Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Granny’s peanut brittle makes me think of Mary, Joseph, and the donkey.

Christmas 1989, Mike and I were expecting our first child, Brenda; she was due on the 24th of December. We were living in Richland Washington, a town in southeast Washington on the Columbia River. I had a craving for my grandmother’s home made peanut brittle so I called my granny and got the recipe, I still remember the clipped way she read a recipe, staccato voice. She told me to make it in the biggest pot I had because it foams up when you put the soda in.

There was a Fred Meyer, a department/grocery store chain in the Pacific Northwest, about a mile from our apartment. I figured I could just walk along the access road that ran beside the freeway up to Freddie’s, get the ingredients I was missing and come home. It would be good exercise for me. I walked every day in our apartment complex so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. I got my coat, hat and gloves and set out.

It was cold and fogy that day, temperature around 35 degrees. I walked along looking at the frost forming on the tall dry grass and sagebrush humming “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”. Halfway to the store, I quit humming. For some reason I thought of Mary and the donkey and the trip to Bethlehem. I thought if I were Mary I would have kicked Joseph’s butt, there is no way he would have got me on a donkey in my ninth month. Anyway, I made it to the store and did my shopping. It wasn’t until I was in the checkout line that it occurred to me not only did I have to walk back but I had to carry the grocery bags too. I was feeling better by then and I knew it was a downhill walk so; off I went in to the fog again. I must have been going at a snail’s pace or doing the very pregnant lady waddle or something because a black and white police cruiser pulled up beside me. Slowing to a crawl the trooper rolled down his window and asked if I was ok. I, of course, said I was fine. He just looked at me for a second and said, well be careful out here, put his window up and drove on.

I made it home fine and the peanut brittle came out perfect. To this day peanut brittle makes me think of Mary and Joseph. I wonder if the story would have turned out different if Mary hadn’t had the chutzpah to get on that donkey. I am sure Joseph heard about it the whole trip to Bethlehem if Mary was anything like my coffee lady friends and me, but in the end there was a sweet reward.

And I got my peanut brittle.

Below is Granny’s Peanut Brittle Recipe. DO USE A LARGE POT. It does foam up quite a bit when the soda goes in. Enjoy!

Peanut Brittle

1 ½ cup sugar

1 cup white Karo syrup

2 cups raw peanuts

2 table spoons margarine

1 teaspoon soda

Mix all the first 3 ingredients in a pan, high heat, until light brown, stirring constantly. Turn off heat. Add the soda and margarine mix well. Pour out on buttered cookie sheets. When cool enough to handle break into small pieces.

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