Monday, March 14, 2016


I think I know what made my parents so tough, or maybe they were so tough they could suck on these gems (allegedly sweet, but that's an outright lie):

Mother always carried around a little container of Sen-Sens in her purse. They are touted as breath fresheners--not even 7th cousins once removed from a breath mint.  I added that second part. They were deceiving little buggers because they looked like little pieces of black licorice which I like. (Nik and I specifically like this time of year because of the availability of black jelly beans. The beauty is that nobody else around here likes them, so THEY ARE ALL OURS, YEAH!)

The given Sen-Sen ingredients listed are: licorice, gum arabic, maltodextrin, sugar, natural and artificial flavors.  Maltodextrin is listed as a type of fairly-tasteless glucose.  Gum Arabic doesn't sound like the culprit, so I'm guessing it's in the "artificial" flavors, the ones that taste like asphalt.

Sen-Sens came in a little cardboard box that had another little cardbox inside of it. You slid the inner box out (like a match box), revealing a little hole.  Once you shook the box, a Sen-Sen or two popped out. Wouldn't want any of those falling out on the asphalt. They later came in individual rip-open packets and were finally discontinued.  I won't grieve about that. No matter how many times Mother shared them with me, they never got one whit better. Bye bye, Sen-Sens.

Speaking of asphalt-tasting candies, Dad used to suck on  horehound "candy". I’d rather lick an all-day sucker made out of road than a horehound lozenge. It comes with a "distinct bittersweet taste". The flavor truly is distinct; I'll give them that. Being rolled in sugar only makes them worse somehow. Cracker Barrel still carries horehound candy. My guess is that's how they test the toughness of some of their customers.  There are actually online recipes for making your own horehound candy but I won't include a link.

Dad used to keep a stash of all kinds of candy, rewards after a long day's work.  By his couch he had a little container of white peppermint candies, then later pink ones like these:
Now those I really liked.  He later had to give them up after he developed an allergy to them.  As far as I know, he never gave up Altoids.