I was never into Pop Rocks as a kid. They terrified me. No, I hadn't heard the urban legend that little Mikey from the long-running Life cereal commercial had eaten some with soda and DIED. (He didn't, by the way; his name is actually John Gilchrist, and he's now a 40-something media sales director in NYC.)
I just hated the feeling. The popping and crackling and fizzing was scary and uncomfortable to me. True story: I didn't drink carbonated beverages until I was in my 20s.
Although I still haven't given Pop Rocks another chance, I recently received what I'd call a healthy version of the candy.
32 Effervescent Breath Treatment comes in single-serving packets of sugar-free crystals that act just like Pop Rocks when they hit your tongue. It's weird, and it's audible, but it's also kind of awesome. And that's where the similarities with Pop Rocks ends.
The instructions direct you to swish the crystals around your mouth and use your tongue to rub them against your teeth, which would be a terrible idea with Pop Rocks because CAVITIES. They dissolve or you swallow them, and abracadabra: fresh breath for, like, four hours.
Pretty cool, right? Dr. Thomas P. Connelly, a dentist in NYC--omigosh, we should get him and John Gilchrist together for a high-concept marketing campaign!--formulated 32 to tackle, first and foremost, something called "volatile sulfur compounds," which sounds like the stuff of nightmares but is actually just the stinky offspring of bacteria at the back of your tongue.
Our noses are super-sensitive to sulfur--that's why it's added to odorless gases, to help warn us that we're in trouble--so it's important to get it under control in our mouths if we don't want our coworkers to give us extremely creative nicknames like Hal Itosis.
32 comes in four different flavors: peppermint, spearmint, honey mint, and lemon mint, the last of which you could not get me to touch with a ten-foot pole. That said, I love the spearmint, and I'm totally impressed by how non-stinky my mouth felt for a quite some time.
I'm going to go chase a packet with some seltzer and let you know how it goes.