Wednesday, February 18

Halls: Medicine vs. Candy

I had a debate with my housekeeper this morning about Halls products - she says they are candy... I say they are medicated cough drops/throat lozenges. Because, I seriously cannot think of anything worse to eat as "candy" than menthol or honey/lemon lozenges! Gag.

Sydney has been a bit congested lately, so I kept her home from school today. As I was heading out the door to tennis this morning, I told our wonderful helper, Rosalie, "If Sydney starts coughing, you can give her one of these cough drops." I then handed her 3 different bags of Halls products - 1 bag of cooling menthol lozenges, 1 bag of honey lemon lozenges & 1 bag of raspberry flavored lozenges (which actually did look more like candy). She looked at me & remarked, "You buy too much candy, ma'am." (Ummm... blaming that comment on the gigantic bag of "kisses" from Mimi & Papa that were brought over in their suitcase!) I replied that they were not candy, but cough drops. She corrected me, saying that they were indeed candy. I looked on the package & sure enough, the description on the front said "Mentho-Lyptus Candy" and "Honey-Lemon Candy", just like what is shown in this picture. I asked Rosalie if she really eats these as candy & she was adamant that all Filipinos eat Halls as candy, not as cough drops or throat lozenges. I prodded further:

Me: "Even the menthol flavor?"
R: "Oh yes. That's my favorite!"
Me: "As candy?"
R: "Yes, ma'am. It makes my breath fresh."
Me: "So, it's more like a breath mint then?"
R: "No, ma'am. We eat them as candy."

(This explains why Halls menthol "candy" is handed out at birthday parties & stuffed in every goody bag my kids have ever received here in the Philippines! I never understood why the parents were handing out cough drops to little kids at parties!?)

I couldn't fathom it. Even as our 2-year stint here is coming to a close, I'm realizing there are still so many cultural differences I have yet to learn. Rosalie & I have conversations like this almost daily about so many different things, but mostly food. I've introduced her to kiwi & alfalfa sprouts (just today!). And, she has introduced me to calamansi & toyo. I will most definitely miss being immersed in a completely different culture when we move back home. It is a life changing experience that I am eternally grateful for!


On a related note, Rosalie fixed a dinner for me that I regularly request when Sam is out of town... stuffed bell peppers! YUM YUM! Sam cannot stand anything having to do with a bell pepper, so this is my guilty pleasure when he is away. And, I have leftovers to eat the rest of the week. One of my favorite meals!

I am really, really going to miss Rosalie...


Mike Rabe said...

I used to be an usher for the Minnesota Orchestra, and they provided Halls cough drops for the concert patrons. The patrons knew they were cough drops, but would scoop up large handfuls and stuff their pockets full, cold or no cold. I remember one woman saying to her husband "don't forget the candy." So, while we American may ostensibly consider Halls to be medicine, I think we treat them like candy too!

Christina said...

Hahaha - this is so funny! Gross, but funny! I like to hear your interesting stories of the cultural differences :).

Amberly said...

Thanks for the insight, Mike. I have never thought of Halls as candy, but I do remember when I was in grade school, I used to buy Luden's Cherry cough drops at the corner store & down them like candy! Those things were good!!

Mommy & Daddy of 3 boys said...

I found out that calamansi is a citric fruit, but what is toyo? I love reading about all your experiences and adventures!

Achilles said...

TOYO (Soy Sauce) and Lemon Juice (Kalamansi) are good for Barbecue sauce before and after barbecue sauce.

Halls menthol are advertise has lozenges but majority of Filipinos eat them as a regular candy.
Why? I don't know. I've been asking myself the same question for a guy who was born in Manila.

I hate menthol.