I have this great memory of handmade Christmas candy so exquisite it had to be stored in special containers in the guest bedroom of my grandmother’s house. (The room wasn’t heated, so the candy kept well.) Fondant pecan logs, date loaf, divinity that deserved a capital “D”, fudge made with actual cream and butter.
My grandchildren will not have these memories.
Unfortunately, I’m not passing down any handmade delicacies. Except one. I call it the “Leon Thurman Special” in honor of the man who developed it. Or at least it was discovered at his house one long winter’s evening of my childhood. Back in the days before video games or television with more than three channels, we had to make up our own fun. For our family, that meant playing cards with Leon, Maxine, and their kids.
We didn’t have any first cousins in our family, because our parents both grew up as only children. So the Thurman clan filled that gap. We shared vacations and sports teams, classrooms and church pews. And, we played cards.
One night, we added a game called, “Who can create the most gross snack?” I really think Leon came up with this sandwich made from two saltine crackers, some spicy mustard, and a squished candy cream drop. I’m sure I ate it on a dare. And I probably kept eating it just to prove I was as tough as the boys.
But, for some reason, I’ve loved this strange concoction ever since. Maybe because it has only three ingredients and doesn’t require a candy thermometer. Or maybe because it is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and tangy in one perfect bite.
Or, maybe, just because it reminds me of Leon. And Maxine. And winter nights of fun with lots of people I love.
You should try it.