As the president of the NCCAoA (National Candy Cane Association of America), I feel a public service message is in order. Considering the season, it’s very likely candy canes are being improperly consumed. The following is the only acceptable consumption technique:
1) Broken candy canes are an abomination, and must be discarded immediately. Just because a broken candy cane may retain it’s hook-like shape due to its plastic housing, it is not OK to eat. If it’s cracked, discard it.
2) Using a paring knife, or other non-serrated blade, carefully make a clean cut all the way around the cane, approximately an inch above the end. Be careful not to cut too deeply, but be certain the plastic is entirely severed.
3) Very carefully peel the end bit of plastic off the cane. BE SURE not to peel beyond the cut. If your knife cut was not complete, and the plastic begins to peel above the area — see Addendum 2.
4) Once the candy cane is exposed, feel free to enjoy the pepperminty goodness. If properly done, your candy cane will dissolve evenly, while the still attached plastic forms a moisture barrier, protecting the structural integrity of the remaining candy cane. (See figure 1)
5) Repeat the procedure, working slowly up cane shaft. Be aware that once you approach the hook area, proper consumption becomes difficult. It is acceptable to put the entire “U” shaped portion of the cane in your mouth — but it must not be taken out once placed inside.
If in a public setting, or in any situation that would create an awkward situation by placing the “U” shaped end of the cane into your mouth, it is acceptable to dispose of the end of the cane. In this circumstance, the hook portion is considered the handle for eating the candy, and not candy itself.
If the plastic begins to peel past the cut area, it is occasionally possible to salvage the cane by performing a similar cut further up the cane shaft.