I needed a little sugar in my life today (don’t read into that), so I went to my favorite old-fashioned candy and nut shop – Edward Freeman in Conshohocken, PA.
I usually enjoy browsing seasonal favorites, but the next candy-based holiday isn’t until Halloween (people don’t generally give each other candy for Independence Day, the Feast of the Assumption, or Labor Day). So I visited the gross-out candies. And there it was…Hotlix Scorpion Suckers.
I asked the maybe 20-year-old cashier if the scorpion was in-fact real. She said, “Yes,” and added, “In parts of the world insects are eaten as a regular accepted part of the diet.” I smiled, not because of her seriousness for a novelty candy, but because it was actually cool to see this young-lady-working-as-a-cashier-for-the-summer having a great and accurate world-view (I wish more older people did).
She also pointed out that the ingredient list had the scorpion’s scientific name: Paruroctonus mesaensis.
Rest assured if you are thinking ‘sigh, scorpion again?’ well good news because they also have ‘worm suckers’ and ‘ants suckers’.
Bon Appetit had an article about this product in 2014. Hotlix has an insect farm, and to get the scorpion ready to be eaten they bake it. They also clip off the stingers. ““[The FDA] told us that we didn’t have to,” [the founder Larry] Peterman said. “But we did just so people don’t get them stuck in the roofs of their mouths.”
I had previously bought a scorpion sucker for my middle-school nephew (along with candy cigarettes – wow you’d have thought I bought him the Kamasutra based on grandparent‘s reaction – but I will save that story for a future post). A few months later I asked him if he ever ate the scorpion pop and he said yes at school because all the other kids wanted to watch. I asked if it tasted any good, and he simply said, “Not really.”
Epilogue: I ended up buying myself some spice drops and Necco wafers. Love Necco wafers.