Saturday, June 2, 2012

Atkinson's Chick-O-Stick, A Texas Treat Since the Great Depression

Chick-O-Stick, a candy produced by the Atkinson Candy Company of Lufkin, Texas, has been manufactured since the Great Depression, and is one of my favorite candies from my childhood (no I didn't grow up in the Great Depression.) It is made primarily from peanut butter, granulated sugar, corn syrup and toasted coconut, with colorings and preservatives added. It is oh, so yummy, and the coconut is my favorite part!
Chick-O-Stick is an orange stick, of varying lengths and thicknesses, dusted with ground coconut. The interior of the stick is honeycombed with peanut butter and the orange hardened syrup/sugar mixture that also forms the shell. When eaten fresh, the candy is dry and brittle, but it has a tendency to draw dampness and become hard and chewy if left uneaten for a long period. Chick-O-Stick is available in .36 ounce, .70 ounce, 1.0 ounce, and 2.0 ounce sizes, as well as bags of individually wrapped bite-sized pieces.
Chick-O-Stick's original wrapper featured a stylized cartoon of a chicken wearing a cowboy hat and a badge in the shape of the Atkinson logo. The chicken is absent from the more recent wrapper, and some consumers have indicated that it contributed to confusion over whether the Chick-O-Stick was candy or a chicken-flavored cracker. Huh? Oh, well. The Atkinson Candy Company's website states that the company's founder "came up with the name one day, and well, it just stuck." The company had once written in correspondence that they felt the Chick-O-Stick "resembled fried chicken" and that contributed to the name. 

I always thought it looked a lot like the chicken feed I used to feed to the hens and roosters on my Aunt Molly and Uncle Ben's farm, and that made sense to me...but that's just me. I ate one today, as a matter of fact, and it still reminds me of chicken feed - not in taste (which is yummy...the Chick-O-Stick, not the chicken feed) but in texture and color. The only negative about having the Chick-O-Stick around is trying to keep my husband from eating all of them.
with revision and additional commentary by Melissa H

Atkinson Candy Company
Lufkin, Texas

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