Posted by: ktzefr | December 17, 2015

Goo Goo Clusters for Christmas

googoo

On this rainy afternoon…a good book, a pot of tea, a box of Goo Goo Clusters.

The Goo Goo Clusters arrived this week by UPS. One dozen palm-sized mounds of yummy caramel, creamy marshmallow nougat, and fresh roasted peanuts all heavily drenched in a thick coating of real milk chocolate deliciousness. I’ve been keeping the Clusters a secret, having one a day with tea.

When I was growing up in Kentucky I ate Hershey bars and Milky Way, Clark and Baby Ruth and Three Musketeers. My parents ran a small country store with a glass showcase full of penny candy and a selection of chocolate bars. Most days, on the school bus home, I had chocolate on my mind. It was a treat at the end of the day, a reward for having to sit still and listen all those hours when I really wanted to run around and talk. But we never sold Goo Goo Clusters and I don’t recall seeing them in other stores in our town.

The first time I ate a Goo Goo Cluster I was working for an international organization in Washington, DC.  A Palestinian friend, who had been visiting a sister in Atlanta, brought back these amazing chocolates. Apparently, Southerners who pull up roots and move to other places have been known to miss these sweet treats as much as they miss, say, their great aunt Edna. My friend was pleased, thinking she was bringing me a taste of home. I didn’t let on that I wasn’t familiar with the Goo Goos. Instead, I took a bite and immediately discovered what I’d been missing.

These sweet, nutty sensations have a long history. They were first created in 1912 in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company in Nashville, Tennessee. This was the first time a candy bar consisted of more than just one ingredient, and they were hand dipped, sold without wrappers, and displayed in glass showcases. Today, Standard Candy in Nashville produces 20,000 Goo Goo Clusters an hour!

The recipe, according to the Goo Goo Cluster site, was a joint undertaking by Mr. Howell Campbell, Sr. and Mr. Porter Moore, the original plant supervisor back in 1912. Mr. Campbell did the blending and tasting and eventually named the candy after his newborn son’s first “words” – which happen to be the first “words” of most babies. Folks identified with the sweet treat right away. And they still do.  Goo Goos can be ordered online year around.

So…after ordering the Goo Goos and enjoying them with tea the past few days and thinking how lucky I was that they have a site online to shop, I discovered that the candy is also sold a LOT of places. When I typed in my zip code the map on the screen burst into those little red upside down teardrops to note locations. No fewer than 25! Of course, the Goo Goo people can’t guarantee that every one of these stores will have them on the shelves, but they do order the candy. I could have hopped in the car and driven less than 10 minutes and picked up a Cluster any time.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing to know.

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