Eventually, I learned how to make all of these treats. In my teen years, toffee making became a source of income for me during the Christmas season. My mom’s best friend, Sydne, is an incredible florist who hosted a holiday boutique every year and she let me sell my toffee at it. Then, after I went off to college and my mom died, I kind of gave up on the toffee making. Every couple of years I’d make a batch at a sibling’s request, but other than that, it just wasn’t my thing.
During the Christmas season, when I was a little girl, my mom would make batches and batches of caramel, fudge, toffee and other such treats to take to our neighbors and friends (sometimes these drop-offs actually included caroling, too). I remember the caramel being so mesmerizing as the bubbling sugars transformed to caramel when my mom added cream and vanilla. I loved licking (and still do) the spatula after my mom spread the melted chocolate over the toffee. And so on and so on.
Then last year, as Monica and I were trying to decide what to give some professors who were volunteering for an activity, and stay within our very limited budget, I suggested that we could make toffee. So, with Monica’s help the toffee making was on. I don’t remember how many batches we made, but I do remember learning that stirring the toffee as it was cooking was not only unnecessary, it actually didn’t help. (The hours and hours of stirring I wasted in my teenage years…) I also discovered my favorite kitchen tool ever, which is not a kitchen tool at all; a laser thermometer. I will never use a candy thermometer again. (Thank you to Justin and Cherity yet again for the fabulous birthday gift last year!)
Fast forward to this year. I decided that I would be making toffee for my coworkers. So, a couple of weeks ago, I did a test batch. I had to try out making toffee on my little stove with my pot in a different climate. As I said, execution can be a little tricky. It turned out great! Since then, I have made five batches with only one more to go.
And here’s where the love comes in. Whenever I do anything that I learned from my mom, it reminds me how lucky I was to have her, even if it wasn’t for nearly long enough. And as strange as this may sound, I can feel how much she loved me whenever I’m doing anything that reminds me of her. She taught me so much in the short 18 years I got to have her around.
While I’ve obviously learned a lot in the 15 years since she’s been gone, who I am today is a direct result of who she was. She didn’t just teach me how to cook. She taught me about generosity and thoughtfulness as we cooked treats for our neighbors and friends. She taught me love and patience, through her example, as she took the time to teach me how to do something that she could have done much faster on her own. And finally, she taught me that the only way to learn is to try and keep trying until you get it right.
And now the giveaway. Leave a comment for a chance to win a bag of toffee to be sent directly to you from me (or a holiday mix cd should toffee not be your thing or should you be concerned about getting candy through the mail). The winner will be chosen on Sunday, so you’ve got some time…and I will use a random number generator to make sure that it’s fair.