts plus sugar plus caffeine= enough energy to get home.

Now I only take the Pike to get to Logan Airport, or for an acting gig in Boston or Providence. I still like to stop at the Tigermart. Unfortunately, shortly after I left Intel, Boston Baked Beans left the turnpike rest stops. You know you're getting to be an old-timer when, one by one, the things you're used to start to disappear.

So I was happy to see my old favorites pop up at the local Job Lot. They'e perfect for those Tuesday all-nighters I always seem to pull when my column's coming due. I've been stocking up against the inevitable day when they're gone from that spot, too.

According to Ferrara Pan, they have the capability to make 38,600 pounds of Boston Baked Beans per day. That should keep me, and a lot of others like me, in emergency candy for a long time to come.

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