Editor's note: Every weekday in October, the Serious Eats editors and staff will chat about a candy they loved as kids (or love today). Artificial colors encouraged, no organic chocolate allowed.
Did anyone else feel especially proud of themselves for surviving the inferno-mouth that came with Atomic Fireballs? Or maybe you're so tough, these were nothing. Ha, you call that hot? Well, yes. Admittedly, these made me cry circa fifth grade, when all I wanted was to be able to keep this in my mouth until it dissolved, without my face melting off.
Eventually that happened. It took practice; dedication. Now I can pop one, no problem. No water cool-off breaks, even. (Did anyone else dip them in water to dilute the spiciness?)
Back in the day, it was all about who could keep a Fireball in their mouth the longest. It'd roll from cheek to cheek, torching each side with its sweet cinnamony burn. You have to be all right with having a single chipmunk cheek throughout this process.