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When I was at the Gateway Arch on Saturday, I saw some horehound candy in the giftshop. Now, how could I pass up something like that?! (No doubt that's what they were thinking when they made it — it's all about marketing!) Naturally, I wanted to see what horehound tasted like. ("What, you don't know?" quipped K's youngest sister.) So I bought a bag.

It was nasty! I managed to finish mine, but K and her sister spat theirs out. We brought it back with us to Boston, though, but I've wondered how I was going to get rid of the stuff. (The idea of simply throwing it out just seems wasteful, even if horehound is nasty shit.)

At lunchtime today I was looking in my bag for my Prilosec when I found the bag of horehound candy. I offered some to my office mates. Two of them sampled, and at least one of them didn't seem to mind the flavor. An idea struck me. Since I know that the labfolk will devour anything, I made an overhead announcement: "Attention Pulmonary, if you'd like to taste horehound, please come to the office." It seems to have worked. People hear "horehound" and just have to know more. (And really, puerile as it must seem, it's fun asking people if they'd like to try some horehound!) I've had a few people respond to my page, unable to resist the call of the horehound, and I've offered some to just about everyone who's walked into the office. It seems no one has ever heard of the stuff and most have been curious enough to try a piece. Reaction has been mixed. One person even liked it enthusiastically! Most importantly, though, the stuff should be all gone before the day is gone. Mission accomplished!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
I remember it from my days in New England; it's one of those olde-tea-shoppe-type of tastes. Can't remember whether I liked it very much.

If you really want to test their patience, bring some durian-flavoured candies into work. I'm one of the few non-Asians who has tried durian fruit and, while I can't say I like it much, I can eat it. The smell is overpoweringly vile, but it tastes kind of like creamy burnt coffee.

After doing 30 seconds of Googling on "horehound", I find that it's an ancient form of cough drop. It's not recommended for diabetics, as it makes my medicine less effective. So, no horehound for Hansen.
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, gross! I would never inflict durian on my office mates! I made the mistake of trying a durian shake once. I suppose if you like the flavor of rotten fruit strained through three-month old dirty socks, then you might find durian palatable! ;)

Interestingly, amongst the adjectives used to describe horehound today have been "cough drops" and "bitter tea leaves." I had another one a few minutes ago, because three people have actually liked it (and one even came back for seconds!), so I wanted to make sure my first impression wasn't wrong. Maybe "nasty" was too strong, but I won't be having a third piece!
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC)
Have you ever had fresh durian? In Singapore, they have durian stalls that are outside. They have tables and stools, and you buy your durian and eat them at the outdoor tables. It's usually illegal to take durians into buildings because of the stench (most of the public housing doesn't allow them; the transport system doesn't allow them) so this is the way that most of the locals eat it. I had three or four seeds. However, the bunch of greedy guts I was with (about 6 Chinese gay men) ate about three whole ones among them all.

Yes, it's an acquired taste. I expect that shakes are pretty vile. However, if you can get past the smell, the fruit are surprisingly good (but not in the quantities that Chinese and Malay guys eat them...)

Don't bring any horehound when you come here. HWMBO probably won't eat it, and I can't because of my diabetes medication. Not that there's much chance...
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC)
if you can get past the smell, the fruit are surprisingly good

I've heard that. However, Tony Bourdaine's reaction on A Cook's Tour doesn't lead me to believe this is a taste I'll acquire (and he seems to like quite a broad range of flavors).
Jul. 11th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
I could've told you that it was nasty. Though my dad liked it.
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC)
I like horehound, but I'm not a big candy fan, so the last time I bought a bag of it, I only ate three of them over the course of a couple of weeks.
Jul. 14th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
Many candies began as medicine. You just keep adding sugar until it isn't too unpleasant to eat. Some of these medicinal candies, like horehound, still taste nasty to some people. Others, however, find it pleasant.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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