Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder, big fat liar

We've had back-to-back blizzards here in Kansas City. Right before Blizzard Number One, I actually got excited about all of the snow, because WCK and I could finally make the snow candy that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in Little House in the Big Woods. I've never made this candy, but I've wanted to for about 30 years. This snowfall, I was actually going to do it! Here is how it is described in the book:

One morning, she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow.

They made circles , and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day.

Doesn't that sound fabulous? Here are the sweet little girls making their beautiful candy for Christmas Day:

I don't care if I go blind someday! I have perfect snow candy!

And here is how ours turned out:

Epic snow candy FAIL!

This was the "good" batch. The other bowl looked a little bit like puke.

So, what went wrong? Clearly, it was not my fault. I've spent 30-plus years obsessed with all things Little House, so surely I can manage some simple snow candy. I think Laura Ingalls Wilder was obviously lying about the snow candy. I think pioneer life finally got to her and she went crazy and she was all, "I'm going to make up some outrageous recipe for something like, oh, I don't know, snow candy and see if anyone actually makes it! Hahahaha!"

I would not put anything past Laura Ingalls Wilder. Everyone pictures her looking like this:

La, la, la! Let's go pick wildflowers, Michael Landon!

But in reality, she looked like this:

Kill them all, Mary. Kill. Them. All.

See? She's a little bit shifty and terrifying. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Shel Silverstein could get together and have a demon baby.


Dr. JBD said...

Did you use real maple syrup, and not the abomination of modern science we call "syrup"? I saw a recipe recently that said you have to add butter and then heat it to a specific temp. I haven't tried it, but it was on Pinterest so it must be true.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog, Karen. I also love LHOTP! I recently read a medical study/article published in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics entitled: "Blindness in Walnut Grove: How Did Mary Ingalls Lose Her Sight?" Due to many factors that they researched for this article, they believe that Laura and her daughter Rose made revisions to Laura's memoirs and decided to attribute Mary's blindness to scarlet fever to make the story more understandable for children instead of explaining brain fever (now known as Meningoencephalitis).

Melanie Stringer said...

Sugar on Snow does work! I have seen it demonstrated here in he Northeast with real maple syrup but the trick is the syrup temperature vs.the snow temperature AND you have to move very, very quickly to make the designs. If you don't let it harden for a few minutes it will be very ugly indeed, and the snow needs to be packed tightly. It is much harder to do in a very warm room so the demonstrations are often outside or in an unheated shed/barn area. Check out Barbara Walker's Little House Cookbook if you haven't already. Barbara adapted all the food from the books to modern kitchens. Good luck!

Sandy said...

She looks like the Demon Snow Shape Shifter for sure... never ever use anything but real maple syrup - not for anything. That other stuff is blech...