Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thoughts on Memory Lane
I was eating some candy just now, chewing it up and savoring the sweet and tart flavor, when I began to wonder how my future children would view my everyday sweets. I can already tell that the generation far below me (I'm talking 8 and 9 year olds here) are into gross things that I wouldn't try: sour gel-like candy you squeeze from the tube, purple and green ketchup (ok, not candy, but still! Yuck!) painfully sour hard candies and flavorless sweet lollipops.
It brought my mind back to when I tried a few of the things my own father and grandfather found delicious, and remembered fondly from their own childhoods. For one, my grandfather loved his licorice. Licorice is made from the herb Annice, and after a few tries I found the flavor growing on me. And then there was clove gum, which my dad and grandfather both enjoyed. When I chewed it, I liked the spicy-herbal flavor, but I was baffled as to why it didn't have a "real" flavor: strawberry or cherry. Instead, it was made from herbs, once again. And how could I forget my bout with horehound? My grandfather raved about how delicious it was, but the moment I began to suck on that candy, I wanted to spit it out. Horehound is, again, made from a flowering plant, instead of a sweet fruit like I was used to. In fact, none of what I had tried could have been described as "sweet" which is what I expected from any candy that crossed my lips, unless I decided I was in a "sour" mood.
Of course, the old classic that I don't think will ever phase from generation to generation *fingers crossed!* is Root Beer. It's made from the roots of the sassafras tree, although I'm not so sure they use the real flavoring in more commercial sodas. Still, all of the "old-fashioned" candies and drinks were made from nature; roots and herbs and plants, instead of artificially sweet fruit flavors that my generation enjoys. The older generations had candy made from things that didn't take a lot of steps to make. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if they were out of gum, they probably had cloves handy, or chewed on other things that were readily around and flavored their favored candy. Nowadays, you might want a cherry flavored Popsicle, but eating a real cherry is an entirely different taste experience.
So, will my children make funny faces when I introduce them to Sweet Tarts? Will they complain it's not sweet or sour enough, that it's too powdery or hard? And where will the next generation's taste buds take them, radio-active goo?