Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Old Candy Critic Articles - Chocolate Relief

I've decided to take down several old articles from the and re-post them here on the Candy Critic blog.  This week I'm posting an article written by Tedd, a fan of Candy Critic, and man who served overseas in the military.

Late in 1990 I was a Combat Medic in Desert Storm. Sleeping in a tent in the middle of the desert, sand in places I don't even want to mention, dealing with heat that I never thought possible during the day and freezing temperatures at night. Always wondering what that bang was or what that glint of light was coming from across the dunes. Was that a mirage or an enemy truck?

Things weren't all bad while I was there, however. I was with fellow soldiers, we played lots of card games, Nintendo sent us a bunch of Gameboys, Chef Boyardee sent a bunch of their goodness. The company I remember most was Hershey's. Chocolate and the military have had a long and fruitful relationship and Hershey's didn't forget this.

You see, in the United States of America, the production of chocolate proceeded at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. It was in pre-revolutionary New England — 1765 to be exact — that the first chocolate factory was established in this country. During World War II, the U.S. government recognized chocolate’s role in the nourishment and group spirit of the Allied Armed Forces, so much that it allocated valuable shipping space for the importing of cocoa beans. Many soldiers were thankful for the chocolate bars, which gave them the energy to carry on until more food rations could be obtained. Today, the U.S. Army’s "Meals Ready to Eat" contain chocolate bars and chocolate candies, and chocolate has been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. astronauts.

What Hershey's sent to Desert Storm were 144,000 bite-sized chocolate bars, wrapped in nifty desert camouflage wrappings and specially formulated to withstand temperatures of over 100 degrees F. I remember getting up out of my cot one morning and going to the tent we had set up to take care of sick and injured soldiers. There, I saw a box that I originally thought was just another makeshift desk drawer. It had Hershey's printed on it, and when I looked inside, imagine my delight when I saw those mouth-watering, bite-sized packages of choco goodness. I felt like it was Christmas! I immediately dug in and grabbed a few, laid them on the table, unwrapped one, and popped it into my mouth.

What does a chocolate candy bar that doesn't melt in 100 degrees taste like? VERY GOOD! I remember it was a bit harder than other candy bars I have eaten, and it didn't melt in my mouth, but the taste was very close to the Hershey's we all know and love. After coming down off of my chocolate high, I decided to test the heat resistance and stuck a few in my pocket...ok, pockets. Throughout the day and several days thereafter, I and the other soldiers of my unit used them as "chips" for card games - those that we didn't eat before we got them on the card table. In a town nearby they were a treat for the children that lit up their faces like the sun.

Hershey's knows how to support the military and I thank them for their contribution to the Desert Storm conflict. They, and other companies, raised the morale of all the military while away from home and family. It was, and still is, nice to see that the military is appreciated to the point that companies like Hershey's are willing to go that extra step to let our guys and gals know they are appreciated.


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