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Otherwise known as "those chalky pink mints that don't seem to have a name."

As wide as a nickel. As thick as your thumb. They crunch when you bite into them and then turn to powder. Why they're called "Wintergreen Lozenges" is a mystery to me. They aren't actually lozenge-shaped, nor do they particularly taste like wintergreen.

Aside from these oddities though, they do have a few things going for them. They can be left in an open container on the dashboard of a car, for months at a time, without any ill effects. Somehow sawdust, cigar ash and pivot grease don't seem to detract from their flavor, but actually improve it. They're the only candy that you'd consider eating from a dish sitting on a workbench. They're the only candy I know that can be stored in a dusty toolbox or a tweed-coat pocket, and still taste the same when you find them there, the following weekend, while sitting in the shade.

In short, more than anything in this world they remind me of my grandfather.

So what do they taste like? Hard to say. "Flavored chalk", at least that's what my friends always tell me when I ever convince them to try one. But to me they taste like fly fishing and chainsaws on summer afternoons. Like rusty pipe wrenches and Wall Drug, South Dakota, a million other things that all equate to just the same.

I guess, as they say, it's an acquired taste.


Wintergreen Lozenges were originally Brach's, but are now made by the New England Confectionery Company, the same company that makes Conversation Mints and the ubiquitous Necco Wafers. They contain corn syrup, sugar and wintergreen oil. You can find them on the two-for-a-dollar rack in most drug stores, or in the bulk food section of any midwestern grocery.

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