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01 August 2008
Goo Goo Clusters. Colleagues visiting from Nashville for a DHS certification course unleashed a gooey, nutty, chocolatey sweet confection on us unsuspecting Yanks; after much chewing and smacking of lips, the verdict is out: mmmmmm mmmmmm!
hrrmmmm any southern bunnies want to do a candy swap? Although I have no idea (being kind of clueless about american candy anyway) what you might be able to get in NYC that you couldn't get down south.
I get my RC fix at Crif Dogs in the EVil. Also bacon-wrapped deep-fried hotdogs (rarely) and good chili dogs with mustard and onion (more often), plus the counter girls always call me "sweetie" or "sugar," and I'm like, how do they know me so well?
This is really strange. I have never heard the term before arriving in Korea a couple weeks ago. There is an ice cream here called "Goo Goo Cluster" that we have been eating a lot of, and for whatever reason it has also become our code work for discretely talking about humping.
So Dilya tells me at work "tonight I need a big Goo Goo Cluster".
These remind me of Turtles. I wish I liked nuts in sweets. I think I'm missing out. Butter pecan ice cream, Toblerone, pecan pie (I love the goo, but not with nuts), Snickers. I like nuts by themselves, but not mixed with anything. It's a texture thing. The only exceptions are my mom's rugaluch and mandel bread. They're so good, I don't mind the nuts. I'm weird.
I believe Dylan's had goo goo clusters when the Candyfreak guy did a signing; Jon and I went to see him. But I don't see them on Dylan's website now.
Is she getting handed a beer in that picture? Did they used to serve beer at Stuckeys back in the day? That's amazing. When we were kids driving up and down the east coast we'd beg and beg to stop at Stuckeys - and South of the Border, my favorite terrible place - because they had all those billboards and we were so hot and bored. My parents pretty much always refused on the grounds that Stuckeys was tacky: go figure; my dad preferred Howard Johnsons, which he said was clean. When they finally gave in on one trip I had built up this picture in my head of Stuckeys as the Promised Land and I was so disappointed when it turned out to be basically nothing but a dusty store with a gas pump and a dirty bathroom. And the Pecan Log Rolls were nasty and stale.
I didn't get to go to South of the Border until I was all grown up and then it was just as gloriously awful as I always thought it would be.
I love the Goo Goo Cluster, which was a staple of our roadtrip Stuckey's stops. BUt I fall very far short of liking the Pecan Log. Last year I took a road trip with some people from work. We hit a Stuckey's in VA and I insisted that they try some of these confections - talked 'em up good. And I split up a Pecan Log and shared it around. It didn't go over well. One of my sarcastic co-workers pronounced it "Good! So very, very good that I think just that one little piece will continue to satisfy me for the rest of my life!"
The Pecan Log is, unfortunately, one-note. That crystallized corn-syrup center log is too flatly, plainly sweet to be interesting. What makes the Goo Goo cluster good is that it has a mixture of textures, and the flavors include the smooth milk chocolate, a little zap of salt in the caramel, and of course, earthy nuttiness.
I'm sorry your Stuckey's experience was no good, mgl. We loved 'em - but then, when you travel across the American South twice a year in an un-airconditioned 1976 Plymouth Horizon, it seems like heaven. We used to make a very big deal of these stops, counting down the miles as we passed the frequent billboards. We always got a cold coke (with crushed ice!) and often we were allowed to get Yes & Know books, or Silly Putty, or Sarge, Richie Rich, Disney or Archie comics.
I used to adore the rows upon rows of weird cedar knickknacks with the incomprehensible hillbilly humor cartoons printed on them - you know, like little plaques shaped like outhouses or pigs, with fat women in flowered dresses chasing after men with overalls, who were holding big jugs that said "XXX." This stuff made no sense to my young mind, so it was as oddly fascinating as anything else adults get. As I got into my teenage years I started to value it as kitsch, and enjoyed coming back to school in NJ with Texas Size backscratchers, Rattlesnake Eggs, and lots of other Stuckey's souvenirs.
But my love for Stuckey's has gone beyond valuing it for ironic kitsch and into the realm of true, maudlin nostalgia for the gone world it represents. That one we found in VA blew my mind because it was so unchanged from what I remember - only the hillbilly cedar home decor had been replaced with, like, ceramics and figurines from China like you'd find in a dollar store.
Ten years ago, the Stuckeys(es) between Austin and the Louisiana border still had a $.99 breakfast special! Two eggs, toast, meat, coffee, if I remember right. That's pretty special.
weird cedar knickknacks with the incomprehensible hillbilly humor cartoons printed on them - you know, like little plaques shaped like outhouses or pigs, with fat women in flowered dresses chasing after men with overalls, who were holding big jugs that said "XXX."
I had wanted to stop at SOTB too, but I heard from friends who had been there recently that it had crossed the line from funny and wacky to actually skeezy, dirty, unhealthy, and depressing. Of course, you don't know 'til you go, but I keep hearing from people that it's just gotten nasty.
Dear people, it has always been the tackiness vortex of the planet. But it might be a good idea to check it out-it's true that tacky is one thing but skeezy and nasty-well, it would break my heart if it's so, and I would rather remember it fondly.
While old political labels like mugwump and progressive have been reinvented several times, and have shifted in meaning as a result, the term goo-goo still has political currency, and has changed little since it was first used in the late 19th century.