Book and Snack Pairing: Jelly Beans

My plan for this Book and Snack Pairing post series is to taste snacks (two new and one old favorite) and pair them with romances (two recent first time reads and one old favorite). The romances reflect my reading habits, so they tend contemporary, and are a mix of pairings. I am marking the ones with no sex with ***.

(As a general heads up, this post discusses food in detail.)

Of course, with any tasting project, we all bring our own specificity to it. In my case, some relevant things for this post:

  • I’m autistic, so texture and mouthfeel are very important to me, and I am super sensitized sensorily due to autistic burnout, so intense flavors are likely more intense and often overwhelming for me.
  • I’m diabetic, so one of the things that influences my choice and experience of snacks is how they impact my blood sugar.

This post is focused on jelly beans!

New-to-Me Snack #1

purple rain jelly beans

Why did I pick this snack?

I admit part of the appeal of Brach’s Purple Rain was the name, as Purple Rain was one of my favorite albums when I was young. I also liked the idea of a small pouch of jelly beans, easy to toss in my backpack.

The taste experience?

They smell mostly of grape but come in four flavors: Berry, Blueberry, Blue Raspberry and Grape. They definitely have a Brach’s jelly bean texture, with a softer thinner outer shell. The flavors mix well together. Grape is my least favorite, because of it’s odd aftertaste. I liked the blue raspberry flavor the best. These definitely raise my blood sugar rather quickly.

Verdict?

These are good, a unique mix I would not have come up with. I do like the small pouch, quite a bit. They aren’t for every day, but I would get these again.

What book would I pair it with?

Keeping the Cookies by Briana LawrenceKeeping the Cookies by Brianna Lawrence!

This Christmas m/m romance novelette between a mall elf and the janitor at the mall was wacky, hilarious, unique and really wonderful. I fell hard for the MC. Plus, it has an awesome BFF and a fat love interest who I completely adored.

(Rep: Black gay MC. Fat Black gay love interest. Black gay secondary character. Black woman author.)

New-to-Me Snack #2

brachs reds jelly bird eggs

Why did I pick this snack?

The red flavors are some of my faves, so Brachs All Reds Jelly Bird Eggs seemed like the perfect choice. Plus, since I tried their Purple Rain, this was a good comparison I thought.

The taste experience?

The scent is mostly cherry. The flavors are Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry and Watermelon. They have the Brachs jelly bean texture, thin coating and mostly chewy inside. The watermelon is easy to identify, but the other three flavors aren’t as distinctively different as I expected. The dark red which I think might be the Cherry has a very cough syrupy after taste and was my least favorite. The Watermelon was my fave, though I liked the one with pink specks as well; I think that one was supposed to be Raspberry. It turns out that I prefer the classic Brachs over this selection. These definitely raise my blood sugar rather quickly.

Verdict?

I liked the taste of most of these, and they have a nice chewiness, but they mostly tasted kind of the same. No surprises here.

What book would I pair it with?

Letters from Cupid by Ari McKayLetters from Cupid by Ari McKay!

I enjoyed this cute, light, fluffy contemporary m/m epistolary romance novelette between two English professors, with a secret admirer plotline. One even recites poetry to the other! It hits the spot if you’re wanting Valentine’s Day themed romance tropiness without any surprises, a good comfort read.

(Rep: Gay MCs.)

Old Fave Snack

starburst original jellybeans
Why did I pick this snack?

I love jelly beans and Starburst Original jelly beans have been a fave since I tried them a few months ago on a friend’s suggestion.

The taste experience?

They smell mostly like sugar with a bit of that Starburst scent. They come in 6 flavors: Cherry, Grape, Green Apple, Lemon, Orange, and Strawberry. (I like the last three flavors the best.) They taste almost exactly like Starburst candy, it’s kind of uncanny. They have that great jelly bean texture I love. Jelly beans are one of those things where they will raise my blood sugar almost instantly, about the same as drinking juice, so I need to be sparing and careful when I eat them.

Verdict?

These are great. I like traditional jelly bean flavors, and will always have a spot in my heart for Jelly Belly’s but the brightness of these flavors are wonderful and the texture is just perfect.

What book would I pair it with?

afternoon delightAfternoon Delight by Anne Calhoun!

I adore this contemporary m/f erotic romance novella centering a paramedic and a food truck chef. Among other things, it’s a gorgeous love letter to NYC, and a hugely satisfying foodie romance. It’s also got a central grief arc that I thought was really lovely, and explores the idea of slowing down and savoring life. This is one of my faves by an author I really enjoy, and I return to it periodically.

 

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