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A "Divine" Christmas Memory PDF Print E-mail
Written by Carol Martino   
Sunday, 03 December 2017 15:50

A “Divine” Christmas Memory

The absolute perfect Christmas gifts are wrapped in warm memories and holiday traditions -- like Sisters’ Day Out, 2010.

In prior years, my sisters and I celebrated a special sister day by taking the metro to Chicago where we admired the city's holiday decorations, did a bit of shopping, enjoyed a leisurely lunch, and then went to the theatre to see the latest play. Mom made us jingle-bell necklaces to wear for the occasion, and every year we toasted her love with a glass of wine.

But in 2010, a winter storm kept us homebound. The wintery day stretched before us like an unexpected gift; we asked Mom to teach us the fine art of making divinity, her Christmas specialty. And, we had the best Sisters'  Day ever!

We’ll always remember that afternoon when she passed down the precise techniques of making her divinity, step by step.  Now, we appreciate more than ever just how tricky this classic, fluffy-white confection is to make from sugar and egg whites!

Mom coached us through the time-honored recipe in her old cookbook, dissolving sugar, syrup and salt in water over low heat. We learned the importance of  key ingredients needed for the unforgiving process.  – patience, staying power, and a good candy thermometer.

As we waited for the sweet mixture to reach the “firm ball stage,” she said, “Be patient; don’t stir it.” But as it bubbled up in the pot, we each felt the need to stir it. “Stop stirring it!” she said. We chuckled at her sudden burst of authority and put down our spoons. Mom chimed in with her own laughter.

When it was time, we beat the egg whites to perky peaks. Then, at just the right moment, we slowly poured the bubbling mixture over the egg whites, beat a while longer, added vanilla, and continued beating until the mixture thickened enough to drop from a spoon without being too gooey. The entire process took a delightfully long time.

The end result - a precious memory that was worth the wait.  Together, we had made a perfect batch of divine candy which was spooned onto waxed paper and enhanced with walnuts, pecans and cherries.

But the greatest gift for us that afternoon was rediscovering Christmas as we felt the thrill of childhood once again, a time when Mom arranged the sweet divinity around her scrumptious chocolate fudge and the sugar cookies we helped cut out and decorate with icing, sprinkles and glitter.

We recalled the time-worn cardboard manger that graced the TV, the snowman Mom whipped up with Ivory Snow Flakes and placed on the dining room table, windows flossed in die-cut winter scenes, and Bing Crosby crooning "I'll be home for Christmas" from the record player in the dining room.

The Christmas season was Mom's favorite time of the year. Her holiday heart beat through the multi-colored lights that brought comfort and joy to every nook and cranny of our home and our  hearts.

In later years, Santa no longer came by sleigh. The jolly spirit arrived by way of Mom.  She has blessed us with rich Christmas memories, and since her passing in 2012, the holidays have never felt right without her.  Still, we can feel the pulse of her joy, and when we hear the song,  "I'll be home for Christmas," it's comforting to know that she is Home. And we bask in the "love light" and the memories that gleam in our hearts.




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