an intermission

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the past couple of weeks. Maybe longer, even.

Take this post, for example. I was planning to share a recipe with you – a recipe for peach cobbler bars, one that I know you’ll love – along with a story about summer, or maybe about peaches, or possibly about time spent with friends and family. Instead, I’ve written ten different first paragraphs, and I’ve stopped just long enough after each one to realize that the paragraph is crap.  And then, I’ve tapped the backspace key rapidly until each offending word is gone.


The last month has been tough. We buried my father-in-law two Thursdays ago. The service was beautiful, a loving tribute to the wonderful father of my husband. My children were so well behaved that I’m certain people assumed we drugged them. (We didn’t.)

The visitation was the night before the funeral, and it was an open casket viewing at the funeral home. People whose lives were touched by my father-in-law — and there were so very many — stood in line for over an hour to give their condolences to our family, to hold our hands and to give embraces.  My father-in-law and my dad have overlapping circles of friends, and so many of these people who came through the line asked about my father. That was hard. So much harder than I expected it to be. I didn’t have a good answer. “He’s okay,” I’d say. “He has good weeks and he has bad weeks.”

I cried a lot. The visitation felt like a practice run for my own father’s funeral.

Not surprisingly, I’m still coming to grips with some of the emotions I felt that night.

And all of this is to say that I’m not ready to simply share a recipe post with you. A recipe seems meaningless right now.  And any words that I might have to say about that recipe? They just seem trivial.

But the making of the recipe? The hands on time in the kitchen? Prepping green beans with my kids, roasting a chicken, churning ice cream? I’m finally doing this again, after feeling out of practice. It’s wonderful.

sous chefs

Please know that I am fine. My children are fine — great, actually. My husband is okay, and he seems to be doing better each day.

We’re taking a much-needed beach vacation in less than a week, and I fully intend to have an amazing time on that trip. I’m going to read a lot of books. I plan to let the sun warm my pale skin while the turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico cools my red-painted toes. I’m going to drink wine with friends, and I’ll probably eat too many fried foods. We’re going to laugh and play in the water and ride bicycles and stay up too late. I’m going to do my best to beat Sam and the kids in Monopoly, and I’m going to try even harder to not answer work emails immediately.

But I’m not going to share any recipe posts for a little while. Maybe a week. Or perhaps two. I’m not quite sure yet. When I’m ready, when I’m not feeling so much pressure to write, then I’ll be back here.

And, as always, thanks for waiting.

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21 Responses to “sweets for the sweet: grandmother’s potato candy”

  1. 1
    LiztheChef — December 6, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    Are you aware that when someone is reading your post(s) that a band shoots across, saying “recommended for you”? It really turns me off. Your blog is so popular that I thought others might share the feeling, which is why I bring it to your attention. Meaning the best, Liz

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — December 6th, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

      Try it now, Liz.

  2. 2
    SMITH BITES — December 6, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

    such wonderful memories MJ – am thrilled you are now the keeper of the recipes!!

  3. 3
    Leigh — December 6, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    What a beautiful, touching post. I totally want to make some now.

  4. 4
    Macaroni Mama — December 6, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

    A wonderful post! I never, ever . . . ever believed that my 88 year old mother would be MY Care-Giver!. Grandmother is so proud of you, Merry Jennifer

  5. 5
    katie — December 6, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

    I’ve never heard of potato candy, but I have to say I’m intrigued! Your grandmother’s recipe is bringing me back. My grandmother had very similar cursive and very similar stained, worn pieces of paper with recipes on them. But most of all I’m blown away seeing the word “Oleo”! I haven’t heard that term used in soooo long! Another memory of my grandmother 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  6. 6
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — December 6, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

    I love the hand written recipe and the connection to your grandmother… though, it does feel a little bitter sweet. You, your mother, and your grandmother have been so strong this past year! Sending you hugs!

  7. 7
    jenn s. — December 6, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    I have my late Great Aunt Jewel’s recipe for cream cheese poundcake and it is absolutely priceless. One glance at that stained, crumpled paper with the slanted cursive and I am transported back in time to her kitchen where I would help her roll out biscuits (eating dough until my belly was swollen and achy!) and mix up cake batter. She always let me lick the bowl. I make her cake frequently and think of her everytime the sweet, buttery smell of poundcake fills my home. I miss her, but I feel her with me when I cook.

  8. 8
    Paula — December 7, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    The potato candy looks delicious but the content of this entire post is so beautifully written. You have a gift with words and spinning them together to tell a story that draws your readers into, carefully savouring every word, wanting more and feeling a little disappointed when the post comes to an end, even though we have been fulfilled, inspired and uplifted.

  9. 9
    Kathryn — December 7, 2011 @ 3:54 am

    This was such a wonderful post, you describe the relationship between your parents and grandmother with such love and tenderness.

  10. 10
    Janis — December 7, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    I love this post. My grandma was my best friend. I have some of her recipes and they mean everything to me.

  11. 11
    Lucy — December 7, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    The stains make it the most prized of treasures – tried and true! Love the story behind this and I’ve always wanted to try this candy recipe. Wishing you the blessings of the holidays with your family!

  12. 12
    Mary Constant — December 7, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    What a unique candy! “Eat, drink and be Merry” Someone gave me some cocktail napkins that have “Eat, Drink , and…who’s Mary”

  13. 13
    Nicole — December 7, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    I have never heard of potato candy before! I’ll have to try this one soon. Something about using family recipes that are worn and splattered is one of my absolute favorite ways to create in the kitchen.

  14. 14
    Efthimia — December 8, 2011 @ 1:57 am

    The power of grandmothers, whether in a hug or on an old recipe card, is trully remarkable. I lost both mine a few years ago, and I still see them stapling the family together to this day, their legacy being their love.

    And their cooking skills as well. 🙂

    I’ve never heard of potato candy but it sounds delicious, not to mention easiest candy ever. I’m definetely trying this for the holidays. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope everything turns out well.

  15. 15

    That’s the best gift to receive. When my grandmother had to move out of her home I was the one who got all her old recipe books and handwritten notes and I am go grateful for that gift.

  16. 16
    Jessica @ How Sweet — December 8, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, heart-warming story. I have my grandmother’s recipes and have always eyed the one for potato candy but been too scared to try. Love that you did this.

  17. 17
    Marla — December 10, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    Such a sweet story of true family bonding and support.
    I have never heard of potato candy, but it sounds wonderful!

  18. 18
    Michelle Kreifels — December 21, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    Very sweet story. I inherited all of my grandmothers photo albums. I miss the days when you actually held a stack of photos in your hand. I am really looking forward to trying this recipe. I have never heard of potato candy!

  19. 19
    Denise @ Creative Kitchen — December 22, 2011 @ 12:54 am

    Loved this!! Felt like I got to know you a little better. I, too love the stained old recipes. Merry Christmas!

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