I love those rare moments that give me a chance to reach back into the stored recesses of memories from my own childhood, dust one off, breathe some life back into it by sharing it with our boys – knowing the whole time we are doing this, we are also co-creating a new memory to store in their memory bank.
Yet, I’ve found that because the boys are entwined in a screen-based world, so different from my childhood, those points of commonality are few and far between. One of those extraordinary moments came when the boys, out of curiosity, asked me “How many licks does it take to get to the center of the Tootsie Roll Pop?”
The Tootsie Roll Pop. Immediately my mind flooded with memories of trying to find that elusive number when I was a kid. Pure hard candy on the outside, chewy candy on the inside – just daring you to get that hard outer shell gooey enough so that you could, with just one crunch, bite and shatter that outer shell.
That put you into the final, and nirvana stage, of Tootsie Roll Pop consumption – when the bits and pieces of hard candy start sticking to the tootsie roll pop, and your taste buds are blissfully under the influence of the combination of chewy and hard tack combined.
The Tootsie Roll Pop is one of those rare elements from my childhood that remains unchanged today – even my Grandma and I share the same memories — The Tootsie Roll has remained unchanged, same recipe, since 1896. Think about that.
More importantly, I had the answer my boys were looking for. When I was 9 years old, I caught a foul ball while I was standing along the fence beside third base during my dad’s softball game. The baseball park handed out nickels to any kid that brought the baseball back to the concession stand.
That night, I decided I would use my nickel to find out if Mr. Owl was right when he said, (Remember him, from that commercial?) that it took 3 licks. I soon learned that Mr. Owl was wrong – after 3 licks, the hard candy shell is NOT soft enough to crunch into easily. It actually takes about 9 licks to soften up that shell enough so you can bite into it and make it crumble.
The boys did not like my answer. So, when BlogHer asked me to write this review, we bought two bags of Tootsie Roll Pops. At only 60 calories per fat-free pop, it’s the perfect guilt-free treat, so why not keep working until we have the answer?
Yet distraction was our biggest culprit. Who can resist taking a bite just when that hard candy shell gets soft enough to break? This is a work in progress for us. Since 1970, Tootsie Roll Industries has received thousands of letters from children around the world who believe they have solved the mystery behind how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
Not only does Tootsie respond to every letter, but they send out the “The Clean Stick Award,” certificate to each person who mails in a response to the question of how many licks it takes.
Can I just add here – some interesting facts I learned while researching this posts – things you should know and share with your kids: Because of its non-perishable qualities and resistance to harsh weather conditions, and are produced in a facility that does not use peanuts, tree nuts, eggs or gluten, Tootsie Roll Pops have been an integral part of U.S. military rations. And even today, the company is a strong supporter of the U.S. Military soldiers and their families.
Now, it’s your turn to pick up a bag or two of Tootsie Roll Pops, and tell your kids about the first time you tried to guess how many licks it takes. Right now Tootsie Roll is hosting a video contest to discover how many licks it does take.
You can learn more about the contest, including the specifics of the prizes and the grand prize!, at the Tootsie Roll or Tootsie Pop Facebook page. Check it out an enter your video for a chance to win! The contest is happening from October 1st at 2:00 a.m. PT until October 25th at 11:30 p.m. PT.
Please leave a comment below to let me know how it went at your house. How has more willpower – you or the kids?