Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Slicing the snacks thinly
During my weekly seminars, I gently "assign" a week for each student to bring snack(s!) so that the learning experience is a bit more festive and fattening. Today, one of my students brought Baby Ruth candy bars (halloween size), and it is was my first time eating one. Needless to say, my reaction was: wow, this tastes almost no differently than a Snickers. Various students gasped at the suggestion. One student wrote to me after class the following:
I found your statement that babyruth and snickers were pretty much the same a little on the upsetting side, so i looked it up. I found these definitions online:
Snickers is a candy bar made by Mars, Incorporated. It consists of peanut nougat topped with roasted peanuts and caramel covered with milk chocolate
Baby Ruth is a candy bar that is made of chocolate-covered peanuts, caramel, and nougat, though the nougat found in it is more like fudge than is found in many other American candy bars. The bar was a staple of Chicago-based Curtiss Candy Company for some seven decades. ...
so, i guess you're kind of right...
Notwithstanding this small vindication, I know that this offhand slight to the Baby Ruth fans out there will no doubt generate some form of penalty in the end of the semester teaching evaluations :-)
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Baby Ruth is also remarkable for being an early example of a trademark infringing on the right of publicity. The candy bar was released at the height of Babe Ruth's fame. Ruth sued, and eventually lost on technical grounds unrelated to the merits, but not before Curtiss came up with the implausible defense that the candy bar was *really* named after the daughter of Grover Cleveland, a tale that is now generally accepted as the truth, despite its utter lack of evidence.
That said, I would wager that I could tell the difference between a Snickers and a Baby Ruth ten times out of ten in a blind taste test.
Posted by: Ted Frank | Oct 5, 2010 9:05:33 PM
I grew up where we had both Drakes Cakes (Yodels, Ring Dings) and Hostess (Ho-Hos, Ding Dongs), unlike many parts of the country that (at least 25 years ago) only had one or the other. We all knew that a Yodel was not a Ho-Ho and vice versa.
Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Oct 5, 2010 10:18:55 PM
Thanks, Dan. I'm totally stealing this snack idea--every seminar should be festive and fattening...
Posted by: Chris Lund | Oct 5, 2010 11:02:34 PM
Howard, were there no (original) Whoopie Pies where you grew up?
Posted by: Shag from Brookline | Oct 6, 2010 11:19:15 AM
The ingredients differ significantly -- the kind of nougat differs and Baby Ruth has a higher peanut ratio -- and, as your gasping students no doubt know, the taste and texture is quite different. I would treat your student's note as a strategic concession at best.
P.S. Most wines are identical insofar as they are made from grapes.
Posted by: Ani | Oct 6, 2010 12:42:51 PM
pffffffft . . .
Posted by: Jon Klick | Oct 6, 2010 10:23:15 PM
Jon, that's quite the inscrutable conversation stopper. I should try that at faculty meetings that drone on :-)
I take it, from the comments here and on a related FB thread, that few of the cognoscenti agree re: the similarities between these candy bars. I'll promise to undertake some more data-gathering.
Posted by: Dan Markel | Oct 8, 2010 12:03:40 AM
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