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Introducing Dan!

|Includes:The Hershey Company (HSY), RMCF

My friend Dan is a math-whiz with lightning recall memory, but his best skill might be writing. An enthusiastic gambler and sports prognosticator, Dan and I will be writing comparing stocks to football teams if we ever get around to it. Sometimes Dan goes on weekend long eating binges and live blogs about it. Here is a portion of his latest:

--I've rediscovered sweets. I've always enjoyed full-pint sessions of Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road, or Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Even the occasional boycott cross-over to the fairy land of Ben & Jerry. But in recent months I've rediscovered cakes, pies and pastries, and in recent weeks it's been candy bars. Since I can't seem to do anything in non-excess, and my office lobby coffee shop sells candy bars at $1.25 each or three for $3, I basically eat zero or three candy bars every weekday. This has created a situation where I feel like somewhat of an authority on the subject as I am eating different candy back to back to back on a regular basis, and I'm able to compare and contrast different candy bars more effectively than the standard single-bar user. We can do a candy bar tournament some other time, but here are individual notes on some of the best candy bars:

Peanut Butter Snickers (a.k.a. proof that there is a God) - holy crap these things are delicious. You know how regular Snickers is top-5 by any measure or almost anyone's opinion? I think the Mars brand just has it's ratios dialed in so toooight when it comes to the Snickers line, that it makes something like the Peanut Butter Snickers work out better than it should on paper. When you add peanut butter flavor to the existing snicker base, it just takes it to a whole other level. I have tried all four Snickers bars in various orders, and Peanut Butter Snickers is hands down better than the original - hard to believe. Original is the clear #2, and the clear Snickers Almonds is a strange situation where even for people who prefer almonds to peanuts in general will probably still prefer the original. It's like you might like mozzarella cheese better than cheddar, but in a broccoli omelet, your going with cheddar ten out of ten times. I would say it is more of an example of the rare appreciation of the peanut rather than any diss on the almond. Each nut has its place in the universe and the peanut's place is on a Snickers bar. Bringing up the rear is the Dark Chocolate Snickers - I don't know if Dark Chocolate and peanuts are just not the natural pairing, but it actually tasted horrible coming off a peanut butter and an original. The chocolate tasted wrong, like a 3-year old Russell Stover semi-spoiled yet edible chocolate or something. Stay away and enjoy your dark chocolate in other settings.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup - obviously incredibly good. Only peanut butter cups and Twix have held their own back -to-back against peanut butter Snickers. End of list - everything else is inferior, even 4th best overall Hersey's bar w/ Almonds. Will save the long explanation for when it probably wins the candy bar tournament.

Twix - Twix is so good that it's the only bar for which I remember the exact circumstances when I had my first one. I had it in the back of a Dodge Grand Caravan during a fall foliage family trip while listening on the AM radio to Roger Clemens pitching in the '88 ALCS for Boston vs. Oakland, who swept them. Anyway, I had a major breakthrough with Twix a few weeks ago, and I have no idea why I'm the first person to figure this out, but Twix tastes BETTER when you eat it upside-down. Seriously. I couldn't believe my taste buds, so I took another regular bite before going upside-down again and it is CONFIRMED. Incredible - there must be some scientific explanation involving the order of the ingredients hitting the taste buds, and the different parts of the tongue responsible for the different sensations, but Twix is a clear top-3 candy bar and a threat for the title when eaten upside down.

Kit Kat - a consistent treat, but they really needed to do something about the packaging/delivery. The breakaway four bars are nice in concept and if you are a five-year old, but they need to either separate the four pieces into their own pouches where you can push them out while holding the outside of the wrapper, or at least have the wrapper rip away conveniently on the edge rather than down the middle. You wind up licking three fingers just breaking the first piece off. I want to eat my Kit Kat no-hands "thermometer style" if you know what I mean - with me? So they did figure all this out, in a way - they created the Kit Kat Crispy bar. It's like a super-sized single Kit Kat "log" with a higher ratio of crunchy part to chocolate, and it's quite good and mess-free. Just not on the level of the aforementioned bars.

As for other sweets, some underrated items that you may have been missing for years at a time, like me:

-A bakery-level cheese danish. As great as Entenmann's/similar is/are for certain items, you just lose touch with what a cheese danish was supposed to be in the first place until you come upon a top-shelf one. I guess they are available at nice breakfast buffets all the time, but you just never think of going the danish route at a buffet - it could prematurely fill you up when you are trying to set state records for pigging out. It's hard to describe exactly what's so special about a cheese danish, but a fruit one could never match it. A close relative of this phenomenon is a properly-airy and properly-iced apple turnover.

-Coconut custard pie, and (more risky) Cocunut cream pie. This used to be a Halloween-Christmas thing. Now it's just the best flavor of pie year-round not named key lime.

-Tiramisu
-Zeppoles
-Warm glazed donuts
-Full-fat blueberry muffins

And if you really want to reach for the heavens...one word:

FLAN.

Stocks: HSY, RMCF