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May 13, 2007

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Proposition: Red Vines (and their lesser cousins, Twizzlers) are better when slightly stale.


Posted by john at May 13, 2007 12:55 PM

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Mark | May 13, 2007 01:16 PM

Never had Red Vines, but Twizzlers are best when you bite both ends off and use it as a straw to drink your favorite carbonated beverage.

Dan | May 13, 2007 01:32 PM

Get out of my head. I was just at the store a little while ago, and I actually thought about picking up some Red Vines. You're up to some super-spooky voodoo, man.

Anyway, I prefer them after they've spent a good, long time on my car's dashboard in the sun.

drew | May 13, 2007 01:47 PM

Red Vines are definitely better when they're slightly stale. I've heard the same thing about Peeps but I can't verify that because I don't like them.

Twizzlers suck no matter what you do with them...it seems to be an East Coast/West Coast thing as I don't know many people that like Twizzlers (I'm in San Francisco) and all of my East Coast buddies can't stand Red Vines.

J | May 13, 2007 01:55 PM

Red Vines are just gross. In general. Twizzlers are better in every way. And are far better not stale.

karen | May 13, 2007 02:02 PM

Red Twizzlers are the best and they are better fresh...not stale!

Kate | May 13, 2007 02:24 PM

Red Vines are awesome stale! I don't think I've ever had a fresh package now that you mention it. However, Twizzlers are not good stale.

Did anyone else make bracelets with red vines? Or tie them into knots before eating?

As far as biting both ends off Twizzlers and drinking through them, that was the best.

Sorta like biting off and switching the heads of Gummi Bears.

I swear, I'm not twisted. Not really.

KevinQ | May 13, 2007 02:26 PM

Any proposition which starts by suggesting that Twizzlers are inferior to Red Vines is immediately suspect.


Jeff Hentosz | May 13, 2007 03:08 PM

Drew: Most emphatically, yes — Peeps are best stale.

No opinion on Red Vines/Twizzlers, though I believe Good-n-Plenty and other black licorice is best eaten fresh.

mjb | May 13, 2007 03:34 PM

Stale Red Vines are the best. Twizzlers are comparable in color only....

Melissa | May 13, 2007 04:08 PM

No way!!! They are barely edible fresh. Them being stale makes them too tough to chew.

Steve Buchheit | May 13, 2007 04:19 PM

They can go stale? Huhn, you learn something new everyday.

dave! | May 13, 2007 04:54 PM

Twizzlers outperform red vines in the sting factor if you were to thwack someone with one. This can be especially satisfying if someone is trying to steal a twizzler from you.

Jude | May 13, 2007 05:06 PM

My family are Twizzler fans/Red Vines haters. They taste best when they're fresh. Since I'm a single mom, we each get our own bag/box of anything (The Cheezits slogan, "Get Your Own Box" was invented for us). That way, we never fight over food or treats. Occasionally, I buy three packages of Twizzlers.

TransDutch | May 13, 2007 05:13 PM

I can't comment on Red Vines as I've never tried them. I like Twizzlers. (Red, not Black)

Never have sipped soda through a Twizzler-straw, but now I have to try it.

I can't comment on East Coast v West Coast either, unless we're talking about the coast of the Mississippi, in which case, I'm on the West Coast. So you'd have to tally at least one Twizzler supporter for the West.

Of course, when Baseball only had two divisions per league, our city's ballclub was in the Eastern Division.

TransDutch | May 13, 2007 05:15 PM

Out of a sheer perverse curiousity...

Does Red Vines make black licorice? And if they do, are they still called Red Vines?

Bart Modern | May 13, 2007 05:25 PM

"Better" implies that there is a base state of goodness above which it is possible for Red Vines/Twizzlers to rise, and that is a premise I reject utterly.

I will entertain the notion that Twizzlers may have utility in certain situations -- like, say for example you had to perform an emergency tracheotomy; in the absence of a pen barrel or a drinking straw you could bite the ends off a Twizzler, and use it to keep the airway clear -- but that does not make them good, merely useful.

Chang, for rizzle. | May 13, 2007 06:07 PM

Tiwzzlers. Vines are for loozahs!

Of course, black licorice trumps all of these.

And peeps blow for eternity.

Merrie Haskell | May 13, 2007 06:30 PM

Frankly, I didn't even know they sold non-stale Red Vines.

Apropos of nothing, once a Twizzler went astray in the work-study student candy drawer and didn't come out again for a full year. And when we tried to bend it, it BROKE. SNAPPED. And when we tried to eat it, it was like Magellan's crew eating shoe leather, only not as good.

Chris | May 13, 2007 06:39 PM

As mentioned by others, I was unaware of the existence of non-stale red vines. However, they're at their best when only very slightly stale... too old, and eating them becomes somewhat akin to chewing on rubber. I wouldn't say they're my favorite snackfood, but they certainly last you a long while considering how much they cost. Compared to reeses cups, where you're likely to finish the entire pack within seconds of purchase, vines are a pretty decent value.

claire | May 13, 2007 07:57 PM

First off, I'm an East coaster and I totally dig red vines and only tolerate twizzlers.

