The Softball Stage

Grandma Kc wrote this on December 6th, 2013 12 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

Kc 1958-1959 School PictureMany of my childhood memories seem to revolve around food! I must have been at least 8 years old when my sister (7) and I and her best friend decided to make peanut butter fudge. I have no idea what possessed us to do it and we did it at her house! In my memory, her Mom had gone to the store and her older brother was probably supposed to be keeping an eye on us but you know how that can go! It was summer and he had better things to do.

We found a recipe in one of her Mom’s cookbooks and we set out to make our fudge. The recipe said to cook our fudge to the “soft ball stage”. Since we didn’t have a candy thermometer (did they have them back then?!) We would have to test our fudge to see if it had reached the softball stage by dropping a small amount from a spoon into iced WATER. If a ball formed, it was done. At least that is what the cookbook said.

We didn’t see any ball and so we just kept boiling and testing and boiling and testing and boiling and testing. Finally, we agreed that it had to be done so we put the pan of fudge into a big bowl of ice for a few moments and then let it sit for a while before we began to TRY and stir it! It had turned to peanut butter flavored cement. We were chipping it out with forks and gobbling it up when her Mom got home. I really wonder if that pan survived us!

I asked her recently if she remembered us making fudge. Her reply,

“No but I do remember making mud pies with you guys!”

12 thoughts on “The Softball Stage

  1. Joyce

    ohhh, so that’s what they called it back then….”inquisitive?” lol
    I still cannot figure out the “soft ball” and “hard ball” stages and avoid those recipes at all costs!
    I remember my sisters and I making a concoction of stuff we found in the fridge. Milk was part of it. We froze the stuff in an ice cube tray and then ate it, all of us pretending we loved it – but actually – yuck!

  2. Launna

    Haha Kc, this is such a cute story, scary that you were using the stove when you were so young, lucky that you didn’t get hurt. I wondered if the bowl survived it too… 🙂

    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I was going to email you and tell you that you made a comment last week about making fudge that your grandfather ate with a spoon and it is what reminded me of the peanut butter fudge incident! So thank you! We certainly were left much less supervised than children are today. The idea of Amara and her friends trying to make cooked fudge gives me a bit of chill!

  3. Olga

    That is a great story. It is so true that we had way more freedom than kids today. I was not an adventurer in the kitchen, but my sister could write stories like this for her grand children. She was always experimenting with cooking–probably why she is such a good cook today.
    Love the picture of you!

  4. KImberly

    So funny. I set down here to find my recipe for- what else- peanut butter fudge. I however take the guess work out with the use of marshmallow creme. You guys were certainly adventuresome. Amara looks like her mama and her grandma. Love that picture.

  5. Joyce

    I had to come back and read this again! It’s true – much less supervision when we were young! My sisters and I walked all over the neighborhood and beyond without telling mom where we were going and it didn’t seem to bother anyone. I’d freak out if I knew my grandkids were allowed that freedom today!

    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Our generation jokes about the fact we had to head home when the street lights came on. Growing up in Michigan that meant in the summers they didn’t come on until almost 10 PM and we loved it. Our parents didn’t worry as everyone knew everyone. It was simpler and you’re right about the freaking out part!


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