My grandma Sara Jane preferred to be called Sally. She always brought cold celery sticks in glass gars of water to our house for every gathering. She said she was allergic to garlic until one day in her oldest years she declared her enduring love for garlic.
She was a fantastic cook. This recipe is in my mother’s handwriting, but it is my grandmother’s recipe. Spiced pecans smell like Christmas to me. Every year, I make a batch that I promise myself I am going to give away. They never, ever make it out of the house.
I love how the recipe is more like a list of suggestions. This is one of the recipes that is more procedure and guess than, say, a Martha Stewart cake where she asks us to weigh the bread flour. (hahaha). I like, too, how there’s no temperature. To test for doneness, just drop a ball of the cooking sugar in a glass of cold water. I like to imagine my grandmother as a sort of suburban pioneer, perfecting the sugar cooking arts with nothing more than a copper bottomed pot and a glass of ice water.
Do you have a recipe like this? That you know almost by heart but refer to it anyway?
2 C pecan or walnut meat
1 C sugar
1 scant tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs boiling H2O
Little salt & 1 tsp vanilla
Cook sugar until soft ball forms in cold water. Remove from fire, drop in nuts, stir until it is cool and sugars. Put on wax paper. Separate pieces when cold. (From the original recipe. Basically, cook sugar, add pecans and stir to coat. Drop on wax paper. Eat.)