Jane Stern at The Paris Review:
There is one tangential remnant of the circus that thrills me to the bone, and that is the low-grade confectionary candy called Circus Peanuts. Circus Peanuts, as far as I can tell, have literally nothing to do with circuses, or even with peanuts. They are usually found on the bottom candy shelf at gas-station convenience marts or at some chain drug stores.
A Circus Peanut is a about two inches long, it is the anemic orange color of the astronauts’ favorite drink, Tang, and it has been machine stamped to vaguely resemble a shelled peanut. The most amazing thing about Circus Peanuts is they are always stale. Not rock-hard but weirdly deflated and tough. It is hard to make a marshmallow go stale. In my kitchen pantry, I have a bag of them that has seen me through four years of holiday yam casseroles, and they are still squishy and fresh. Therefore one can’t blame the problem with Circus Peanuts on the general pillowy constitution of the marshmallow. Maybe even more mysterious then the ubiquitous staleness is that, for no logical reason, Circus Peanuts are banana flavored. Real peanuts are none of these things.
I have a few theories.