In addition to learning how to fly fish, I also learned how to make candy canes. Rather, I should say that I learned how candy canes are made. There is something about traditions that make the holidays that much better. This was a tradition that I was allowed to be a part of. Apparently, the tradition goes back quite a few generations and continues in the modest kitchen of an elderly couple from Layton.
I rang the doorbell and waited patiently on the porch for someone to open the door. The warmth of their home was the perfect contrast to crisp night air outside. They had just finished rolling/forming the candy canes from the first batch...black licorice. If you know me, you know I love black licorice. I sampled a few of the small broken pieces that had cooled just enough to be edible.
I was introduced to everyone as we waited for the second batch to be prepared. For those of you like me, who have never made a candy cane, I'll give you the readers digest version. The batter (I guess that's what you would call it) is brought to a boil on the stove. After it has reached the perfect temperature it his poured out onto a cold marble stone (the size and shape of a cutting board), as it cools it is folded over itself until it is 'cold' enough to be handled. The quotations marks are there because it is not really cold. In fact, it is still hot enough that if you were to hold it in your hands they would be burned quite easily. The flavor is added and then it is then placed on a hook where it is pulled, twisted, and then pulled again. It is to allow air to work it's way into the batter and 'cool' it quickly and effectively.
The stripes are then added to batter and it is pulled and rolled into smaller rolls and each is then individually shaped into candy canes. Apparently, that is the ONLY shape they are supposed to be made into. I was warned against making any other shapes...I deviated from that counsel and made a heart out of the root beer flavored batter. If you know me, you know I love root beer.
The third time is the charm. By the third time everyone had been taught the part they would play and it went off without a hitch. The third and final flavor...cinnamon. If you know me, you know I love cinnamon.
After the candy canes were formed and bagged, we were each given a treat bag to take home. After we had finished making the candy canes we sat and listened as they told stories of how they met, their courtship, and their lives in general. I love old people. It made me miss my own grandparents and the memories I shared with them. Those memories left a better taste than black licorice, root beer or cinnamon ever could. If you know me, you know I love my grandparents.