I always think of Christmas as a time to reflect on the family you have and the family you have lost. I miss Mom and Gran everyday, but at holidays they are sorely missed.
We never had a family get together that someone didn’t get in a tiff about something, but the one staple was always the good food. At Thanksgiving Gran always made the turkey dressing. She called it dressing because she never “stuffed the bird” and it was the best. Mom always made baked sweet potatoes, not with all the marshmallow cream just lots of butter and brown sugar.
And I can’t eat an orange today that I don’t think of our Christmas baskets. We didn’t get much but we always got oranges. Even today, the smell triggers all those Christmas’ past. And a few days after Christmas, Mom would take all the fruit left over and make a huge bowl of fruit salad. Not the kind out of a can, it had apples, oranges, walnuts, grapes and bananas. Momma Said, “It was a special treat and a huge gesture on her part.” We didn’t have much but she could make the most out of almost nothing.
Gran loved to cook and she was very good at it. I have tried some of her recipes, but it never tastes the same. She made the BEST bacon gravy and fried potatoes. There is nothing to frying a potato but I just can’t get it done the way she did. She made the best pie crust and peanut butter candy too. It seemed effortless to her and I am sure she loved every minute of it. Momma Said, “Do something you love and you will be loved in return.”
She wasn’t big into using brand name products, but she was insistent on using Carnation canned milk and Domino sugar. She never used off brand products in her candy. And she said the secret was never beat it too long or it would get too dry. Momma Said, “Just knowing the right amount of everything is the key to a good product.” I think that is the secret to life as well.
Peanut Butter Candy
4 cups Domino sugar
2 cups Carnation Evaporated Milk
½ stick butter
18 oz. Jif peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
Combine sugar, milk and butter in a very large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Beat until nearly cool. Pour into a well buttered 13×9 inch pan or a jelly roll pan.