The recent Certs article reminded me of this article that I planned to write ages ago. About the essential xmas treat from my childhood. The Lifesavers Sweet Storybooks. I had been receiving this at xmas for about as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, this is really a lost item these days. While they do still make Lifesavers Sweet Storybooks, the new ones are a very pale shadow of their former glory. Sort of like a broken rollercoaster at an abandoned amusement park.
The classic version gave you 10 rolls (5 per side of the book), which included 7 or 8 different flavor packs. The new ones only give 6 rolls (all on one side), and only provide 3 different flavors.
This photo that I managed to find online is very nearly the same as the ones I used to have back in the 80s. The only apparent difference is that the ones I had included cherry instead of strawberry (although the strawberry pack does look vaguely familiar, perhaps it was included as a backup flavor one year).
For a long time, the included flavors were very standardized; 2 variety rolls (ie, “normal” Lifesavers), 2 cherry rolls, a tropical fruits roll, a butter rum roll, 2 wintOgreen rolls, and 2 pepOmint rolls. Later they reduced it to just 1 each of the mint rolls, and started adding in some new flavors. I was very fond of the swirled one, it reminded me of the Lifesavers lollipops. Gradually however, they started replacing more and more of the standard flavors with new (and often very *blech*) flavors. Then they started reducing the number of rolls in the pack.
A rather odd flavor combo which still always says “xmas” to me is cherry + pepOmint. With so many flavors to choose from, I would often try random combinations. The cherry + pepOmint one managed to stick.
You can see a Sweet Storybook in the bottom-left in this photo from one of my late-80s xmases (1987, I think)
The irony with the Sweet Storybook is that there are now many imitators. From generic rolled candy ones at the local dollar store, to name-brand ones like Skittles and Starburst. Yet Lifesavers themselves have lost their vision. Hopefully in the future, this might change.