James Lileks
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Many years ago, the Jones Soda Co. made Candy Corn Soda. You got three cavities in your back molars just by touching the can. If you had the courage to drink it, your body spontaneously regenerated bygone wisdom teeth so they could get cavities.

I say this as someone who likes candy corn. I mean, if offered, I'll take it, but it's not like I crave it in the off season. Say, maybe if I pour some sugar in this puddle of melted wax in the candle, I can revisit the flavors of October! No.

Candy Corn Soda can't be found around here anymore, but I thought of it instantly when reading news of a new culinary innovation: Butchers in Madison are selling bratwurst embedded with candy corn. Even more noteworthy, they are not facing jail time.

Why did this happen? How did this happen? It brings to mind the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ads. Someone would be walking along, eating chocolate, and someone else would be strolling in a state of heedless bliss, eating peanut butter out of a jar like a savage. They would collide, and the substances would be commingled.

"You got peanut butter in my chocolate!" one would say, astonished, as though some long-standing cultural norm had been violently sundered. "You got chocolate on my peanut butter," the other countered. The shock of the moment passed instantly, and they sampled this new combination, and were delighted. Then they got married.

Or something like that. What's odd is that the Peanut Butter Cup hit the market in 1928 and had generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue at the time the ads ran, so it's unlikely the combination came as a surprise to anyone. I mean, it's not like someone saying, "You got motor oil on my iceberg lettuce."

Anyway, did this happen in the slaughterhouse? Someone was carting some raw sausage, while someone else eating candy corn was approaching from an oblique angle? They collided and exchanged their version of the classic accusations?

I don't think so. The person with the candy corn would have to be moving at an accelerated speed for the candy corn to penetrate the casing of the sausage, and it would have to be positioned so the point was aimed at the meat. In other words, this is no accident. It appears to be a purely intentional act of meat-candy intermingling.

The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how it happened. I started doing some research. Turns out the University of Wisconsin used to have a particle accelerator. It was decommissioned in 2014, but that doesn't mean all the scientists who worked on the machine moved on. They had the skill to operate a highly sophisticated device that fired subatomic particles at great speed; why wouldn't they try something that would put the old machine back in the news?

Perhaps they met in a bar on the outskirts of town one night and got to talking.

"Remember the night when Bob accidentally dropped an M&M in the accelerator and shot it through six feet of steel?"

"Yeah, that was awesome. Didn't even chip the candy coating."

"Well, I've been thinking: What if we back it off a little, and see if we can accelerate candy corn to fire it into a brat? Put Wisconsin back on the map, that would."

"We're already on the map. I was looking at Google today, and there it was."

"No. I mean, get people talking about Wisconsin scientific know-how. Cheesy brats, that's been done. But candy-corn brats, that'll make people sit up and take notice."

"Or throw up and take legal action. But yeah, sounds like a challenge."

And so they labored at night, trial and error. But to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum's character in "Jurassic Park," they were so intent on proving that candy corn could be fused with bratwurst that they didn't think whether it should be. The technical achievement was too seductive.

Now we have to live with the possibility of more varieties of meat-candy, like Jolly Rancher Chicken Breasts or3 Musketeers Veal. Perhaps they will fire Tootsie Pops into a Turducken, creating yet another level of interior complexity. How many bites does it take to get to the middle of a Tootsieducken?

The world may never know, and I think we're all fine with that. Life must have its mysteries.