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Eat Slowly and Enjoy That Candy

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?

Related:
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The Best Candy

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

43 comments

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2:53AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Thank you :)

4:29AM PST on Jan 4, 2013

Did they get an IgNobel Prize?

1:05PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

i love food. good, rich, healthy flavorful food. eating slowly helps a person truly TASTE their food

1:44PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

I savor it at first the loose patience.

11:14AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

I wish I was patient with anything :/...like at all

7:43AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

chronic gobbler! :P I'm not very patient, not even with candy...

6:33AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

thanks

5:07AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

I always savor my candy because it's a treat. NO need to gobble it down. One must learn to enjoy things, right?? Thanks Eric.

11:37PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

gobbler

10:53PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Savor- don't want to break teeth.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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This was very informative. The iced coffee I knew about but not all that. Thank you for this.

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