This turkey ain't cooked

It's like a candy-making house of horrors around here. Yesterdays batch was even worse, turning into something that can only be used as hot fudge. And it's true, you guys are right, it still tastes good, but failing once is bad enough for me, failing twice is pretty much the end of the world. It has me wondering whether I'm just not good at this. This whole Christmas thing. I mean, I love Jesus, and I can identify with Mary, (about the having a baby part) and I am all about celebration. I just can't see to pull the rest of it together. And then that has me wondering about whether I'm just not good at this whole mom thing. Do all moms do well at Christmas? From my standpoint (which may be warped, it's true) it seems as though they've all got it under control. But maybe that's the beauty of childhood. All you see are the pretty lights, not the crying in the bathroom over the ruined Christmas presents (fudge).

I think I have PMS. Or something.

Anyways, back to the fudge. It is one of the only things in my life that I have learned to make in an old-fashioned girl to girl recipe way. My mom's spaghetti is another thing like this. My dear friend Amelia taught me to make it, with phrases like this:

"Wash the chocolate with the milk, to get it to melt into it smoothly. Wash it."

"Add the sugar and then a glop of Karo. No, not a glop like this, a glop like that. Just a glop."

"Cook until it's at soft ball stage."

"Place a stick of butter in it, and a splash of vanilla, and then cool it until you can stick your finger in and there is no impinging heat." (This is usually the point when we start dipping the pecans in it and eating them.)

"Stir the pecans in and keep stirring until it begins to lose the gloss. This is when you put it in the tins, when it will stack up."

Amelia is also famous for giving directions like, "Shake hands with the turkey. Can you shake hands with the turkey? Good. Then it's done," and "add just enough cream to my coffee to see it bounce back from the bottom."

Last year we made fudge together at her house in San Francisco, drank tea, went out for sushi while it was cooling, and then watched Project Runway after. I'm beginning to think that it's a good idea to just plan on doing that, if I'm going to make fudge.

Yesterday I called her, distraught. "I'm sure there was no impinging heat, Amy! I'm positive."

"How firm was your soft ball?"

"Weeeelllll... it was a little melty."

"I don't think your ball was enough of a ball. You probably didn't cook it long enough. It's like chemistry, Rae."


Anyways, fudge aside, I think I'm going to take a little break from writing here, for about a week. See you a couple of days after Christmas! Have a merry one!