“A candymaker? That’s what you want to be when you grow up, Cole?”
“Yes, Granny. I want to be a candymaker.”
Six-year-old Cole looked at me in a solemn, serious manner during our Thanksgiving days together as he sat at the kitchen bar, and I had inquired of his long-term ambition.
How many times I’ve asked that question to how many numbers of children I cannot say, but, despite their universal love for the sugary treats, I have never heard another child voice the plan for such occupation. Usually its truck driver, fireman, policeman, preacher, nurse, mommy or…I don’t know. Never before a candymaker.
Last week I called. “Cole, when we all get to Crestline next week, I’m going to teach you how to make peanut brittle. Since you’re going to be the candyman of the family, you and I will be making some candy.”
He was quiet, then softly answered me, “Okay, Granny.”
Yesterday was the day. He was so excited as I walked him through each step, even to pointing out a large pan, stored in the recesses of the deep cupboard where I keep pans and utensils I don’t use frequently. His little body nearly disappeared as he reached way back and pulled out the heavy pan, which actually is an old pressure cooker, the best to cook up a pot of peanut brittle.
He scooped up the 3 cups of sugar, then held out the cup while I poured in the white syrup. “Now we need a half cup of water,” and as I watched he turned on the faucet and measured in the water. Once during the mixing process, he spoke, unsmiling, to his mother.
“Write it down, Mom. Write it down…Maybe I can’t remember when we get home.”
“Okay, Cole,” Shawnna replied, as she reached for pen and paper.
I carred the heavy pot to the stove, he dragged over his climbing stool, grabbed the large wooden spoon and began stirring.
After a bit of stirring, he moved back to the counter, measured out the peanuts, cut a stick of butter into correct portions, and with my help measured the salt and soda. I had told him from the beginning there was a part of the peanut brittle making that he would have to just watch, so when I judged the concoction ready, he tipped in the soda, salt and butter, while I stirred vigorously. His parents were close by to watch him as I poured the hot mass into the pans which earlier he had buttered.
Cole, the candyman had cooked his first batch of perfect peanut brittle. Later this morning if the predicted storm holds off, I’m bundling up all the youngsters, and any adults who want to join us, and we’re walking to the neighbors. We’re handing out bags of candy.