Tag Archive | lessons

Mistakes

I was thinking of what to blog about, since it has been a while, and I currently find myself resisting my inspiration.  You see, I just wrote an entire sentence to introduce my topic, but skirted away from it with this one.  Perhaps I should title this procrastination instead of mistakes.  Deep breath.  Confess.

Perhaps you are chuckling because you realize that you, too, avoid admitting your mistakes.  Should Alexander Pope have coined, “To err is human, to confess divine”?  Having forced rather non-divine words into the poet’s mouth, allow me to take a step toward divinity.

What you see on this post is a picture of my “Chicken Taffy”.  Disgusting, isn’t it?  I posted this picture on my Face Book and asked my friends what they thought it was.  The conversation that followed included: gross, do I want to know, and yes disgusting.  

Here is the pitiful tale of the origin of the “Chicken Taffy”.  We were having an old fashioned hot dog roast as a church social.  I thought I would remain loyal to the theme and make old fashioned vinegar taffy.  That idea is gross enough.  Why had my attention from old-fashioned-cookies or old-fashioned-pie been drawn to something I’ve never eaten nor prepared,  I know not.  Nevertheless, I mixed the sugar, vinegar, lemon flavoring (I thought it would go nicely with the chicken), and water.  I boiled and stirred.  Boiled and stirred.  Boiled and stirred.  The cookies would have been done by now. Then I poured the mixture onto two cookie sheets and swirled in the yellow and tad of red food coloring (this is where the chicken part comes in).  I started to pull the slightly cooled taffy with my youngest girls.  The result was the darker reddish orange taffy.  I soon realized I had no idea what I was doing and called for my husband.

He had pulled taffy, but the fact that he had not pulled it in all our 13 years of marriage never stood out as a red flag that there was probably a reason.  Soon he had me tugging as he stretched the sticky mess across the length of the kitchen.  He would hand me the folded ends and pull again and again.  It became harder and harder (both in texture and difficulty).  Finally, we ended up with the lighter pieces.  I put them in a foil lined pan and as I looked upon the results and quickly became repulsed. 

It all looked liked cooked and uncooked chicken breast cut up into nuggets.  We tried a piece and almost lost a filling.  We joked about putting on a label that said “Chicken Taffy” but in the end didn’t have the heart to put it out.  It is still in my freezer, if you want a piece.

And so, there you have it.  What not to do with vinegar and sugar.  I’m sure there are many success stories of vinegar taffy.  You may have fond memories of making it with your grandmother in her country kitchen as fireflies danced outside the window.  I seriously doubt my grandchildren ever will, but perhaps one day I’ll convince my husband to give it another go. 

One of my talents is I’m fairly good at learning from my mistakes.  Someone (not Alexander Pope) said that if you learn from your mistakes, they aren’t mistakes but lessons.  Or something to that effect.  So the lesson I learned is, don’t attempt old-fashioned vinegar taffy unless you are in your grandmother’s kitchen with fireflies outside the window.  No?  Ok.  Don’t use yellow and red food coloring in the exact quantities I did or your taffy will look like chicken.  Just don’t ask me how much I used.  That’s a lesson you will have to tempt on your own.  Not because I’m being philosophical or anything.  I just didn’t measure.Image