January 14, 2011

A Cake of Juicy Fruit & A Stick of Horehound

great pa

There are certain things we remember from childhood that always stay with us as a way to keep the ones we have loved near to our hearts. I have been blessed with many grandparents, all colorful characters who enriched my growing up experience. My “Great Pa” (maternal great-grandfather) was a tall, handsome man known for his patience both in hunting/farming and also in dealing with his feisty red-haired wife.

horehound plant

I have lots of beloved memories about my pa, but one in particular is his dedication to providing all the kids in the family with unlimited candy and gum. He kept a stash of sweets next to his chair and never tired of offering some to every visitor who dropped by. My personal favorite treat was a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, which he called “a cake.” Something he enjoyed which was not my favorite was horehound candy. The horehound plant, pictured above, is similar to mint and was used in olden times for medicinal purposes.


I saw some recently and immediately thought of my pa. True horehound candy is brownish-colored, but sometimes regular old fashioned peppermint sticks are called horehound as well. These days, we are never far from a chance to enjoy some candy, whether in the grocery store check-out lane or from a vending machine. I guess we are a little spoiled in this way, taking it for granted. My grandpa was always happy to share it with us, even though in his days, it was probably a rare occasion to eat a store-bought treat. Are any of you fans of horehound candy? It’s an acquired taste that holds a sweet memory for me.