For several years, we made fudge and popcorn on Friday or Saturday nights. Traditionally, my oldest brother Rick was the head cook. He was a great cook and organizer.
I think that the recipe was on the back of the Toll-House Chocolate Chips bag. The five of us each learned to make fudge from that recipe at different intervals of our growing up years.
Except maybe, my brother Jody. He depended on Bev and I to make his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until he left home. We worried that he would starve to death because he seemed so helpless in the kitchen.
Boy that fudge was good. I think that the more stale that it got, the better it tasted to me. We made the fudge in a round cake pan. It didn't have marshmallows in it either, except at Christmas time.
We had the old-fashioned popcorn popper that was two parts, the burner and the pan with a lid. Say what you will about air-popped popcorn being healthier, the old style was far more flavorful.
We didn't do anything special on those nights except that there was usually a Theisen Motors Movie on after 10:30 p.m. Since we only got one channel , there was no fighting over what to watch.
As I mentioned, my brother Rick was in charge. For some reason, he could maintain order whereas, after he left home, chaos reigned. Mainly because he cooked, supervised and kept us all from fighting with a superior authority unmatched to this day.
Once, Mom and Dad had to go somewhere overnight. Rick had cooked a dinner or lunch,that Jody and Buddy did not like. They tried a rebellion of sorts, but both of them ended up locked in barn for a day. Their food was slipped under the door. My mother did not know about this until we were all adults.
Christmas Vacations were memorable events. We had a "Spoons" marathon one year. There were several cousins staying at the house; so the playing table was full and intense. Chairs got knocked over, someone sprained their wrist and a few tempers flared from time to time.
It was great fun to play games at our house. If it was not a card game of sorts, we played Monopoly, Sorry or Life. I never learned the real rules to checkers until I was an adult.
Making fudge was a treat because we did not have candy in our house all that often. We only got sips of soda pop unless it was the homemade root-beer that we made in the summer time.
Our family time was not centered around the TV set most nights. We had chores and homework to do. Bedtime was fairly early on school nights because we had to get up pretty early for the bus.
I miss those traditions a great deal. It seemed as though when my older brothers left home things changed quite a bit.
Family time should not be structured every night of the week. There has to be some space for spontaneous things. Like getting into the car and going to the drive-in for an ice-cream cone. Or tacking a sheet onto the wall to watch home movies twice a year.
As young as I was when we started making fudge, I still can remember the aroma of chocolate and feeling excited as the fudge boiled on the stove. It seemed to take forever for it to cool so that we could eat it!
We are all grown now and with our own take on childhood memories. But I am sure that all of us would agree that making Fudge was something that we all enjoyed.