The Evolved Eater

From a bagful of candy to Marine Corps grub, a food entrepreneur finds his inspiration.

Read the full story by Nick Taranto ’06, published by Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

One Halloween, when I was 8, I went trick-or-treating with a giant Hefty garbage bag. When I got home that night, the bag was packed with hundreds of pieces of candy.

Of course, at the time, I had no idea that candy was riskily altered food, full of empty calories and processed chemicals I couldn’t pronounce. All I knew was I wanted to eat it, and nobody was going to come between my pudgy little fingers and my candy.

You can imagine my surprise when my mom said, “Nick, you can keep 10 pieces, and you can put 10 more in the freezer, but you have to either throw away the rest or give it to other kids.”

This was totally unacceptable. “I don’t want to give it away,” I said. “I want to eat it.”

“You can’t eat it.”

“Fine.”

What my mom didn’t know was that by toeing a hard line on the Halloween candy, she was instilling in me my first entrepreneurial aspirations. No way was I going to throw that candy away. If she wouldn’t let me eat it, I was going to sell it.