Friday, November 28, 2008

Primary Flavors

Primary Flavors

So that the sweet tooths of the house (my own included) would stop gnashing at me about how little we have on hand to please (and also to rot) them, I boiled together three half-batches of rock candy early this afternoon: peppermint, anise, and cinnamon. Can you tell from the photo that I've never made rock candy before?

For one thing, I didn't know how much powdered sugar to lay out, and, in retrospect I used far too little. I also didn't boil the syrup long enough, so these batches didn't set up until each of them roasted for another 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Is. lent a hand on the first pan--yellow peppermint rather than green peppermint because her affinity for yellow things has not wavered. When Is. went down for her nap, Ph. took over; he led the production of the red and blue batches as I explained how I thought it should work (this was before we understood that we were undercooking the stuff).

The red and blue sheets side by side reminded me immediately of last month's election maps. Pans of colored syrup resemble land masses. Ph. and I kidded for a minute that someone (not us) could have become wildly internet famous if, during the election, they'd thought of using a Dremel tool to cut out the shapes of every state and then ate the non-winning colors as the electoral geography was determined on election night. Who wouldn't tune into YouTube to watch a Wolf Blitzer look-alike sucking on a cinnamon New York or an anise Texas as each state was called? Of course, the initial batches we poured, had we tried to cut them into states, would have looked more misshapen than Mark Newman's two-tone cartograms, and probably even less edible. And yet, the political landscape is, when all of the powdered sugar coating has settled, kind of gooey after all, isn't it?

I suppose an idea as flavorful as the cutting out and eating of state-shaped candies can hold over until 2012. Maybe the "Yes We Carve" folks would want to pick it up as "Yes We Confect." And thus, with no urgent message to get out in late November, tomorrow we'll crack up the hardened puddles into bite-sized pieces and eat them no matter whether they look like Maine, the Dakotas, or Michigan's U.P. With any luck we'll have a few shards of candy remaining to carry with us to dentist appointments in mid-December, incriminating evidence of our by-then fastsweetly-dissolving interest in connecting the dots between candy-pan geography and election maps.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at November 28, 2008 10:00 PM to Gobstuff

We make that every Christmas too, but we call it stained-glass candy. That may have to do with the fact that the original recipe was from a church cookbook, though. :-)


Posted by: collin at November 29, 2008 4:04 AM

Great photo. And I would much rather watch you and yours than Wolf Blitzer, or anyone on any of the big blathering talkitytalk "news" channels.

Posted by: cbd at November 29, 2008 3:08 PM