Candy Cigarettes

My sister and I spent our formative years in West Chester, Pennsylvania. We were but a mere 45 minute drive from Independence Hall, Betsy Ross' House, the Liberty Bell, Franklin Science Institute, those famous art museum steps that Rocky ran up and delicious cheese steaks (I am a Pat's fan and you will not sway me you Geno's loving blasphemers). And while I harbor fond memories of taking every family member who ever visited on multiple city tours and yearly field trips to these fabled places I also have memories from another near-by area.
Amish Country.

We lived relatively close to Lancaster county, I am not sure how close because I was not old enough to drive and every car ride over 20 minutes seemed like 3 lifetimes. Maybe once or twice a year, usually during the summer, we would visit this area. The Amish do not have electricity or buttons or cars and they do not allow themselves to be photographed because they believes photos take a piece of their souls. Despite these things they do know how to cook, oh man can they cook. So as a result the Amish Farmer's Market was always my sister and my favorite destination.

The other markets were fun too, we would look at lovely quilts, wooden toys made by hand and beautifully layered and sculpted candles. So many options for spending hard earned allowance money! However, we never ever spent all our money before we got around to the food. I am sure the gourmet selection went on forever but as I was still young I will only touch on the things that stand out in my mind.

First- PICKLES. If you know me then you know that pickles fall second on my list of favorite foods (right below popcorn). The Amish markets were home to gigantic pickles in gigantic jars and I never failed to enjoy one. Yummy. In fact I am going to go get a pickle out of my fridge right now......


Second- Beef Jerky. I don't mean any old preservative laden, bought in bulk at Sam's club jerky either. I mean the "I was a cow a week ago" kind of jerky. I am a huge fan of salt (my mother will be happy to tell you the 80 ways my sodium intake is going to slowly kill me if you would like) and this is classic salty, meaty deliciousness. Way to go Amish people!

Third-Rock Candy. Pure sugar on a stick with delightful colors and flavors added, could it get any better? I think not. Also, cheap enough that buying rock candy did not entail begging Mom for some more money. As an added bonus the raw sugar will quickly render your tongue too raw for any additional food that day....

and Finally-Candy Cigarettes. Did anyone else reading this see a little movie called Mrs.Winterborne? (besides my sister). If so then you can imagine where this is going. If not I will tell you. In said movie a young unmarried pregnant women meets a couple on a train. The couple is also expecting a child and are on their way to the man's home to introduce his bride to the family. Rudely the unmarried woman asks to try on the married woman's ring (I would have said no but this lady said yes...go figure). At that exact moment the train crashes (talk about a downer) and the married couple is killed. BUT, since the unmarried lady is wearing the ring of the fellow the family thinks she is his wife and takes her in. She of course knows the truth but is enchanted by the lifestyles of the rich and famous and goes to great lengths to conceal her true self. In one memorable scene she is smoking a cigarette (which is forbidden in the fancy-schmancy house of her fake in-laws) when her false-mother-in-law walks in. The women deftly flips the cigarette into her mouth thus concealing it from the prying eyes of the houghty toughty women.

My sister and I were way impressed. No one in my family smokes but whatever.

We would sneak around and buy packs and packs of candy cigarettes at these markets (though I don't think we would have gotten in trouble for purchasing candy cigarettes) and then we would sit outside and practice our Mrs. Winterborne cigarette flip move. It is WAY harder than it looks by the way. We would also pretend to smoke them as people walked by. Though I am sure we were slightly less convincing then we thought we were (being that we were 9 and 7 years old and candy cigarettes do not emit any smoke.... but what's childhood without imagination?)

Over the years my sister and I have run into candy cigarettes and we always buy a pack just to see if we can still flip them into our mouths. I think actual cigarettes should be illegal but I could totally support a pack a day candy cigarette habit!


Katie said...

Still without a doubt one of my favorite childhood memories of us. I'm so happy it's a special one for you too. What rebel children we were, smoking in Amish country. ;)

Anonymous said...

Those were good times weren't they. When your children choose to go to "Amish Country" when they have a day off from school, you know that they are cool kids and that they know a good thing.
By the way, my recollection is that Mrs. Winterbourne (Shirley McLaine) the mother-in-law was the rebel who was not to smoke for health reasons and flipped the cigarette into her mouth to hide it.
Thanks for reminding me of these happy times. Love you, Mom

Jen said...

oh well...i was like 9 so my memory is pretty decent but not perfect!