I’ll always remember Saturday afternoons at the Paramount Theater in St. Cloud, MN, going to see movies for a buck. We didn’t care what was showing, as long as it was PG and my folks could drop me and a friend off for the afternoon. Part of the thrill, of course, was that we could eat whatever we wanted: popcorn fried up in (most likely) coconut oil, Twizzlers, Whoppers, and my all-time favorite: Jordan Almonds.
I think it was during the “Towering Inferno” that I really solidified my love for these matinee snacks. Watching Paul Newman and Steve McQueen play tough while I devoured an entire box of these candy-coated nuts is, oddly enough, one of my earliest food memories. (Did I mention I had a minor problem with cavities at a young age?) So when I saw a container of them recently at Nazareth Sweets in Albany Park, my eyes lit up like Cindy Brady on a game show.
Innocently, of course, I imagine a healthy almond beneath that thin sheath of candy coating. When I take a closer look at the ingredient list, I realize why they taste so damn good: not only do sugar and clarified butter play a starring role, but there’s also a combination of cashews, pistachios, walnuts and almonds; not to mention the rose and orange water, plus a small amount of lemon juice. They stick a little bit to your teeth, but not nearly as bad as a Tootsie Roll or a Starburst. Strangely enough, even after all these years, I still can’t have just one.