Fudge Making

When I was growing up, store-bought snacks were a rare treat. We ate the proverbial three square meals a day, occasionally topped off with homemade yeast rolls, a cake, fruit cobbler, or my favorite: banana pudding. Then there was mellorine, popcorn, and fudge, our main snacks.

In case y’all don’t know, mellorine is imitation ice cream, and according to Britannica, it is “made with less expensive vegetable oils instead of butterfat but utilizes dairy ingredients for the milk protein part.” (I haven’t seen it in stores in years, but think it’s still available in some areas.) I suppose Mama reasoned that if you have a houseful of kids and must make every penny count, cheaper imitation ice cream is better than no ice cream at all. My young self would have agreed; she loved the Neapolitan.

Mama used the big aluminum pan she cooked beans to pop the popcorn. She poured in a bit of Mazola corn oil when the pan got hot, then added the corn kernels, and a sprinkling of salt. Next, the lid went on, and it was shake, shake, shake until the popping stopped. It was a bunch of popcorn, requiring a large dishpan to hold it all. Us kids and Daddy (if he were home) made short work of it. Hopefully, Mama got a little too.

Then there was the fudge…made from scratch with Hershey’s Cocoa, a staple in Mama’s kitchen that’s still available today. The candy required only six ingredients, seven if you counted the nuts, but I wouldn’t say it was simple to make, especially if one didn’t have a candy thermometer, which we didn’t. I remember watching Mama and my older sisters mixing, boiling, and stirring, the stirring going on for quite some time.

We had a large black walnut tree in our yard that provided nuts for the fudge; but getting enough for a batch was as time-consuming as all the stirring. Black walnut shells are hard and thick, and when one finally cracks it open, fishing out the nuts is no easy task. We used a clean bobby pin to dig and gouge out the small morsels, breaking them into even smaller pieces in the extraction process. Fingers were stained, and patience was tested, but it was all worth it; the black walnuts transformed ordinary fudge into a gourmet delight.

My memory is a sketchy thing, recalling little about the first time I made fudge. But I do remember the aftermath: the candy didn’t set. I was so disappointed.

In her own sweet way, Mama lifted my spirits, turned a disaster (to me) into a cherished memory. She told me it didn’t matter, that the fudge would taste just as good eaten with a spoon. And in my mind’s eye, I can still see her and me doing just that: sitting in front of the fireplace, each with our own spoon, passing the pan of half-set fudge back and forth.

Down through the years, there were quite a few instances Mama kindly pointed out that something, which seemed important to me at the time, didn’t matter in the overall scheme of things. More often than not, especially when I was young, I didn’t grasp what she was trying to tell me; I had to get quite a bit older for it to sink in, for me to realize that most of the things I studied on and worried about really didn’t matter. But at least when it came to the runny fudge, when she and I were scraping it up with our spoons, I knew she was right: it didn’t matter, not one little bit.

Click here for fudge recipe

©️2020 KT Workman

Image via Pixabay

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KT Workman

KT Workman grew up in the rural South without the benefit of cell phones or the Internet, a time and place that has heavily influenced her writing. To this day, when she puts pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—nine times out of ten her mind veers south onto that old, familiar road. It goes home. KT resides in Arkansas where she writes a wide variety of gothic and speculative fiction, and dabbles in poetry.

14 thoughts on “Fudge Making”

  1. There’s something special about fudge and I’m sure your mother’s was delightful. In tourist towns and cities such as Royal Windsor and York we have visited little fudge shops where you can see it being made. Watch it being glooped around in the copper cauldron, then cooled off on the marble slab accompanied by plenty of witty banter; there is an art to making fudge and using it as entertainment. Hopefully all those watching will buy some.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen candy being made in a commercial establishment, but once on a trip to Wisconsin to visit relatives, husband and I stopped in at a local dairy and witnessed cheese being made on a grand scale. It was an interesting experience, and needless to say, we came home with a cooler filled with a variety of cheeses.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember it well; such a simple treat for a bunch of hillbilly kids. I still love black walnuts. I never eat them that I don’t think about our childhood. I PREFER warm, unset fudge (or no bake cookies) in a cup with a spoon. A beautiful story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Remember making fudge too. Still love it, though one piece is enough as my ‘sweet tooth’ fades. ‘Mellorine’ is a new word on me – an early sort of ice-cream in Victorian times, ‘hokey pokey’ (not to be confused with what they call hokey pokey in New Zealand, a sort of honeycomb flavour) was evidently adulterated milk and vegetable fat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One piece does me also, anymore. 🙂’Hokey pokey’ ice cream is a new one for me…since I like honey, honey flavor would be interesting to try.
      Thanks for the visit and comment. 😊

      Like

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