..Jon Simonds..

Food for Thought

It all started with a Heath bar. Have a Heath bar, my co-worker told me, pointing out that I looked depressed. I was depressed. I was downloading the third of my five favorite daily newspapers and I'd had my fill of Osama Bin Laden and the entire al-Qaida Network. Today was my day to read something informative; something having absolutely nothing to do with the entire Afghan campaign.

She hands me the Heath bar and I sit at my desk, staring at the wrapper. What is a Heath bar, anyway? I mean, I've seen them on store shelves before, while searching for something sensible, like a Three Musketeers bar, but I've never actually eaten a Heath bar. Heath just doesn't conjure up the same images as a Three Musketeers bar. So, what in the world possesses a person to name a candy bar, Heath, anyway? I mean, where's the appeal?

Heath bars are made by The Hershey's Corporation and the interesting thing about a Hershey's product is the 1-800 number on each and every Hershey's wrapper. Have questions? Dial 1-800-468-1714. I wondered how many people actually dialed that number and in the next instant, found myself poking digits on my phone. After a series of automated messages, I was urged to visit the Hershey's website where I found the answer to my question.

The Heath bar was originally the creation of the brothers Heath who established a confectionery company in Robinson, IL way back in 1914. They perfected their Heath bar in 1928 until they were purchased by Leaf Confectionery in 1989. Leaf was gobbled up by Hershey's in 1996. All of which satisfied my question as to why anyone would call a candy bar a Heath bar to begin with.

Hershey's has other candies with strange names. For instance, the Jolly Rancher. Jolly Ranchers are a fruit chewy, gummy sort of candy that stick to your teeth and may have paid for my dentist's first yacht. I searched high and low for an explanation of the name Jolly Rancher. I knew a Jolly Roger once, but never a jolly rancher and can't imagine who came up with the name for this one.

And how about those Whoppers? What sort of thinking went into the naming of Whoppers and just who presented their Whopper to the public first? Was it Hershey's or Burger King? Originally Hershey's Whoppers were called Giants, when introduced by the Overland Candy Company back in 1939. Overland was bought out by Leaf in 1947 and leaf reintroduced the malt, milk chocolate balls as Whoppers. Hershey's offers no explanation behind the name and I have been unable to find anyone associated with Leaf.

Another candy that I love to sink my teeth into is Twizzlers; the knotted, twisted licorice candy. Twizzlers are also featured on the Hershey's web site and offers one of the most fascinating facts I have come across in days. Hershey's produces one million miles of Twizzlers a year. Hersheys is quick to point out that if you lined up one million miles of Twizzlers -- without stretching any -- you would have enough Twizzlers to stretch from the earth to the moon and back again, five times.

It does my heart good to know how many miles of Twizzlers we are eating in a single year.

I located other interesting news on the web. I found the answer to a curious question that has plagued me for some time now: Which corporation sells the greatest amount of trucks in a given year? With all the Ford Pick-ups on the roads and Frieghtliner, bumping MAC truck as the most popular tractor, I would have guessed either one or the other as the big leader.

I was surprised to learn that Tonka sells more trucks than anyone. As a matter of fact, the Tonka web page was quick to point out that Tonka has sold so many trucks in the last 50 years, that if you lined them all up, they would stretch from Pawtucket, RI all the way to Los Angeles, CA and back again, eight times. I had to know how many miles this was and so ventured to Mapquest.com where I learned there are 2,958 miles between Pawtucket and LA. If you double the mileage and multiply by eight, you could stretch those trucks out for 47,328 miles, falling far short of the mileage boasted by Hershey's with their Twizzlers candy.

And by the way, did you know that over 10 million bricks of Indiana limestone went into the making of the Empire State Building? I wonder how many bricks make a mile, or; how many Twizzlers make an Empire State Building?

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Heath Bars, Whoppers, Jolly Rancher & Twizzlers are property of The Hershey's Corporation. Three Musketeer Bars are property of the Mars corporation. Tonka Trucks are a product of Hasbro.