The first time I ate a 3lb gummy worm, it was a gag gift for my friend’s birthday. Her name is Katherine Leon, and it was supposed to be a surprise.
A few weeks before her big day, we all somehow got to talking about a giant gummy worm—like you do when you’re several beers deep at a bar that sells wings and does trivia nights. The conversation was hypothetical, but once someone uttered the phrase, “big ass gummy worm,” we couldn’t stop talking over one another.
Do they even make one?
Somebody has to make one. It’s 2021. They sell giant gummy worms.
Right, right. Everything exists now.
I found it!
Wow, look at this thing.
Do they sell it by length or weight?
Please don’t say girth.
Like all questionable innovations that would be better off destroyed, big gummy worms are indeed for sale on the internet. The worm was sold by a company called “The Gummy Bear Guy,” which is a big 3lb red flag in itself.
There’s something unsettling about a company that’s just “a guy selling gummy worms.” I’d appreciate a little branding. I feel much more comfortable buying candy from Jelly Belly or Haribo rather than “Dude Selling Worms, Inc.” It didn’t matter, though, because unbeknownst to Katherine, my friend Joe added this sugary and tubular oversized insect to our cart despite its mysteriously anonymous manufacturer.
Katherine’s face as we walked her to her giant worm weeks later was a delightful blend of joy, disgust, and utter disbelief. The phrase “jaw dropping” comes to mind. The scene itself was completely nonsensical: Me, standing there, sharpening a knife, asking, “Do you want an end cut?” A bunch of grown men chanting, “Worm! Worm! Worm!” The worm itself laid out on an expensive John Boos block cutting board. The realization washing over Katherine’s face, “Yeah, I guess we did talk about this two weeks ago, but why would you actually buy it?!” This is what we call in the industry, “a good bit.”
But it was a bad worm. So very, very bad. I believe the flavor was orange and blueberry, but friends, those fruity flavors tasted as though they had been mixed with some toxic residue from a canister of nuclear power plant goo. If I ever get a tumor, doctors will be able to trace it back to that giant worm. The gummy itself was too thick, like a tomahawk steak of gelatinous food coloring, corn syrup, and fake flavor. Nothing, and I mean nothing about its flavor was redeemable. Soon, we stopped eating the gummy worm altogether, and instead took turns swinging it above our heads like a lasso. My friend Joe McAdam (I have seven friends named Joe) took it and swung it against the wall where it made a loud thud sound. Sometimes it fell on the ground, collecting dirt, grass, bugs, and whatever else sticks to big, honkin’ gummy worm. But, eventually, we had to dispose of it the only way one can dispose of a giant 3lb candy worm sold by a company named The Gummy Bear Guy—we set it on fire.
Recently, though, I was sitting at my Sporked desk, eating from my giant bucket of pretzel rods, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that big worm. They can’t all taste that bad, right? There’s got to be a better flavor out there. So, for the second time in my life, I Googled “giant gummy worm” and again browsed the provisions sold by The Gummy Bear Guy. This time, though, I sprung for the sour gummy worm. My thinking was this: The sourness of the worm will cut through the unsettling, thick, gelatinous nature of the worm itself.
My judgment, it brings me great joy to say, was spot on. Your boy just understands food, ya’ll. The sour gummy worm did not disappoint. It was fruity, piquant, lovely, and chewy. Mark Catangui, the Sporked social media manager, commented that it tasted like mochi. Due to the worm’s thickness, it does have a sort of starchy quality to it.
The worm is ribbed, segmented like an actual worm, and thus offers guidelines for you to slice reasonable chunks of gelatinized candy. Once I cut a slice, I placed the filet of gummy on my plate like a chef at a carving station would serve prime rib. It was all very dignified. I am a man of taste, after all. The sharp sourness cut through the density of the worm much like a chimichurri might cut through a ribeye steak. I found the flavors to be much more agreeable than the non-sour worm. I ordered a dual-flavored lime and grape worm, and both flavors hit their sweetly acidic notes quite well. It never felt overly gelatinous and thick. Balanced is the word here.
Overall, I do like the giant gummy worm as a novelty item. It’s just obscenely stupid. The kind of thing you’d buy to have a laugh with your adult friends or to add some excitement to a kid’s birthday party. I think candy is best when it’s fanciful and silly. Bring me awe, wonderment, and invention. This worm checks all the boxes. Plus, there’s an important culinary lesson to be learned from the big gummy worm: When food is rich, it needs bright flavors to cut through that heaviness. Sour powder is the lemon to your fried schnitzel, the lime to your barbacoa taco. Food rules still apply, even when it comes to an oversized gummy worm sold by some dude on the internet.
And worst case scenario, you can still swing it around your head and light it on fire.
(Editor’s note: Please do not light giant gummy worms on fire at the instruction of Danny.)