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A&E >  Food

Mars Bar One Heck Of A Candy Bar

Ken Hoffman King Features Syndicate

This week I reached out for a Mars Bar, the sadly overlooked and underpublicized hero of the billion-dollar Mars candy dynasty.

Here’s the blueprint: milk chocolate, nougat, almonds, corn syrup, sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, skim milk, butter, lactose, salt, egg whites, soy protein and vanillin.

Total calories: 240. Fat grams: 13.

With all the excitement surrounding Pathfinder’s landing on our next-door planet, you’d think the Mars candy company would have revved its publicity machine up to warp speed.

What better connection? Mars the planet and Mars the candy bar!

But the candy company was caught blindsided by Mars mania. No tacky publicity stunts, no dumb TV commercials, no nothing.

It’s not like the Mars company doesn’t do advertising. It’s practically gone nuts for plain M&Ms. But seriously, who cares about a blue M&M when everybody’s talking about the Red Planet!

If I ran the Mars candy company, there would have been a logo of a chocolate bar on the NASA rocket ship. I would have bought sponsorship of the whole Mars expedition. All the photos from outer space would have chocolate smudges on them.

I’d have Ray Walston, with those “My Favorite Martian” antennas popping out of his dome, doing candy-bar commercials. If Walston wouldn’t do the spots, I’d hire those green, gruesome creatures from the movie “Mars Attacks!” to do them.

And considering how “Mars Attacks!” flopped at the box office, the Martians would come a heck of a lot cheaper than Walston.

I’d buy time on national television and answer the question that has perplexed civilization since Adam and Eve: What is nougat?

Well, my fellow earthlings, nougat is a fluffy mixture of whipped egg whites and sugar (or corn syrup). Nougat was invented by the ancient Romans, only they used honey to sweeten the pot. Since honey never spoils, nougat was the favorite takeout food of soldiers going off to battle.

Mars Bars have been a candy counter favorite since 1932. They were personally invented by the founder of the company, Franklin Mars himself.

Somehow the Mars Bar became Franklin’s long-lost, unloved stepson. Today, the company seems far more interested in pushing its other candy treats, like Milky Ways, Snickers, Three Musketeers, Skittles and Twix. In fact, the last dime spent on Mars Bar advertising was back in 1992.

Which is a total shame, since the Mars Bar is a heck of a candy bar. I think it’s the best thing the company makes. It’s packed with almonds, an upscale nut, and is covered in rich, dark chocolate.

Compare this to a Milky Way or Three Musketeers, which have no nuts, and Snickers, which boasts the lowly peanut.

Mars Bars fill you up big time. They’re heavy-duty, like an O’Henry or Baby Ruth bar. The sticky caramel tugs at your teeth. The chewy nougat lodges in your cavities. The crunchy nuts clog up your kid’s braces.

Hey, forget Ray Walston for the TV commercial. Get my dentist, instead. He has more to gain from the Pathfinder mission than NASA does.

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