Mounds Candy Had Its Own Anti-Nazi Navy
We asked readers to tell us their favorite candy. An unusual number of people picked the PayDay bar. It's better than Snickers, claims Jamie J., while Trish L. explains her preference by saying, "I'm not a fan of milk chocolate." Says Marcin M., "A candy bar should have at least *some* useful nutrition and a hunk of peanut brittle is probably about as healthy as it is going to get while hitting that sweet tooth, having protein, and not too much useless sugar and filler."
Obviously, Reese's is popular ("chocolate and peanut butter is the bomb," says Pamela J.), but readers disagree on just which Reese's variety is best. Phil D. picks Reese’s Fast Break, while Adam M. prefers peanut butter eggs. "You will argue that all Reese’s candy is the same," he says. "Your arguments are invalid. The Eggs are the best Reese’s candy." Brandi N. likes Reese's "only because it's one of a very few that doesn't contain gluten."
But if we have to pick a winner based on the boldness of their response, we have to go with Daniel L. "I don't like candy," he told us. And still he gave us an answer: "Maybe once a year I'll eat something, usually Mounds."
You might be surprised that anyone would voluntarily eat Mounds, much less single it out as a favorite. But Mounds is popular, and back in the '40s, it was so popular that the Peter Paul Company wanted to keep making it during the war—even though no one was exporting coconuts to America, what with the situation in the Philippines being a tad complicated. Peter Paul sought to import its own coconuts from the Caribbean, but the situation there was a tad complicated too. So since no one else was willing to ship the nuts, the company had to put together its own fleet.
German subs patrolled the waters between the Caribbean and Florida, which was why most vessels kept away. But the Mounds Fleet (known as the "Flea Fleet," for some forgotten reason probably to do with hygiene) got through unscathed. The schooners were too small for the subs to easily target, and anyway, the Germans didn't consider anyone who stuffs chocolate with coconut a threat.
Having secured relatively safe access in these dangerous waters, Mounds kicked it up a notch. Besides doing their own task of carrying coconuts (which did serve a war purpose as well, as some candy bars went to the Army and the coconut shells were used for gas masks), Mounds surveilled German positions and reported the intel to the US military.
That was Mounds' wartime contribution, as recorded by history. But since many military operations are classified, we have no choice but to assume that they also secretly armed themselves and sent many a Nazi sub to the ocean floor. "Sometimes you feel like a Nazi," the Mounds captain would say, firing a torpedo. "And sometimes," he'd continue, as it detonated below the surface, "you don't."
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Top image: duncan c/Flickr