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This month’s featured center pieces of Cream & Toffee have taken me back to my long-gone childhood. Before the days of cell phones, artificial Christmas trees, computers, tropical vacations, even color TV, we enjoyed a simpler, hands-on life-style. What may be considered “work” now was often a form of family bonding and entertainment.

Growing up on a rural farm, my parents taught us to have fun while nurturing both our creativity and productivity. Dad made sure we could hold our own doing barn chores and working in the fields. His specialties were handling animals, mechanics and growing field crops. He blessed us all, as we inherited his insatiable Sweet Tooth.

Mom made sure when we grew up we’d be able to feed and clothe our future families. She taught me gardening, canning, raising chickens, sewing, cooking and baking. She blessed us with her ability to keep our Sweet “Teeth” happy, and our sugar cravings at bay.

Always a dime short, we bought only what we couldn’t grow, make ourselves, or barter for. Birthdays and holidays on the farm meant food, decorations and gifts – all home-made – to share. And lots of sweet treats, like Mom’s special taffy.

Thanks to Taffy (the “old fashioned” word for Toffee), our relatives and friends always looked forward to receiving gifts of Sweet Tooth Taffy from our house to help them celebrate their special days.

Mom made her taffy by mixing water, sugar, corn syrup and salt together, and then heating it to a “hard ball” stage on the stove. She had to stir it constantly until it formed into a ball shape to keep it from burning. Then she’d remove the mixture from the heat, and mix in butter, flavoring and coloring.

As the mixture cooled, it was all hands on deck. We all pitched in, working in pairs, repeatedly “pulling” it by hand, turning it into a fluffy, creamy confection. Except Mom. Her job during pulling was to keep Dad and us from eating too much of it as she cut and wrapped the individual taffy bites in waxed paper.

Mom pretended not to notice Dad’s pockets bulging with candy. His secret was safe with us kids, because he was a really great Dad and always shared his stolen goodies. We fought each other for “barn duty” the day after a taffy pull, knowing we’d be sweetly rewarded . . .

This  Month’s Heavenly QUESTION from Your Favorite Chocolate of the Month Club:

“CREAM & TOFFEE, ANYONE?”  Center pieces are SWEET TOFFEE ONE EACH DARK AND MILK CHOCOLATE  Outer pieces include WHITE CHOCOLATE with LEMON CREAM, DARK CHOCOLATE with PINEAPPLE CREAM, AND MILK CHOCOLATE with CHERRY CREAM

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Tracie Burket
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