The mintegral was created by the immigrant Italian candymaker Latus
Rectum, under contract to the British crown in the early
nineteenth century in celebration of the birthday of Isaac Newton
on December 25. The confection is fraught with symbolism, much of which
has been forgotten over the years.
The original shape represents the integral sign, the elongated "S" standing
for the word "sum." The red and white intertwining colors stand for the
joining of the concepts of antiderivative and area in the Fundamental
Theorem of Calculus. The minty flavor was chosen to reflect the fresh
winds of change which blew across western civilization with the invention
of calculus. As a result of this invention, mathematicians were able to
solve such burning mathematical problems as the determination of the
optimal size of fermented beverage containers and the speed with which
effluents were discharged from the famous conical reservoirs of ancient
times. The flavor was also used to mask the bad breath of mathematicians
who kissed under the mistletoe before the development of Closeup
toothpaste.
The break in the center of the mintegral symbolizes the ongoing battle
between the proponents of Newton and Leibnitz over the original authoring
of the calculus. During the middle of the nineteenth century, the
exchange between the two groups became so heated that people often refused
to buy the top half (the Newtonian half) or the bottom half (the Leibnitzian
half) of the integral. As a result, a French businessman, Rene Ellipse,
began to market the two separately. Eventually, the halfmintegrals took on
a life of their own and are currently sold as "candy canes." As a relic of the
original controversy, an obscure Connecticut law forbids the sale of the
Leibnitzian half of the mintegral. Canes wrapped in cellophane and sold in
strips are all displayed with the crook in the upright position, the Newtonian
half.
