WHEN MAMA MAKES SOME CANDY (A POEM & A RECIPE)

When the days start getting shorter
And the frost is on the ground,
And the dogs are getting furry,
And the woodpile is a mound,
Near the woodstove, cats are lounging,
And the chores have all been done,
We all sit around the table,
While we read our books for fun.
Then one night after the dishes
Have been washed and put away,
Mama puts aside her darning,
And gets up and then she says
“What a night for making taffy!”
And you see our ears perk up,
I shout “I’ll fetch the sugar!”
Sis says “I’ll get the cup”
(The one we use to measure things),
And a wooden spoon to stir it up.
Mama takes out cider vinegar,
I pour molasses in the cup;
Into a big old heavy pot
Go all the needful things,
And Mama stirs it ‘till it’s boiling,
And then –well, here’s the thing,
You cook it without stirring
For what seems the longest wait
Mama tests a bit in water,
Till we see it hold its shape,
Then we pour it on the platter,
And we have to let it cool,
We butter up our fingers
‘cause we’re nobody’s fool
Then Sis & I pull taffy,
Till it stretches and it’s grand;
Mama cuts it into pieces
With her scissors and she hands
Over all the little pieces
To Pa for him to wrap
In wax paper and he twists them and
Gives each a little snap.
We’ll eat a few small pieces
Just to see if they are sweet.
Mama’s homemade taffy
Is the best thing you can eat.

— Sandra Lee Smith

TO MAKE MAMA’S MOLASSES TAFFY
You will need:

2 cups unsulfured molasses
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Butter a platter or baking sheet. In a large pan, combine all the ingredients. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F. (the hard ball stage) on a candy thermometer or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a ball that is hard enough to hold its shape yet is pliable.

Pour onto the platter. Have squares of wax paper on hand. Let the cooked taffy cool enough its barely cool enough to work with (if it gets too cool, you can warm it in a 350 degree oven for 3-4 minutes). Coat your hands with butter. Form candy into one or more balls. Now start pulling. Working fast, pull a lump of candy between the fingertips of one hand and the other until its about 15 inches long. Now double it up and pull again. Continue pulling as in step 1 until candy is porous and hard to pull. Stretch candy into a rope about ¾” in diameter. Cut with greased scissors into 1” pieces. To prevent sticking, wrap each piece individually in a piece of wax paper; twist the ends to seal. Keep wrapped candy in a tightly closed tin.
**

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