Why Have I Never Tried: Whatchamacallit?

[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Ed. Note: When's the last time you tried a new candy—just because? For the SE staff, that time is now. Each day for the two weeks leading up to Halloween, we will try a candy we haven't had before, and tell the tale.

I was a little bit nervous as I peeled back the outer wrapping on my Whatchamacallit bar. Not just because it was uncharted territory, but because there's something about its packaging, its muted earth-tone color scheme, that just screams "1978!" Yes, candy bar scholars will recognize that as the year Watchamacallit hit the shelves, but I don't mean 1978 as in the year the line started, I mean 1978 in the Yo-I've-been-sitting-on-this-shelf-since-1978 sorta way.

In retrospect, this probably has a lot to do with why I never tried it as a young child. Not that I could have recognized 1978—I wasn't watching That '70s Show yet (obviously my only viable point of sociohistorical reference)—but rather that my eyes simply passed over the package, unseeing it as they went, much as they "unsaw" pretty much anyone not born in the mid-'80s.

Well all I can say is, lesson learned! Looks can be deceiving! Don't judge a book by its cover! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! (And other such sentiments.)

20131022-whatchamacallit-innards2.jpg

Inside, Watchamacallit houses what can ONLY be described as a shattered constellation of peanut butter shards and crisp rice puffs, drifting on an oozing river of caramel in a delicate chocolate embrace. Or, I guess you could follow Hershey's lead and say, "Made with chocolate, peanut-flavored crisps, and caramel." But where's the fun in that? Oh wait, here's the fun:

'80s Whatchamacallit commercial. [Video: Youtube]

Chewy, chocolatey, crunchy, crunchy is right! What you'll find is a nice, crisp texture that takes the melt-in-your-mouth route rather than the glom-onto-your-teeth experience that Tracie encountered in her Crunchie bar. It's just Rice Cripsyish enough to give good crunch; just Butterfingery enough to deliver that flaky, faintly peanut butter-tinged nutty, salty-sweetness; just caramel-y enough to reassure you that it's not healthy. And yeah, it's coated in that weird Hershey's fake-chocolate chocolate, which I maybe shouldn't like, but totally love.

Basically, it's perfect.

About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a recent graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into oysters, offal, and most edible things. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatandcry.

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