Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Book Judged By Its Cover Yields A Good Story, Occasionally

All my life I have had what I like to call a "sensitive constitution." It makes me sound more lady like, which is comical if you know me. When I moved to LA, I was moved to look into my constitution and see if I had inherited something truly wrong with me from my founding forefather and mother. Thanks to a series of stupid tests, I now have an enormous health care bill and a serious distrust for doctors. But one good thing that came out of that experience was learning how to self-medicate in a more homeopathic manner.

For centuries people have used mint and ginger to calm the stomach. I've always been a huge mint fan, with Baskin Robbins Mint Chip and Double Rainbow Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Creams ranking at the very top of my mint tower of affection. These served more to calm my psyche than my stomach, but knowing is half the battle. Back in the day, we had Tic Tacs, and those gross mint lifesavers whose only saving grace is that they spark when you chew them, a fact that spread like wildfire through overnight camps during the 80's.

I remember when my Mom brought home her first tin of Altoids. I suspect she got them at Cost Plus, a place that I revered as a child. Where else could you find all the cool candy from worlds then unknown? Botan Rice Candy with the wrappers that melted in your mouth. Swedish Fish that could be bought in mixed colors or just the red ones, a genius marketing decision in my book. And Haribo Gummi Bears that got even better as they became stale, another fantastic feature. My Mom loved Altoids instantly, but she was always a sucker for mints. She used to get the white Tic Tacs, which started off sweet and then burst into extra minty goodness in your mouth. But nothing prepared us for the shock of our first Altoids. They hurt! This was not something that I desired from my mint. So it's a good thing that I wasn't leading their marketing campaign.

It seems to me that Altoids started the mint craze. Tic Tacs and Life Savers and Breath Savers had all been around too long to have started it. And those Altoids tins were so popular. I braved my way through an entire tin just to have the keepsake at the end. More people must have felt like my Mom did about them. Nobody wanted to take bad breath lying down, well, especially not lying down, but that's another story entirely. So the mint craze hit and Altoids became a household word. And the mints arrived, in tins by the thousands. It seemed like every day there was another brand of mint boasting its unique minty flavor and breath-defying capabilities. I was pleased, for sure, since sucking on a mint is a good way to calm my stomach. Now we have different mint flavors: Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintermint, Cinnamint, Licoricemint, Gingermint.... That last one intrigued me. Combine ginger and mint, two of the most important natural stomach settling agents into one? I'm in.

There aren't many Gingermints out there. Altoids makes tins of Ginger Altoids, but sans mint. I suspect I'd have good luck in many of the Asian markets in LA or SF, but I need to enlist some of my Asian friends to join me and serve as translators if necessary. So you can imagine my excitement when I happened upon this gorgeous tin at Surfas the other day.



Surfas is a wholesale cookware and food warehouse for people in the food industry. They allow us mortals in as well. I could live there. Anyway, to be truly honest, I bought this tin for its retro coolness more than for the gingermint chews inside. But the chews are good! More spicy ginger than mint flavor for sure, but they're great. And next time I have a stomach ache, I will employ one to help me in my hour of need. After all, the "lively peppermint elevates the cool in ginger for an exciting flavor awakening!" I am always game for an exciting flavor awakening, especially if it puts my sensitive constitution to sleep for another day.

1 Comments:

Blogger Rachael said...

Surfas is the best.
I am so glad I found your blog, its is great, keep up the good work!

Rachael

5/22/2005 4:00 AM  

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