Growing up there was a commercial in constant rotation for Tootsie Pops, those Tootsie Roll-filled confections. This animated ad that ran like a children’s parable was an investigation into the fleeting human (and animal) ability toward patience and maintaining a steady and sensible enjoyment of something indulgent. See vintage commercial above.
My takeaway from this was that people (and their anthropomorphic stand-ins) were unable to employ a level of moderation when eating something as delicious as candy. Therefore we are all doomed to never truly know how many licks it would possibly take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Ah, human folly.
Now comes word from the journal Physics Education, under an article titled, “Sticky physics of joy: On the dissolution of spherical candies,” that certain spherical candies can take up to a half-hour to dissolve providing you don’t bite into them. Austrian researchers in Graz set out to discover and address “serious questions on the optimal strategy of enjoying a candy, like whether it is wise to split the candy by breaking it with the teeth or not.” In some ways, the study was seen as a way to calculate the most efficient way to gain the most enjoyment from a single piece of candy. What researchers found was that the spherical candy they were using in their experiment (a German confection) took a bit more than 25 minutes to dissolve in a bowl of tap water. What they found was the candy would melt at a steady rate over time rather than accelerating as the dissolving process progresses. If one is careful not to bite or vigorously suck, such a candy can last for up to 25 minutes, which is significantly longer than the 25 seconds it takes most to crunch it down to a fleeting memory of sweetness.
While researchers, with science on their side, came to the conclusion that a single candy could easily dispense 25 minutes of enjoyment, they were somewhat philosophical in their findings:
“Even though we now know how candies dissolve over time, we stress that the best thing to do when eating a candy is to forget about these considerations, since they draw your attention away from what candies are made for: enjoyment.”
What is your approach to candy? Are you a gobbler, or one who savors?