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Mom’s Divinity & Why You Should Never Say ‘Never’

I’ve always heard it’s best not to use the word ‘never ‘ when talking about something that cannot be surpassed  – and now understand why. After last week’s encounter with the nest of spiders in the garage, thought that nothing could be worse . . . wrong. How does having a scorpion crawl up your leg while in the shower sound? No, I wasn’t the lucky one. David was. And have to admit, I was pretty impressed – no hollering, no loud cussing, no stomping, just steely, focused effort on smashing it to death with the shampoo bottle. Hence no picture. But the scorpion picture here is what it looked like BEFORE David got a hold of it.

 

We’ve heard quite a few stories from family, neighbors and friends about scorpions this year, and knowing how painful a scorpion bite can be,  have taken them seriously. Even to the point where we’ve been checking under the sheets before crawling into bed. I think David participated in this little exercise mostly to humor me, but after last night’s encounter, don’t think I’ll have to ask twice again.  And next sunny weekend, David has vowed to go outside and respray the house foundation with Home Defense.  Works well and is available at Lowe’s.

 

Can’t believe Halloween is almost here. When we lived in Houston, it was a pretty big deal and we stocked up on lots of candy for the seemingly endless number of trick-or-treaters. Here in the country it’s a non-event for us since most of the ‘trick-or treating’ is either at the community center or one of the local churches. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from buying some of our favorite candy – or that Scarecrow Snoopy I saw sitting on the store shelf in Bryan last week. Heaven knows I don’t need any more Snoopy dogs of any kind – but I am such a sucker for a cute Snoopy. Just couldn’t pass him up. He’s decorating the den right now – and figure he can stay there until after Thanksgiving.

 

Since David is limited to the amount of ‘candy’ he can eat, we’re very particular about what we buy. Like most people he loves chocolate. And the Hershey’s Cordial Kisses are one of his all time favorites. We’ve not seen them since last Christmas – but we’re keeping a sharp lookout for them. Thought we might order some on Amazon since they seem to have just about everything you could want – and they did,  but at over a whopping $30.00 a bag !! – we had to pass. At that price, next time we see them, we’re going to buy all we can and store them in the freezer.

 

A favorite candy we both like is divinity. Pure sugar. For that reason, just like another favorite – the very delicious Bourbon Pecan Pie, we only allow ourselves to have it about once every two years or so. And, yeah !! This is the year!!!! My mom used to make the best divinity using a recipe from a very old candy cookbook. I would imagine that every divinity recipe is pretty much the same, but there’s just something special about using the same recipe from the same cookbook she used. Guess it might be all those little stains and worn pages – or maybe its those memories of standing on a chair watching her while she whipped the egg whites using an old, hand rotary beater. That was always an experience as the pot was constantly trying to get away – and she would occasionally let me try my hand at whipping the egg whites. Don’t know if I wasn’t big enough or coordinated enough – but never could get that rotary beater to work smoothly.  Thank heavens for today’s electric beaters!

 

The recipe below is the one from her ‘candy’ cookbook, circa 1941. (Note: The recipe calls for a wire whisk – guess we didn’t have one so the beater was substituted and candy came out just as well in the end.)

Mom’s Divinity

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Dissolve sugar, syrup, and salt in the hot water.
  2. Cook, without stirring to 248 degrees (firm ball stage)
  3. Wash down with a damp cloth any sugar crystals that may form on the sides of the pan during cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and pour gradually over the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly with a wire whisk.
  5. Add extract and continue beating until mixture will hold its shape when dropped from a spoon *
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls on waxed paper or spread into a buttered pan and mark in squares.

Note: Should the divinity become too stiff to manipulate, add a few drops of hot water to bring it back to spreading consistency. If for some reason it does not harden, cook it over hot water until mixture will hold its shape.

* Chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or dried or candied fruits add interest to divinity and should be added during the beating process.

 

PS – Pick a day when the humidity is relatively low to make divinity . . . it will turn out better.

 

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