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Tanya Tandoc

Nifty Nut House

I was one of those kids whose craving for candy was so intense that I would search not only my own couch cushions for loose change to buy it, but the couches of waiting rooms, neighbors’ houses, and church as well.

As soon as I had 25 cents (which could buy you a whole candy bar in 1976), I would pedal down the block to the gas station to pick out something sweet. I was always partial to chocolate, but novelty candy or new, weird candy could edge out a Hershey’s with almonds any day. My affair with Pop Rocks nearly burned all my taste buds off one summer. Lucky for me, they grew back. I could make a package of M&M’s last all afternoon, eating them slowly one by one as I read a book, or letting them warm up my sweaty little hand so when I crunched into the sweat-salty shell the insides would be melted.

I lost my wild lust for candy as I grew up. I’m no longer interested in anything but chocolate, really, although a gummy sour thing can interest me for a while. My focus turned to salty, spicy, crunchy things as I got older. Sesame crunch sticks, CornNuts, pistachios, tamari almonds…those are what I want now. I replaced my sweet tooth with a salt tooth.

Lucky for me and you, we have a fantastic candy and crunchy PALACE in Wichita. The Nifty Nut House is a giant warehouse filled to the ceiling with every kind of candy, nut, crunchy-salty snack, chocolate, and dried fruit that you can imagine. Everyone working there is efficient and friendly and will let you sample a taste before you buy. Antique gumball machines are the only décor, because every shelf and bin and tub is filled with treats. I tried Grand Marnier flavored chocolate covered pecans there the other day. They were way better than a handful of sweaty, melted M&M’s.