Red vines are best fresh (or only very very slightly stale). Too stale and it's like eating plastic.

To be relatively assured that you're getting fresh red vines, you need to buy the plastic tub. I've only seen it in 4 and 5 lb. sized containers, so you need to want a lot of them. If you keep the lid on, they will stay pretty fresh.

Djscman | May 13, 2007 07:58 PM

I have heard that Red Vines, plus Mr. Pibb, equals Crazy Delicious.

But since Red Vines cannot penetrate Twizzler's infrangible monopoly 'round these parts, I cannot prove that equation.

(Twizzler pop straws rule!)

sxKitten | May 13, 2007 09:00 PM

I'm a west-coaster who's never had a Red Vine. I'm also Canadian, which might explain my gustatory shortcomings.

Twizzlers are better fresh, but they last longer if they're stale (although they don't usually last long enough to get stale in our house). They were also the Father's Day gift of choice when I was growing up.

Jeremiah | May 13, 2007 09:02 PM

I like fresh Twizzlers. Don't like Red Vines. Don't like either stale. And I'm east coast, so maybe that's why I'm that way (someone talked about that earlier. Interesting :)

Karen | May 13, 2007 09:04 PM

Wait, there are people who like Red Vines? Eww. No. Yuck.

Twizzlers are good, when the mood strikes me. I've never had them stale though.

Clay | May 13, 2007 09:12 PM

Stale is a little better, in that fresh Twizzlers or Red Vines are ass squared. Staleness gives them some character beyond ass-ness.

Black licorice (slightly stale) is the way to go.

And Peeps are still the Debil.

Wil | May 13, 2007 09:48 PM

Stale -- a certain toothsome texture develops, the stale prolonging and enhancing the explosion of flavor in the mouth. A true palette pleaser.

Mark | May 13, 2007 11:09 PM

@Kate: I've heard tell of folks swapping the heads on gummy bears, but that's madness. You need to bite their heads off right away to stop their screams of terror.

Side note: Anybody on here (besides me) prefer Twizzler's peel-a-parts to their normal stuff?

Daniel B. | May 13, 2007 11:41 PM

Twizzlers are DEFINITELY better when slightly stale. It's all about the texture, not the flavor, and they need that unique rubber quality--fresh ones are mushy, and it's pretty much like eating a gummy bear--too chewy. (Although it's an acquired taste, once used to them that's the only way to have 'em, and they're strangely addictive.)

Here in Florida, red vines are not popular compared to twizzlers, but I did get them once for my kids, along with some Mr. Pibb, after Lazy Sunday was so popular. Definitely not "crazy delicious" IMO. Too big, too sweet. Just...bad.

Another food that's better slightly stale: cheese puffs (not standard, crunchy cheetos, but the puffed variety). AKA cheese curls. Another texture thing.

I guess it's pretty obvious I'm quite the health food nut :)

-Daniel B.

Jaquandor | May 13, 2007 11:59 PM

I can't find Red Vines in my area (Buffalo, NY), so it's Twizzlers by default. I've enjoyed the Twizzler-as-straw thing before, but I don't know if they've made them skinnier in recent years or if they just get squished in the retailing process, but anymore I find that the opening in the middle makes sipping the beverage more akin to sucking it through a swizzle stick than a straw. Is the Red Vines middle cavity larger?

(And since Daniel B. above mentions cheese puffs, let me just get this off my chest: DAMN YOU PLANTERS for discontinuing my beloved cheese balls! OK, I'm done.)

Jeri | May 14, 2007 12:07 AM

I don't usually like any candy unless it contains chocolate, the darker the better, so Twizzler and Red Vines are lost on me. Red Vines are only good for really suspenseful movies, they give me something to chew besides my nails.


Peeps. Which I also don't like much for eating, they're like the anti-chocolate - white, fluffy, oversweet and tasteless rather than dark, dense and intensely flavored. But boy are they fun to heat up in the microwave until they triple in size and almost but not quite explode! :)

Word to the wise: cleaning exploded Peep off your microwave walls isn't much fun.

Dr. Phil | May 14, 2007 12:18 AM

Planter's Cheese Balls -- we had a bowl set out on a low table at an open house once and I saw one of our cats daintily pick one up in her mouth, roll it around, the put it back in the bowl. When I checked, all the cheese balls looked perfect -- and they were all damp. I, uh, changed the bowl rather quickly. We still laugh about Herbie the Wonder Cat and the Cheese Balls.

Peeps are shipped slightly stale. Don't know if they've changed, but usually they've already made the ones for next Easter already, because they need to wait in a warehouse until ready.

Fresh black licorice has quite a bite. Stale black licorice still works up until it's petrified and cannot be chewed. (grin) The red stuff is just candy. Bogus candy.

Dr. Phil

Daniel B. | May 14, 2007 12:29 AM

Upon reflection, what's with this "stale" descripton?

Like good steak, cheese or wine, Twizzler's are best served "aged".

-Daniel B.

Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:53 AM

Some of the comments imply that the posters think that Red Vines / Twizzlers are somehow related to licorice. They aren't. They are essentially hardened corn syrup, with a small amount of coloring and flavoring added. Neither is any good, either fresh or stale, or used to suck vodka through, or in any other way.

Licorice, on the other hand, is quite tasty. Unfortunately, I am quite sentisive to its purgative qualities, and so am limited to small quantities eaten very infrequently.

Shawn Powers | May 14, 2007 06:03 AM

Mark - Yes, I like the pull apart much better too. They seem to have more flavor.

Never seen a "Red Vine", but admittedly, I've never looked.

Clay | May 14, 2007 08:17 AM

"Some of the comments imply that the posters think that Red Vines / Twizzlers are somehow related to licorice. They aren't. They are essentially hardened corn syrup, with a small amount of coloring and flavoring added. Neither is any good, either fresh or stale, or used to suck vodka through, or in any other way."

Based on taste, I would have no belief that black licorice and Twizzlers/Red Vines are related in any meaningful way other than shape. According to the Twizzlers website, until 1977, they were produced by the National Licorice Company. And they do make a purported black licorice product. Red Vines also claims licorice DNA on their site.

I agree with your conluding statement, and I even agree in principle with your initial statement. They bear as much resemblance to licorice as the stagnant water pooling in cattle hoofprints on a ranch east of Eagle Pass, Texas bears a resemblance to the teeth-shatteringly cold water tumbling over rocks in an Appalachian mountain spring.

However, based on fossil evidence, even with the gaps and lack of transitional species, they are the closest living cousins to licorice.

Adam Ziegler | May 14, 2007 08:51 AM

I have to agree with some of the other posters that neither one is really worthwhile. I do enjoy real licorice. Supposedly the makers of Red Vines and Twizzlers do make a black licorice with real licorice extract, but it is still mainly corn syrup.

I get the Panda all-natural stuff in the health food stores. Strong-flavored, but the taste is really amazing and the texture is more interesting. I just wish they had it in string form.

Dane | May 14, 2007 09:41 AM

Sambuca over vanilla ice cream sipped through a biten licorice straw? Anyone else?

Mark | May 14, 2007 10:22 AM

@Dane: *shudder* Can't stand the taste of anise, but a tasty ice cream treat is to drizzle Irish Mist over Breyer's Natural Vanilla Ice Cream (with the bits of real vanilla beans in it). *yum*

Ann Vallier | May 14, 2007 10:46 AM

Red Vines = cherry
Twizzlers = strawberry

Depends what flavor I want. Red Vines are definitely better stale, while Twizzlers are better "fresh". Red Vines are better than Twizzlers to use as straws - Coke, Dr. Pepper, & Mr. Pibb preferred. If you're really in the mood for wacked out "licorice" tastes find some of the Twizzlers chocolate flavored - not too sure about it myself. Still think I prefer the "real" black licorice best of all.

Fondest licorice memories - vacationing at Caliper Lake in Ontario and boating across the lake to the little shore store and stocking up on red & black pipe-shaped licorice candies. Also getting the somewhat-hard black licorice scottie dogs. Ah, for those sugar-rushed days of summer. (sigh)

La Gringa | May 14, 2007 11:39 AM

See, now I have to disagree that Twizzlers are the lesser cousins of Red Vines. Twizzlers are my fake red licorice of choice, sir. :-)

An Eric | May 14, 2007 12:47 PM

The best thing about Red Vines is that Aimee Mann song on Bachelor No. 2. As for Twizzlers, I'm pretty sure they're made from extruded petroleum. That is all I have to contribute to this discussion.

A Rusty Butter Knife | May 14, 2007 01:45 PM

Twizzlers, I assume, are slightly sweetened play-doh, made on an industrial scale with the same machinery that children use to make play-doh pasta or play-doh ground beef.

Red Vines on the other hand are good, and they do get better when slightly stale. Maybe twizzlers do too, but then, you have to ask yourself, "better than what?"

Old Jarhead | May 14, 2007 07:39 PM

No no no...it's GUMMY BEARS that are better stale.

Mark | May 15, 2007 01:42 PM

@Old Jarhead: Only if you're eating lousy/cheap gummy bears. Try some fresh Black Forest gummy bears or if you have a candy shop that makes them fresh near you, get some from them. Good quality gummy bears are best when they're fresh.

Clay | May 15, 2007 03:37 PM

There's a local candy shop that makes gummi bears that my wife swears by.

In a day of ironies, someone brought several large bags of Twizzlers and related products to work.

Ann Vallier | May 15, 2007 04:15 PM

Off comment - there used to be a time when you could find Gummy Mice. Anyone know if they are still making them somewhere? My husband is a great fan of them and it would amuse me no end to get him some more.

John Scalzi | May 15, 2007 04:23 PM

Ann Vallier: This place seems to have them (scroll down the page a bit), although I've never done business with them, so I can't say if they're reliable.

Ann Vallier | May 16, 2007 09:47 AM

Thanks very much. I will have to check it out.

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