Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I think the best time I ever had working for that especial time was that very first Christmas “on the hill” [Gilbert / Russell Ridge] when those little evergreens inspired me to attempt another something out of nothing and I enlisted Mabel’s interests and we put in all those long, long afternoons and evenings that otherwise would have hung heavy on our hands into doing things for the little folks and you remember how it surprised you when we had come and gone -- tramping thro the snow. Jack had you light the lamp again and together you inspected our handiwork. I think there were some funny-shaped eats in there, too, weren’t there? Well, anyway, it pleased everyone and the way you four Dobsons looked when we presented our trees was pay in plenty. Ida Jane Dickson Patchen on Christmas 1896, written March 5, 1922
PRALINES (Vance's recipe)
Servings: 20
Source of recipe: several
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar packed
3/4 cup medium heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. water
1/4 cup white Karo
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash salt
1 cup pecan halves
Combine sugars, cream, syrup, water, butter and salt. Cook over medium to low heat to 235. Stir frequently with wooden spoon. Remove from heat, add vanilla and cool for 10 minutes. Stir candy briefly and add pecans. Continue to stir but stop before candy loses gloss. This is very iffy. I guess practice makes perfect. -- Dobson. Try using muffin tins and put pecans in first, then spoon candy over. Grease foil or tins with butter.
This recipe is an example of my dad's experimentation. He started altering amounts and methods before he even tried the original. If you want to make pralines, I recommend that you find a recipe in a good cookbook or on trusted website and go from there.
The card here is special to me because it was sent to my dad by my maternal grandmother. This was Christmas 1946. My parents were married before Christmas 1947.


Chris said...

Mmm, as you know, I have fond memories of these litle gems. :-) Soo good. And actually, it was your Mom I remember giving them to me at my Christmas lesson, not your Dad although he may have. When I was older, I purchased one each Christmas at Klings and took tiny bites until it was all gone. Meanwhile, I'm up to my ears in flour as I replenish my cookies after using them all last weekend.

Leah said...

One thing I don't like about the "good ole days" is the way society dictated the use of a married woman's name. In my genealogy searches I've found newspaper clippings listing "Mr. & Mrs. A. B. Cee," for example. Maybe Mr. Cee has had several wives and you don't know which wife when reading the story. In the 1800's it was common for women to die young. The husband usually lived longer, marrying again and again. But, if a couple had a long marriage and neither married again, you would know the given name of the woman.

Good to see a nod to Dickens on the card. Cards today seem to have forgotten how important "A Christma Carol" is to the season.

Pralines are definitely a southern creation. Think pecan trees that grown only in the south.

Leah said...

Kathy: Thanks so very much for the enormous amount of time you have given to the Blog this month. The delightful holiday recipes and charming cards have been a trip down memory lane. Each family has their own traditions at Christmas time and you've made each one of us remember years past through the recipes or cards.

May your Christmas be happy and the New Year full of challenges that are not above your reach.