Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of peppermint is winter holidays growing up. Once a year, I could open the freezer and I knew there would be peppermint ice-cream in the freezer, something that I used to enjoy exclusively with my mother. It would be green with lovely red and white chucks of peppermint candy crammed in every crevice like little glaciers –once in your bowl–waiting for discovery. Why I like eating something this cold in cold weather, I will never entirely understand, but there are some things in life I think we shouldn’t question or over analyze, and this for me, is an embossed moment, not to be tampered with. Granted, I don’t eat the conventional types of ice-cream any more, for obvious reasons, but this idea still remains a nostalgic strong-hold in my mind. I’ve yet to experience another ice-cream quite like this one.
I’m also reminded of a conversation I had with my oldest brother just a twinkle ago, about how peppermint candy came to be. Why would something that started out so herbal and green transform at some point into a delightful symbol of a season, a feeling, a moment? I’ve dug into this idea and here is what I’ve discovered. One beginning of the peppermint candy started in the US with the ‘Peppermint Kings‘ (illustrious growers), that has such a regal ring to it, doesn’t it? Skip past numerous inventions of mint gums (Wrigley falls into this bracket), in the early 20th century, came the invention of the first mint hard candy by Clarence Crane. It was supposed to resemble a life saving device with red and white stripes. The popularity of mint or peppermint candy rose until the 195os when the crops were jeopardized by verticillium wilt. However, the origin of the peppermint cane or stick that we now know dates back to Europe in the 17th century. A choirmaster in the 1670s was noted for bending her mint candy sticks at the tip to resemble a shepherd’s staff, and they were handed out to the children. Later, the red stripes were added sometime before the 1900s but nobody seems to know where this tradition exactly started. What does this tell me? Mint, something so simple, has spread globally for one main reason, its pure flavor and reach. I hope you’re reading this brotha!
Now, it’s thought that the peppermint herb originated in England and gained more commercial insight as time passed. My interest at this point is to refocus on the non-candy use of mint and how it plays a role in my life in could in yours.
What’s Up Peppermint, What Do You Do?