Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grandpa's Fudge

Don't you love when recipes have a story behind them?

My grandfather was the youngest of five children,
so he was not yet born in this picture of his parents and siblings,
but I love this picture anyway.

He grew up on a farm, and said he didn't even know the Great Depression was going on
because life was sufficient on their farm.

I loved hearing his stories of life growing up.
He helped to cut the huge ice blocks from the lake in the winter and watched as the draft horses pulled them to take underground where straw insulation helped to store them so that they could later be sold in the summer.
He told me of his own family horses he grew to love that helped with the field work:
 the friendship that kind of relationship built and the sorrow one felt at losing a good horse worker.
I listened eagerly to the episodes with his brothers:
one jumping over a creek only to land on an upturned axe and how his mother put salt pork on the wound,
and the other story about when one of them licked an axe in the frigid winter and went running home with it stuck in place.
Oh, the life of boys!

He met my red-haired spirited grandmother,
a town girl,
(pictured on the right of him below).
Her vivaciousness fitted well with his quiet temperament;
he knew she was the one for him.

 He served as a Sea Bee for our country.
Patriotism ran strong in him.

My grandfather loved kids,
and, although my grandmother did not share his desire,
she gave birth to seven of them.
She was often fiesty and ornery, but I could always tell that deep down
she really loved him.

My Grandfather lived during an era where a person did not rely on anybody else
to feed and care for his children.  He felt it was a shame to rely on the government to provide for him.
He worked a full week of work and on the weekends he cut trees for extra money.
My grandmother was a nurse and worked the night shift.

 Although not a builder, my grandfather, like many in his day,
found a way to do things he wanted done.
He and his sons built this summer cabin as a get-away from their city home.
My aunt still lives in it, although it has been added onto several times since.

 My memories of my grandfather are vivid.
He loved card games; he kept his woodstove burning hot with his neatly piled firewood;
he kept a steady supply of over-sized inner tubes for us to use for swimming in the lake,
as well as fishing poles and a special place to find a great stash of worms;
his garden was large and productive and a sense of pride to him.
He always loved the babies that came into his life, bouncing them on his knee singing 
"This is the way the gentlemen ride," and "K-k-k-Katy."

"Ah-yep," was usually the way he responded,
his New England accent heavy.

And his laugh...
I loved his laugh.

He had a hearty laugh that filled the room.
My grandmother would pester him, and he would usually just laugh.

He was thrifty
and taught me the "yard-sale rule":
"Always offer half the price,
never pay full."
He took me with him and my aunt to the dump on Saturdays whenever I came to visit
so we could see what kind of treasures somebody else might be getting rid of.
He'd laugh at my aunt for the hoards of things she'd find,
but he would haul them home and help her unload them.

And yet, as a blue collar worker all of his life,
when he retired, he bought the house my grandmother had always wanted
with cash.

When he passed away, he left each of his children a generous inheritance.

He lived the American dream:
he was just an ordinary man,
in ordinary times,
working ordinary jobs
with a days full measure of strength.

His work ethic, the large calloused hands that I couldn't help but stare at,
was something to be admired.
And I admire him for it;
and yet , in all of his manliness,
my grandfather was still the type that could find his way around the kitchen,
if need be.

He used to make fudge every Christmas,
Grandpa's fudge,
and I am thankful to have it.

So I share it with you today:
My Grandfather's Fudge.

First one makes the peanut butter base.

 (I halved this recipe,
and it made a pie plate of fudge).

Peanut butter base.

Next comes the melted chocolate with butter.

Once it is cooled in the refrigerator,
it can be sliced up.

This tastes especially good on a cold winter's night
after a jaunt through the snow,
relaxing by a toasty warm woodstove
with somebody special who has a heart-warming laugh.

I miss you,

Linking up to:

Grandpa's Peanut Butter Fudge


  1. I loved reading about your grandpa. So much.


    1. Thanks so much, Sue. You are so kind!!!

  2. What a wonderful story with wonderful pictures. Thank you for the recipe and for sharing your memories.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment! :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Myrna. He was special to me. :)

  4. Robin Matteson SiegfriedOctober 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    WOW Tonya!!, the first thing I thought of, when I saw the picture of your Great-Grandparents, was WOW!, how much your Great-Grandmother, and your Mom look exactly alike!, I'm glad that you were blessed that you have some wonderful memories to cherish and reflect on, and you can enjoy your Grandfather's fudge, and his recipe will be handed down to your children, and someday their families!

    1. Thank you, Robin. That picture does look a bit like my mom, although in real life, I don't think they looked much alike. It is fun to have recipes to carry down. Do you have any special family recipes?

    2. Robin Matteson SiegfriedOctober 31, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Unfortunately no!, My Mother's Mother wasn't a nice woman, I never met her, but she had 14 children, and gave 2 up for adoption right away, and the children she had, she didn't care about, so my Mom knew her parents and lived with them for awhile, but she grew up in Foster Care, and as a result did not learn how to cook until she was married!, and my Mom wasn't a bad cook, but she cooked the basics, and we don't have any handed down recipes etc, that's why Tonya, you're so blessed that you have wonderful memories of your Grandparents, and can continue their legacy to your own children, my other Grandmother passed away when my Dad was in his 20's and both of my Grandfathers didn't really acknowledge me growing up, so I don't have special memories., I pray you always cherish your childhood memories, and recipes, and I'm glad your children can share them with you too! xxoo

  5. Your story made me think of my grandpa. What an amazing generation they were. I wish my little man would have gotten the chance to know him and I hope I pass some of his wisdom onto Davey. A terrific way to remember your grandfather.

    1. Thank you, Mama Monki. :) Yes, I wish my kids could have had some memories of my grandparents, too. I'm so thankful for the fantastic grandparents they have though, both in my parents and my husbands. They're pretty spoiled. :)

  6. I could hear his laugh! What great memories of Grandpa!

  7. Awwww, this was a wonderful story.

    1. Thank you, Jenny. I love the old pictures of relatives. :)

  8. Tonya, beautiful story, wonderful memories to pass on to your children. Loved the pictures. Hope to try the recipe sometime. Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. Tonya, that was so nice. Made me cry. There was actually one more brother that was younger than Grandpa. There were 4 boys in the family. In the picture of Grandpa in his Sea Bee uniform, you will see a banner hanging in the window with 4 stars on it. The stars are for each son that is in the military. All 4 boys were serving in the war at that time. Grandma was at home with 4 sons of her own. Grandpa was a very hard worker and he loved his children. I miss him. And that is delicious fudge!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this story of your Grandpa! I loved hearing all about his life. I love that you have so many sweet pictures from that time.


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