candy

Classic Confections: Junior Mints

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's no secret, I'm candy crazy, a sugar junkie, a slave to sweetness. At any time you may find my purse filled with gummy bears, my car strewn with empty wrappers or my face smudged with chocolate (no lie), so I figured why not write a bit about the delights I adore that have been enjoyed for generations. First up: Junior Mints

For those of you that have never had one, Junior Mints are delectable drops of peppermint cream, coated in delicious chocolate, much like a peppermint patty- except smaller. The vintage advertisement below describes these little beauties well.


Junior Mints were first sold in 1949, manufactured by the Welch company, makers of many other classic confections and based in Massachusetts. James O. Welch, the company's founder and namesake was a North Carolina native and New England transplant, establishing his company in 1927 with his brother at his side. 

Welch's product, Junior Mints was a play on a collection of stories, a Broadway production, film and a radio show entitled "Junior Miss." Rather quirky things to name your product after, but it seemed to work for Welch. The name was recognizable enough to be connected to the popular "Junior Miss" but different enough to avoid any copyright issues. Junior Mints gained popularity at concession stands and thus, became a staple in American confections. 

These days Junior Mints are made by the Tootsie Roll Industries and can be found world wide. According to the all mighty Wikipedia, over 15 million Junior Mints are made daily, multiple boxes of that sum consumed by me- yearly of course. 

Seinfeld: "The Junior Mint"

As a kid, I never liked Junior Mints, I'd get a box now and then at the movies but mint never seemed to appeal to me. Yes, that's right, a box at the movies. When I was a kid Junior Mints could still be found at concession stands like they were in the 1950s and I'm not even that old! In fact I can still think of a couple of theaters in Western New York State that still stock boxes of Junior Mints in their candy cases, good for them, I hope they're still there when I take my kids to the movies! Junior Mints are a standard confection of American cinema, heck, American pop culture (there is even a Seinfeld episode titled after these creamy mints). Not sure at what point I acquired a taste for these delightful drops but I'm glad I did, Junior Mints are a vintage delight not to be missed out on.



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