Meine Damen und Herrn, let me tell you a story.
Twenty-one years ago, on a rainy night in March, a new holiday was born: Worm Day. After making his way through a parking lot littered with the corpses of earthworms, Dr. Lee Perry declared the day Worm Day. The labor and delivery unit of a Beaver County hospital first celebrated Worm Day with a cake decorated with gummy worms. The have since festivities spread, and people now celebrate Worm Day all over the world.
Sheila, Dr. Perry’s daughter and one of my best friends, introduced me to Worm Day. I believe I was in the seventh grade. I have eaten worm-themed desserts on March 15th ever since. The other custom for Worm Day is to send a Worm fax or email (like a Christmas card). This year, I am writing this post to Worm Day in lieu of a fax or email. One usually celebrates Worm Day at work or school, and since I don’t work on Worm Day this year, I am celebrating with all of you, dear readers, here on my blog, aka my other “job.”
Since Worm Day celebrates humble gummy worm, I am also dedicating this post to the gummy. When writing about Germany, it is impossible not to write about gummy candy. As far as I’m concerned, gummy candy is as much a sign of German ingenuity as the diesel engine or the movable-type printing press. What’s that, you say? Gummy candy? German? Indeed. Haribo, the innovators who came up with gummy technology, is a German company. Even the name Haribo comes from the name of the founder and his home city: Hans Riegel Bonn. Wahnsinn! I can assure you that the gummies are prominent in this country and are one of my favorite features. There are more variations than you can imagine, but my favorites still come in bear form.
I love Haribo, but I’ve also taken a recent liking to the Katje’s brand. My current favorite are the salted licorice herrings. It sounds gross, but it’s oh-so-good. Bonus: Katje’s makes products with veggie-friendly ingredients, so vegetarians and vegans alike can get in on this sweet, salty gummy action.
Finally, if you ever have the chance to visit Germany, see if your town has a store called Bären-Treff. This magnificent business is dedicated entirely to all things gummy. The internet store is also worth perusing. They always do seasonal items, but my personal choice would be the 11 cm. giant gummy bear. (Insert Homer Simpson open-mouthed drooling groan sound here.) Here are some gummies of note:
Worm Day has everything I look forward to in a holiday. It’s fun, food- and friend-centered, and might be “utter nonsense.” Perhaps this was the Carneval of my youth.