Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Visiting With My Daddy This Christmas

My Daddy was well-known for his homemade fudge. I can remember as a child watching with excitement as he stood over the stove and stirred the pot, how he would ask us kids to butter the plate that he would be pouring the finished product on, how we would wait with our spoons to scrape the pot. The fudge was most heavenly while it was still warm. And best of all was my Daddy’s giddiness while he was making the fudge. He was like a big ol’ kid himself.
I can only remember one time when Daddy’s fudge did not turn out perfect. He wondered what would happen if he used chocolate syrup instead of cocoa powder. The result was a delightful taffy-like, gooey, chewy concoction. My brother and I loved it. But he never made it that way again.

After I was living on my own, my Daddy came to visit me in my newly-bought house. I had recently gotten myself a new Dutch oven, and I asked Daddy about how to season it. I lamented to him the fact that I had never learned how to make pot roast in the Dutch oven the way Mammy (Daddy’s grandmother) made it. That reminded me that I had never learned to make fudge the way my Daddy made it. All those times of seeing him make it as a kid, I never paid attention to *how* it was done.
”Oh, it’s easy,” Daddy assured me. He started telling me the ingredients, and I grabbed a piece of paper and asked him to write it down. This is what he wrote:
Thankfully, I was able to ask him some questions!

I only attempted to make it once while he was still on this earth. It didn’t turn out right; the fudge never did “set”. He told me once it’s done “You really just have to beat the mess out of it.” He also told me that if it’s raining it sometimes won’t get firm enough. Geez, it was just too much trouble, and I put it aside and forgot about it. I’d just get Daddy to make it for me.

Well, Daddy hasn’t been here to make it for me for five Christmases now. I’ve attempted it a few times, but it has never turned out quite right. Until this year. This year, I made several batches, making notes along the way about how long it should cook, how it should look and feel at what point, and how long it should be beaten at the end. I swear, if it weren’t My Daddy’s specialty, I would have given up. But this year, I finally got something that was close to what he made. 12-25-10 Christmas41 Tasting it brought back all those wonderful childhood memories. And of course, I was stretching my brain trying to recall every time I saw him making the fudge, trying to remember what he did, trying to remember what he said about it. I guess the nostalgia is worth it.

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