Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some Road Candy, or 'Horehounds On My Trail'

Last Saturday I was passing through Shoshone, Idaho and stopped for bruncheon at the Manhattan Cafe.

While settling up the bill, I was entranced by the spin rack of colorful candy treats near the counter by the register.

I was already familiar with the Idaho Spud brand. My Dad had grown up in north-eastern Oregon, and the Idaho Spud bar was part of the tapestry of my summertime childhood vacations, riding in the statiion wagon up 101 from the bay area to visit my Grandparents near the beautiful southern Oregon coast.

Dad had his own childhood story of free sample spud bars being given to him by a man wearing a sandwich board at a county fair in the mid-1920's.

As my siblings and I grew to adulthood, any one of us having the rare encounter with a place that sold spud bars would grab a few for the the others. The fact that everyone else we knew HATED them only made it more fun.

Since my big move to the land of the spud bar, the various offerings from the Idaho Candy Company have perhaps lost some of their exotic mystique. (Though they're each special in their own way. I'm particularly fond of the 'Old Faithful', and the Butter Toffee is just plain evil)

- - But here were treats I'd not seen before, at least not previously affiliated with the name Idaho Spud.

I brought home the ones that intrigued me the most. With one notable exception they all seemed fairly straightforward to me, despite being blessed with names that lend themselves to whimsy.

It was certainly the Horehound Lumps that I was most curious about, and thus far the only one of the batch I've actually been moved to sample.

First, I had to educate myself a bit about this mysterious Horehound, a name that was new to me.

That out of the way, it was on to the ingredients, which stated that the lumps contained 'genuine organic horehound tea'.
Fair enough, and so on to my report:

Horehound Lumps taste like a surprisingly bitter lemon drop and are very similar in texture.

I think more accurately the flavor is something akin to chugging Dr. Pepper whilst simultaneously eating lots of celery sticks.

We'll call it 'an acquired taste', but it's all in the name of scientific advancement...

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