Tuesday, December 4, 2012
At Thanksgiving last week someone was talking about these pink mints that old people used to have on hand and just how awful they were. They claimed they tasted like Pepto Bismol and had no useful purpose. I've never had Pepto Bismol so I can't comment on the taste comparison. But on the subject of usefulness, well, I know a thing or two.
I grew up in a house where the bowl of pink mints-- a decorative porcelain number complete with lid-- always sat at the ready just two steps from the breakfast table and adjacent to the phone. That's because I grew up in a house where the Dad smoked, drank, and had ulcers-- kind of the mid-century modern trifecta. After all, what man worth his salt in that era didn't smoke, drink, and have ulcers? In that time before Tums and Prilosec and good eating habits, before the taboos on smoking and drinking irresponsibly, the pink mint (the Canada mint, to be correct) was an early medicinal with multiple indications. For the smoker, it soothed his throat. For the drinker, it masked the odor of alcohol. For the dyspeptic, it helped relieve the heartburn and indigestion.
Ev and I visited our local Spring Grove store last Saturday morning in search of a little toy ornament for his tree. It's a classic old 5 and dime with the candy counter behind glass. As we approached the register-- strategically located adjacent to that multi-bin collection of penny candies-- what should I spy but an entire bin filled with Canada mints, $2.49/lb. I couldn't resist introducing Ev to this wonderful confection that was so much a part of my life growing up. After we got home he popped one in his mouth. Shortly after, as he was spitting it out, I was reminded of another reason we always had them on hand: They have almost no appeal to a candy loving kid.
The risk of a sugar seeking child depleting a supply of Canada mints is slim, at best. Unless, of course, he smokes, drinks, or has indigestion.