Friday, October 31, 2008

E Pluribus Nougat

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Happy Halloween, everybody. It's a great holiday, candy's nice, everything's fine, blah blah blah, but it's all still not perfect. And I demand perfection from the world.

Since when has nougat been plural?

My wife and I have several bags of candy in the house for trick-or-treaters, mostly leaning toward the miniaturized-chocolate-bar variety. By that, I mean, there are several kinds of Halloween candy: your chalky stuff (SweeTarts), hard stuff (Dum Dum lollipops, butterscotches, hard candies in clear plastic wrappers), chocolate stuff (any bar in the ironically named "fun size"), and stuff that's just meant to be used as space-filler so you can make the expensive candy last the whole night (candy corns, gum, Tootsie Rolls). We mostly leaned toward the chocolate stuff, because in case no kids come by, I'd rather be stuck with a bag of mini Kit-Kats instead of a bag of Starburst.

When we opened a bag of candy to dish it out, I noticed something advertised on the wrapper of the Reese's Fast Break bars: "SOFT NOUGATS."

Nougats? With an S? Hang on. My entire life, it's been just "nougat," singular -- it is supposed to be plural now? Like how "data" used to be plural for "datum" and now "data" is a weird singular-plural hybrid?

Someone's trying to pull something over on me. On us. On the whole nougat-eating world.

Frankly I couldn't even tell you what the fuck nougat is. It's gooey and beige, right? Made with some sort of sugar? Tastes good? But so then the stuff inside a Three Musketeers, for instance, would be just "nougat." But if you remove the chocolate from the bar (you let the chocolate bar sit in your mouth for a few hours until it all melts off, let's say), what you're left with is a bar of nougat. Not nougats. Surely not. When you pour a glass of milk, you're pouring milk -- not putting a whole bunch of milks in a glass.

Hold on -- if there's an answer to a stupid pop culture question, the answer has to be in Wikipedia.

OK, I'm back, and my suspicion was correct -- nougat is "is a term used to describe a variety of similar confectioneries made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts are common, but not peanuts) and sometimes chopped candied fruit." Fruit? There's fruit nougat? I'm going to have to research this later, but let's move on for now.

"There are two basic kinds of nougat: white and brown. White nougat is made with beaten egg whites and is soft, whereas brown nougat (called nougatine in French) is made with caramelized sugar and has a firmer, often crunchy texture."

So maybe the answer is that both varieties of nougat are contained in the Reese's Fast Break. Possible, I suppose. But perhaps not. Check this description of the Fast Break out on Hershey's Website:

"Creamy REESE'S peanut butter and nougat covered in delicious milk chocolate."

See? Nougat. Singular nougat. Not a bunch of nougats. That's just bizarre.

Hershey's: If you're out there, send me a correction. I want to know which nougat conjugation is correct. I'm a copy editor, you know. We're persnickety bastards. And send me some more Fast Breaks. I need to dissect a few (orally) for research into Nougat-gate 2008.


Kenneth Dunning USN(Ret) said...

I have lamented over the same issue for 30 minutes now. (I had my first Fast Break at lunch).

If I find ananswer, I shall Return!

Kenneth said...


An Answer from Hershey follows:
Thank you for contacting The Hershey Company.

[The] Core of REESE'S peanut butter between two layers of soft nougat (a bottom layer of peanut butter nougat and a top layer of chocolate nougat) all surrounded with milk chocolate.

We appreciate your loyalty as a consumer.

Natalie Smyth
Consumer Representative
---end response------------

That Fixes that.

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