I’m not sure when or how Poppycock became a festive family tradition in my household, but it’s been a staple for as long as I can remember. Every Christmas, there’s usually at least a tin of it kicking around, usually purchased with a combination of delight and shame. In a season full of hollow calories, it’s a prime example of just how much nutritional sanity goes by the wayside for the month of December. And yet it keeps finding a way into my grocery cart, year after year.
As Poppycock may not be all that well known outside of Canada and the U.S., here’s a quick rundown. The tin describes it as “Clusters of cashews and popcorn covered in our amazing glaze.” (Amazing glaze / how sweet the sound / that crunches on my teeth … ) The package also notes that it’s made with real butter and brown sugar, and has no artificial colours of flavours. And it’s gluten-free if you’re a celiac or just misguidedly hate wheat.
As the description accurately states, Poppycock is popcorn drenched in a buttery, crunchy, hard caramel glaze. It’s sweet and creamy, and the texture is perfect: it gives a satisfying crunch when you bite into it, but it also doesn’t get all gummed up in your teeth like other caramel might. The pieces of popcorn glom together in hardened clusters, which also bind to the nuts that are mixed in with the popcorn. It doesn’t stick to your fingers as you eat it, either — but please do wash your hands before typing. It’s great finger food. If you’re a fan of the caramel popcorn in Chicago mix, this is like a higher-end version of that.
Cashews rule everything around me
While regular Poppycock is made with pecans, the cashew variety is, my opinion, the superior of the two. It’s downright swimming in cashews, some of which stick to the hardened caramel coating, and some of which precipitate out into the bottom of the tin. Either way, if you’re a fan of cashews — a “cashew lover,” if you will — it’s a delight. Cashews aren’t cheap, so it’s good to see a nice helping in the mix.
In the spirit of collaboration, my daughter was also eager to share her thoughts about this holiday treat in exchange for several handfuls of the stuff. In her own words: “It is very good but you eat it slowly and savour it. It has a very good, unique taste, and it is also very crunchy. If I could change it, I would add less caramel.” (Thanks, M!)
Seasonal greetings, friends
Allow me to take this moment to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season, wherever you’re visiting from. It delights me to no end that people from all over the world regularly visit NEAROF, and if you can spread a bit of good cheer back in your home community, by all means please do. It’s been a rough couple of years for a lot of people, so now is a great time up the joy level wherever you can.
Price: $6.99 for a 300-gram cardboard tin at Safeway in Edmonton.
Value for Money: Fine.
Availability: Widespread in supermarkets, well-stocked pharmacies, etc., during the holiday season.
Calories: 240 kcal per 50 grams. So, that maths to 1,440 calories per tin. The saturated fat and sugar numbers are also pretty damned high. So maybe share it and have it over a few days?
Verdict: Regular Poppycock is fine, but the cashew variety is wonderful. It’s a crunchy and satisfying seasonal indulgence, but go easy because holy calories, festive Batman.