If you came here hoping for a recipe this week, there isn’t one. There have been a few baking failures around here this year. Most I don’t mention or I re-make them, baking and re-baking to figure out what went wrong, sharing the version that actually works. This time I had an absolute failure that could not be rescued. I did not have enough time (or eggs) to try again. Divinity is a naturally gluten-free treat, no modifications necessary so it should have been straight-forward. It wasn’t. Oh, divinity, why must you be so tricky?
When I was a kid, my mom would make divinity every year to mail to my sister in Florida for Christmas. My mom said my sister couldn’t make it in Florida because the humidity prevented it from setting up. I can remember her watching the candy thermometer very closely and then pushing out these odd white blobs of sugar-y goop onto never-ending sheets of wax paper. It seemed to make thousands of pieces of candy. My job was to sprinkle the top of each piece of divinity with either red or green sugar. It never seemed that hard to me. The next day we would pack it up in a tacky Christmas tin and mail it to Florida.
So I found myself at the end of my 52 Sweets journey and I was feeling confident. How hard could candy-making be? It can’t be as hard as baking. Well, it was hard. Seriously difficult. I followed the recipe exactly, keeping a close eye on both the candy thermometer and the clock. I whipped the mess of syrup-y stuff for as long as it said to and then more…and more…and yet more. It didn’t look anything like divinity!
Earlier in the week my friend Tina mentioned she was also making divinity. I frantically texted her, asking if divinity should look like puddles. She said no, whip it more. I did. Still nothing. It just wouldn’t set up. First it would look like it might hold some shape, then I would step out for a moment only to return and find divinity puddles. Little lakes actually. It was a total failure.
Tina rescued me and saved the final sweet of this year’s journey. She brought me a ziploc bag full of delightful, fluffy little blobs of white sugar-y goodness. I put them in one of those tacky Christmas tins and shipped it to Florida.
Two days later, I got a text message from my sister, “The divinity is my fav. A picture of me with the divinity?” It had arrived, complete with my note asking for a picture with the divinity for this blog. She indulged me and sent a few pictures.
I learned two things from this: candy-making is hard and a Sweet Friend will often save the day. Tina turned my project around, bringing me a Sweet Treat which saved my project from not being finished on time. It also made my sister very happy. Thanks, Tina!
About my sister…who is technically more than a friend since we are related but she makes a terrific Sweet Friend. I saved the last spot especially for her. Many of my Sweet Friends this year have been my Chosen Family. This week my Sweet Friend IS my Family.
My sister is a bit older than me, has a son older than me and I didn’t spend much time with her growing up. I would see her for maybe a couple days a year. The relationship wasn’t a close one, as we are from a divided family. One might think we wouldn’t have much in common or be anything alike..
When my husband and I decided to get married in Florida, I asked my sister to be my maid of honor. She had not met my fella but said she would be there. Two days before our wedding, we talked about what she should wear. She went shopping the day before our wedding with my dad (oh my, shopping with my dad for a DRESS?) and got a dress at a thrift store. My dad told me it was a nice dress and she had spent the day altering it to fit. I was a little worried, but trusted my dad and knew it would be okay.
My sister arrived at my hotel room on our wedding day to help me get dressed. She asked to see my dress and said, “Hmmm.” I wasn’t really sure what that meant until I saw her dress. It was identical to mine, only in a beautiful sea green color. Fifteen years later, this still makes me laugh. I spent too much money and too much time fretting about this dress. And then my sister gets an identical one at a thrift store, for something like $6. And it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Even though I grew up a thousand miles away from my sister, we have so much in common. In our case of nature vs. nuture, nature has certainly won out. We share many of the same abilities and talents, our viewpoint on many things is similar. We both suffer from a serious case of wanderlust and enjoy the wind in our hair…her on a motorcycle and me in a convertible. We both like a bargain and aren’t opposed to a little dumpster-diving for a great find to redecorate the living room, especially if it’s a find we can paint or re-finish. And the crafting that goes on between the two of us…it’s best to just stay out of the way when we get together!
So there you have it…I’m wrapping up my 52 Sweets project with a Sweet I didn’t make and sharing it with a Sweet Friend who just happens to be Family. I love that this project is ending this way, reminding me that it’s about more than the Sweets and you never know where you will find a Friend.
Stayed tuned…I’ll be sharing 2011’s 52 Project soon!
I really enjoyed your story about your sister. What a unique dress story! I also liked hearing your divinity failure. I feel like I have a good handle on cooking, am okay at baking, and am terrible at candy. Thanks for being willing to be honest and real.