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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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January 20, 2011

Postscript to "Good Foods...."

I forgot to post this picture of my mother (and it's certainly not a good one!) but it gave me a tickle when I was going through my pictures because I thought to myself "she must have just been snitching some chocolate!"  She loved her chocolate.  She told me once (after I was all grown up) that lots of times when she did her grocery shopping, she would buy two boxes of Brach's peanut clusters (which we both loved), eat one box on the way home in the car(!!!) and put the other box in the candy dish and very daintily just eat one now and then.  And it might have been during this visit (that's my orange and white kitchen) that I had made a meringue torte - 7 layers of meringue with a delicious chocolate filling between each layer and had also made fudge.  She had been enjoying the fudge, of course, and then discovered that I hadn't used all the filling and the leftover was still in its pan in the fridge.  And she just gobbled that right down.

Maybe that explains why she made the world's best fudge.  And how I ever forgot to mention that in my previous post, I'll never know.  This was in the days before marshmallow creme fudge.  There would come an evening when Mama would go to the kitchen and pull out her Club aluminum pan (which I still have, by the way) and the cocoa and we'd know...she's going to make FUDGE!!!  It was the kind where you use cocoa,  sugar, milk, and probably butter (I don't remember although I'll have to look sometime and see if I still have the recipe).  It had to be cooked to 236 degrees on a thermometer, taken off the heat, vanilla added, and then beaten...and beaten...and beaten some more until it started to kind of snap at you and got real glossy.  Then quickly, quickly pour it out on some waxed paper and while waiting for it to cool, lick the pan!  That was my sister's and my contribution to the process. :)  And just as with my grandmother's sweet corn, I have never again had fudge that good.  I tried several times back in the day to make it myself that way and gained a real appreciation for my mother's staying power during the beating process.  I simply couldn't do it and fell back on the marshmallow creme recipe.  It makes good fudge and that's what I've made every year at Christmas, but it doesn't begin to approach the real thing and I've finally kind of lost my taste for it.

So, kudos to my mama and thank you for starting me on my deep and abiding love of chocolate!


Christopher said...

...Runs in the family, I'd say, this love of chocolate! (And fudge!)

Missy said...

You can do it, Mary Lynne. It doesn't hurt to stop and rest during the beating - I've never been able to keep beating non-stop. What I do is more like stirring than beating, anyway. If you don't find your mother's recipe, I can send you the one I've used since I was a teenager. It uses 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla - probably much like your mother's. It's the best fudge I've ever eaten, when it comes out right. When it's runny and grainy, my sister eats it anyway, so it's never wasted. :-)

vrmichie said...

I could never duplicate her fudge either although I certainly tried plenty of times. One thing that you don't mention that I remember is that she always set the pan on the cement, utility room floor to cool down -- but to what temperature? Somehow she knew just the right time to start beating it because if you waited too long, it just solidified in the pan like a brick. I still have her recipe in her handwriting but it doesn't explain the beating. It's fun reading your memories and seeing how they differ from mine -- sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot and sometimes it's something I have no memory of at all. Sure is easy to agree that her fudge was THE BEST! xoxo

Mary Lynne said...

You're right - I had forgotten the utility room cooling. :) I think the test was feeling the bottom of the pan - not hot but warm to the touch...

I remember one time Kathy and I decided to try and make a batch and I don't know what all we must have done wrong, but it never did thicken, just stayed soupy. I didn't want Mama to know, so for a week or two I kept it hidden under my bed. I have no idea why!

And, Michelle - I appreciate the offer but if I were ever to try it again (which I won't), I'd only put forth the effort for Mama's recipe. :)

Mary Lynne said...

Oops, and don't ask me why I said "Michelle" - obviously I was responding to Missy. :)

Diane Adams said...

This reminds me so much of my own mother. She just LOVED chocolate, but was not supposed to eat it. She was particularly fond of Peppermint Patties and would often pick some up at the grocery store to eat on her way home and then she would hide them under the seat of her Mustang. My brother would frequently clean the Mustang for her and would bring in handfuls of wrappers.

January said...


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