Baking and Candy Making

My mother had a good many skills in the kitchen, and while none of her abilities were passed on to me, at least once a year I was tapped to assist in her culinary endeavors. I’m sure I did so under protest because I was such a klutz at cooking and baking and candy making, and Mom was not a patient soul.

She’d cluck and shake her head and give me looks that would’ve withered a lesser soul, but Freida Hall didn’t scare me. Okay, I was scared sh*tless most of the time while working in the kitchen with Mom, but I had no choice if I wanted to continue living under her roof. My brothers both turned out to be quite proficient in preparing food, so maybe the fault was all mine.

What did we make? Martha Washington candies, chocolate covered cherries, and divinity. We baked cranberry bread and pumpkin bread, and banana nut bread. If it was a fruity bread, we baked it. We made a pecan nut roll that defied all of Mom’s attempts at perfection and only turned out divine once in every ten attempts.

Here’s a recipe for Martha Washington candy similar to the one Mom and I used to make. You’ll be a big hit if you take these to a gathering. It’s still the candy I remember most fondly.

Peace, people.

Baking for Dummy


At Studly’s request I am making two pecan pies from semi-scratch. I don’t/can’t make my own pie crusts, but everything else in the pies is 100% homemade. As much as such things can be homemade–I mean I didn’t grow the sugar cane, nor did I create the Karo Syrup–Mr. Karo must’ve done that. And I didn’t lay or collect the eggs; I’m kind of afraid of small farm animals, and I still haven’t learned the art of egg laying. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I didn’t mash up the vanilla beans for the extract, or grow and harvest the pecans, either.

In progress:


I guess we can scratch the word scratch from that first sentence. All I did was assemble the ingredients, and from the smells emanating from my kitchen, I’d say these pies are done.