Tuesday, January 4, 2011



This day started out well enough. I checked email, did a little virtual farming, filled a big bag with giveaways for Goodwill, chose our contemporary group's church music for the next two weeks, sent emails to each of the group members, and picked out fabric for cat toys I'm making to sell at the vet's office. I had all that done and was planning to go get my allergy shots before 11:30 this morning. The nurses break for lunch at 11:30 and the office doesn't re-open again for allergy shots until 1pm. I'd wanted to get in there early. The office was closed yesterday, but did I call to check before I drove out there? Why didn't I think of that?
I was feeling rather good about having a productive morning and decided I'd like to make something for the mail carrier and trash collector since I'd not given them anything for Christmas. Since I'd had success with Peanut Butter Fudge and most people like it, I thought I'd make a double batch and have it cooled and packed in tins by the time the mail carrier came 'round today. How hard could that be? The recipe for peanut butter fudge is the easiest one I have and it's nearly foolproof. Notice I said, "nearly".
Do you know that feeling you sometimes get when things are going just a bit too smoothly? I had that feeling this morning. It would turn out to be an omen of things to come. I chose a large saucepan and measured out the ingredients for fudge, put them in the pan and turned on the stove burner. As I stirred the contents of the pan, I kept seeing little flecks of brown stuff. I fished one out and realized it was only a carmelized particle. Still, I didn't want it in my fudge. So I took out a strainer and poured the scalding hot fudge mixture through it and into a glass Pyrex bowl. That was fine except some of the particles went through too. I pulled out another strainer and repeated the process, but that time I spilled hot fudge liquid all around the glass bowl. Paper towels were handy and I thought it was no big deal. I only burned my finger a little bit and had just a few drops of the stuff on me, so I thought I was good to go. Right.
I put the pan back on the burner and stirred the mix until it started to boil. I'd set my timer for exactly four minutes and was congratulating myself for being so efficient, when it became apparent my sauce pan wasn't large enough to hold the boiling fudge mixture. I took it off the burner, but not soon enough. The hot liquid went spewing like an erupting volcano - all over the burner, the stove, down the front of the stove, onto the floor, and on me. Ouch! That stuff was hot!!! I grabbed paper towel after paper towel and tried to soak up the mess. Have you ever tried to "soak up" thick sticky fudge liquid? I found out it can't be done. I threw all the sticky paper towels into the sink thinking I'd deal with them after I finished making the fudge - IF I ever finished the fudge.
I stood there for a couple minutes wondering what I'd done to deserve such a mess when I was only trying to do something nice for someone. Then it occurred to me I'd used the big Dutch oven to stir up a double batch of fudge at Christmas time. I do wish my memory hadn't abandoned me. So...I pulled out the Dutch oven and transferred the big hot mess to THAT pan, leaving a little trail of hot fudge liquid as I did it. The simple fudge-making process had become a huge ordeal. What should have taken about 15 minutes, start to finish, had already taken about 45, and as yet, I had no fudge to show for it.
I was tempted to give up, but I'd only recently "resolved" to do better at following through with projects. I'm good at starting them, but I become frustrated when they don't turn out just as I want them to, then I tend to give up and put them aside. Well, it's pretty hard to put aside a big pan of boiling hot fudge mush, so I decided I needed to finish what I'd started. I reset the timer for three minutes since I was sure the fudge had received at least a minute's worth of boiling time before the big eruption. I stirred it constantly, as the directions advised and when the timer went off, I added the peanut butter. I used the mixer to beat it until it became thick, then poured it into the foil-lined pans, with no further problem. To my great surprise and relief, it came out just fine, but now I have a house that smells like burning embers, a sink full of sticky paper towels, a sticky floor, a scorched stove burner, and more pans dirtied than it takes to fix a holiday dinner. Plus, the best part is that my pans are the new Paula Dean ones that cannot go into a dishwasher. Now tell me, who in the world would manufacture cooking pans that can't be washed in a dishwasher? So I have my work cut out for me this afternoon. If I get the kitchen cleaned up in time, I might be able to make it to the allergist office before it closes for the day.
Was the fudge worth all the trouble? The jury is still out on that, but if the mail carrier and trash collector enjoy it, I'll call it a success. All they will know is they received some peanut butter fudge. They'll have no idea how much effort it took to make it, and that's ok.


Olde Spoon River Homestead said...

ummmm fudge sounds oh so good!!!!


You are a "winner' today!!!
I have been in your shoes before and probably with fudge!!!
I bet those two gifters will enjoy each and every bite!!!!
Hugs, di and miss gracie

Cat Haven Crafts said...

I see you've gotten your new pots and pans!!! :)