The Reese’s Egg vs. Pumpkin Challenge

It’s a gorgeous fall day, and we’re eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs leftover from Easter.

I never dreamed these eggs would last this long, stashed in my locker at the Bluffton City Gym.

When I rediscovered them in September, I was tempted to give them as birthday presents. These eggs are the stuff of legend in my family, and it’s not like you can just go out and buy them this time of year.

But Rowan was appalled at the idea that we give “dated” chocolate as gifts, so we decided to do a taste test instead. The concept: Is there any explanation beyond the cheery yellow packaging that makes everyone in our family covet the eggs over all other variations of the standard Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?

The contestants were me, Rowan, my brother Brent, my sister-in-law Darcy, my dad, and all three of my sister Traci’s kids — Madison, Mason and Monroe — who rarely have peanut butter candy of any kind since their mom developed a peanut allergy last year.

Ironically, Traci was the biggest peanut butter egg addict of all before the allergy.

“I wish I could do it,” she said during a run when I proposed the idea. “Maybe if you did the taste test in the emergency room…”

But as it turned out she had to go to work anyway, so we commenced without her. The sampling order: First the cup, then the pumpkin, then the egg.

Our observations:

  • The peanut butter cup filling is noticeably grittier than the two holiday variations, which are much smoother and creamier.
  • The smooth chocolate on both the eggs and pumpkins was also considered a plus, scoring higher on the melt-in-your-mouth scale than the thick ridges on the cup — which also inevitably sheds chocolate “crumbs” that never make it into your mouth at all.
  • The pumpkin, when stripped of its packaging, is not terribly attractive as shaped chocolates go. It’s a pathetic, “Charlie Brown Christmas tree”-looking pumpkin.
  • Though both the egg and the pumpkin proved creamier than the cup, a majority of testers concurred that the egg filling was slightly more delicious.*
  • Finally, as expected, the egg was deemed superior in every category: shape, smoothness, creaminess, taste, texture and packaging.

So what, you may ask, was the point of this exercise?

An attempt to loosen the grip that consumer culture has on us, of course. Just because the candy companies churn out more and more “special” holiday variations doesn’t mean we have to buy them — or eat them.

Traci’s allergy, of course, wiped out this entire species of candy from her life, and those of her kids as well. Brent is in a belt-tightening phase — “I just got to the second notch,” he announced — so he’s not eating much of any kind of sugar these days. Nor is Darcy, who’s watching her blood sugar after being warned she could be in danger of developing diabetes.

My dad rarely eats sugar of any kind — I’m not even sure how he wound up at the tester’s table. (Even more mysterious is why our three younger kids didn’t partake. Guess they were distracted by Brent and Darcy‘s new kitten.)

As for me, I’m thinking I’m going to use this information to “edit” peanut butter pumpkins and Christmas trees out of my life. I don’t need more than one holiday variation on this candy, especially when I prefer one so much more than the others. Better to make this a one-time-of-the-year delicacy.

I might even give up those “inferior” peanut butter cups as well — holding out the possibility that I could always make my own at home, if I got desperate.

*Just about everybody insisted the Reese Eggs were superior to the pumpkins, but their ingredients and nutritional information are exactly the same on the package. Both are 170 calories with 4 grams of protein, 18 carbs, 10 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber, which comes out to 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus or 4 of the old Weight Watchers points.

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