Good & Plenty Sacrilege!

Good & Fiery

Good & Fiery

I Paid: $1.29 for a 5-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 1 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Try these five ingredients on for size: dextrose, sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, and then—wait for it—modified cornstarch. Those are the main ingredients of the new Good & Fiery expression of the Good & Plenty brand, which has been with us in one form or another since 1893. Now, while it’s not necessarily fair to knock a mass-manufactured line of candy for being made of less than wholesome stuff, it certainly is fair to hold bad flavor against it, and Good & Fiery has that in spades too.

It’s a shame, because the box art is zippy and enticing, featuring a badass black background with flames and a scattering of shiny little rod-bacteria-shaped candies. A helpful legend shows you the four flavors you get in a box: lemon, orange, apple, and cinnamon.

It would be nice to report that each flavor is distinct, finely calibrated, and a delight for the palate, but we all know that this review is heading in a different direction. These things are dag nasty. Each of the four flavors offers its own desecration of its namesake, but they’re all dominated by two themes: a hammer-to-the-face sort of artificial “spicy” flavor that is neither pleasant nor all that spicy, and a sickening syrupy sweetness on the back end. The lemon flavor offers a wispy suggestion of zest, and apple would present an OK artificial-apple flavor if allowed to by the fake spicy note, but that’s not a saving grace for these miserable things. Even their exterior texture is lousy: instantly sticky on your fingertips in cool, dry weather.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.