You've heard of an 'American gigolo'. Well, this is not it. Oh no. This is an American Bag of Goodies. Same thing really - sexy, seductive, full of saccharine and sugar and possibly very bad for your health in the long run. However, there's something ineffably iconic and queerly tempting about the items that can be found in h2g2's American Bag of Goodies. Readers, loosen your belts: here comes the candyman!
Squirt Cheese: Nothing is as impressive as squirt cheese in all three 'flavours'. No words can do justice to the miraculous yet predictable event - synthetic cheese measured out from a pressurized can directly correlated with the pressure one's finger places on the trigger. Imagine spending a rainy afternoon making tiny rosettes on your fingers and palms or making lines of delicate fluting on any surface you wish. Let your conscience, or lack thereof, be your guide.
Cracker Jacks: American adults of a certain age will remember Cracker Jacks coming in wax paper covered boxes, just a bit too big to fit in a man's shirt pocket. Each had a tiny 'unique' prize worth a fraction of a cent wrapped in red and white striped paper. The prize was always such a disappointment in real play value: a ring too small for your finger, a whistle so small you might inhale it, a smeary tattoo and so on. However, the idea you were about to possess something that no one else had ever seen was so compelling that you would eat box after box of sticky popcorn and peanuts just to savour the moment of anticipation when you snatched the prize from the bottom of the box and tore it open.
Bazooka Gum: Bazooka Gum is the standard by which all gum is judged. Each piece comes with a tiny cartoon and a personal fortune written in a fraction of three point type. There is also wallet gum filled with chewy hundred-dollar bills and gum that mimics American lunch meat in appearance if not in fat content. Each of the latter refers to a clumsy and crude double entendre - 'blowing one's lunch' is often done after quaffing mass quantities of pale stale ale.
Hershey Bars: Hershey Bars are included in this entry but only to show how incredibly fortunate you are to have Cadbury machines on every street corner in the UK. The 'Cadbury' bars available in the US are made in Hershey, Pennsylvania and the Cadbury from Hershey is an oxymoron like 'freezer burn' or 'jumbo shrimp'.
Corn Nuts: Some people find these to be so willfully bad that they make anything else you eat with them a treat. Watch your teeth. Corn Nuts do not readily soften when mixed with the usual oral softening agent and they crunch with a vengeance. Perhaps they have more play value than is thought of in this narrow philosophy. Think about it. Get back to us.
Goldfish Sweets: These are a wonderful way to enhance your sodium levels and raise your blood lipids. You can put away a whole school of these before the second commercial break while watching the telly.
Pork Rind: The most heinous culinary crime, right after haggis, is a fried pork rind. Your chances of ingesting this peculiar delicacy on two separate occasions are directly proportional to your consumption of mass quantities of the pale stale ale mentioned above. A pork rind is made from the skin of a pig sliced in 5/64th inch wafers and shovelled into boiling fat. All water and most pig related material is instantly vaporised, puncturing porcine pits in the ozone and aggravating global warming. Make no mistake.
Laffy Taffy: Laffy Taffy is the brainchild of an American dentist who got a 25 pound block of amalgam when he ordered the standard 0.25 pound (4 ounce) size. He immediately began dispensing taffy to all the schools, children's centres and playgrounds within the city. He quickly sold off the 25 pound block of amalgam in partial tooth sizes bits at $42.75 each. He was always seen laughing all the way to the bank. Hence the name Laughing Taffy, subsequently renamed by a Madison Avenue intern from Ohio who had a poetry course the previous semester. It's rumoured that in the UK you have governmental health care - eat this slowly if you enjoy no or unsatisfactory dental benefits.
Cheese-its: The downfall of many an American male. They have all the advantages of junk food with none of the pesky nutritional considerations that weigh so heavily upon the minds of American wives, some of whom are married to cheese-its-scoffing American males. Put simply, they are lightweight perfection; a mystic combination of faux Cheddar cheese, salt, effortless crunch and an orange stain on one's fingers, mouth and clothes. Cheese-its are the perfect accompaniment to any activity except a shower. Note the smiling modern racing warrior on the packet.