My mother wasn’t a candy person. (She was a salad person — though in restaurants she told everyone at the table what to order so she could taste the things she’d have preferred to eat if she wasn’t on a perpetual diet.) I can’t remember or even imagine my mother indulging in a Snickers or a Milky Way bar.
The exception to her candy prohibition was Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, which celebrate their 100th anniversary this year. She loved them. I wish I could ask her why, but I can guess: They are diminutive — about a quarter the size of a regular candy bar — so she would have liked that they had a fraction of the calories. And with their filling of molasses-swathed roasted peanuts and the dark chocolate coating, they pack a more assertive flavor and a more satisfyingly chewy texture than more widely available, popular candy bars. (The candy is mainly distributed in Philadelphia and nearby states, though the area is now being increased.)
Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews were introduced by the Goldenberg Candy Company in 1917, as a ration for soldiers in World War I. (The bars were a larger size until 1930.) Founded in 1890 by David Goldenberg, a Romanian immigrant, the Philadelphia-based company was family run until 2003, when it was sold to Just Born, which also makes Peeps, Hot Tamales and Mike and Ikes.
Mom would have hated those products — gummy, colorful sweets were certainly never her thing — but she’d surely have appreciated that her favorite chocolate bar is celebrating an auspicious anniversary. I’m going to track some down and enjoy them in honor of the occasion, and of course in her honor as well.
Liza Schoenfein is food editor at the Forward. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter, @LifeDeathDinnerht