I went to the dentist yesterday and they offered me a fluoride treatment after my cleaning. “Really”, I said. I hadn’t had one of those since I was a child in the 1960’s when drinking water fluoridation was just becoming widespread. Apparently, with everyone drinking so much store-bought bottled water, we aren’t getting the fluoride for our teeth that we once got from drinking good old tap water.
When I was growing up, we had well water and it was really cold and tasted so good. I do drink bottled water when I’m in the car, but usually at home we drink filtered water from the refrigerator. According to my dental hygienist, that filtering takes some of the fluoride out too. Sigh.
So, I got a fluoride treatment. It took about a minute for her to swab the mint-flavored liquid all over my teeth. I had to leave it on for 20 minutes and it will protect my teeth for three to six months. Oh, and if you’re thinking about getting a treatment, it cost $15 and is not covered by insurance.
Now that I’ve had my fluoride treatment, I’m ready to try the new flavor of M & M’s that just hit store shelves…Pecan Pie. Pecan Pie flavored M & M’s join the other limited time fall favorites, Pumpkin Spice, Candy Corn and Candy Apple. I haven’t tried them yet, but I intend to do so as soon as I find them in a store near me.
M & M’s and I go way back. When I was a girl, I used to buy them…both plain and peanut, which were the only flavors…at Willard’s General Store in Northern Indiana where I grew up. Willard’s was a small, family-run grocery store the size of today’s convenience stores. My grandmother shopped there whenever she needed just a couple of items because it was much closer than driving all the way to the big Kroger store.
Willard’s had an old, free standing oak and glass display case for all of their candy. I loved to stand in front of it and consider my choices through the glass. Once I had made up my mind, there were sliding doors in the back where people could simply help themselves. There was only one size of M & M’s in those days and they cost a nickel.
Forrest Mars invented plain M&M’s in Newark, New Jersey in 1941. He was inspired to invent a candy-coated chocolate because soldiers wanted a chocolate candy they could carry with them that wouldn’t melt. Peanut M & M’s were introduced in 1954 but only in the tan color until 1960 when the other colors were added. The longest-running M & M product slogan also came out in 1954: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
The original colors of M & M’s were brown, purple, red, yellow and green. Tan replaced purple in 1950. In 1976 when I was a teenager, red M & M’s were pulled off the market because of fears that the red dye was a carcinogen. Red M & M’s were replaced by orange and ten years later when red M & M’s were brought back, the orange ones stayed too.
In early 1995, the Mars Company ran a promotion where they asked consumers to vote for a new color of M & M’s to replace the tan colored candies. The choices were blue, pink and purple. Fans could vote by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR. The winning color (blue) was announced on all the network news programs as well as on the David Letterman Show and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. For added fun, the Empire State Building was lit up in blue on the night of the announcement.
Now, M & M’s come in many sizes and flavors. I still love the original two flavors but my all-time favorites are the Almond M & M’s. I tell myself they are healthier because they have well, almonds in them!
In addition to the peanut and plain M & M’s (which were renamed “Milk Chocolate M & M’s in the year 2000), M & M flavors over the years have included: dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint chocolate, almonds, orange chocolate, coconut, pretzel, wild cherry, cinnamon, raspberry, birthday cake, pumpkin spice, candy corn, candy apple, cherry cordial, strawberry peanut butter, peppermint, gingerbread, peanut butter, red velvet, carrot cake, dark chocolate peanut, pineapple, crispy, vanilla shake…and now pecan pie.
For some Easter fun one year when my kids were growing up, I bought every flavor of M & M’s I could find in the stores. We were with our extended family for the holiday, so we did a family M & M taste test of every flavor and then voted for our favorites. Which flavor do you think won? (Answer below.)
At my www.mymms.com you can order milk chocolate M & M’s for special events. For one of my two son’s high school graduation parties, I ordered M & M’s with his school colors (brown and orange) and had the year of his graduation (2007) and the name of the school mascot (Huskies) printed on them.
What’s your favorite flavor of M & M’s?
Author’s note: Peanut M & M’s were the hands down winner in my family’s M & M’s taste test several years back.