Virtual Advent Tour: Christmas Fudge

Welcome to Day 19 of the 2011 Virtual Advent Tour!

Although this is my fourth Christmas blogging, this is only my second year of joining in the Virtual Advent Tour, since I hadn’t found it my first years. But, even in my first years of blogging, I still posted about the holidays. Here are some Christmas posts from the past you may enjoy.

Also, in 2008, I wrote a few posts on some classic Christmas books:

This year, I have decided to share one of my fun Christmas traditions: making fudge for the neighbors! I have enjoyed making chocolate fudge since I was a kid. It’s a family recipe. And then a few years ago, I found a white chocolate fudge recipe online.

Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 can evaporated milk
dash of salt

8 oz chocolate
2 cups nuts (optional)
a little less than 1 lb marshmallows (Use real marshmallows, not marshmallow fluff.)
12 oz chocolate chips

Directions

Bring the first four ingredients to a rolling boil for four minutes. (Note: Make sure it’s boiling vigorously for four minutes or it will not set right.)

Pour over the next four ingredients and stir well. Pour mixture into a 9×13 buttered or wax paper-lined pan. Let it sit until set, possibly overnight. Cut in squares. For an extra touch, roll squares in powdered sugar just before serving.

That’s it! It is pretty easy if you follow the directions. I’ve been making it since I was 16! It’s also very delicious!

White Chocolate Fudge

My white chocolate fudge is also very delicious. However, because I found it on a blog online, I don’t want to take the credit when it’s due elsewhere.  Go visit Lemonpi for an absolutely delicious recipe. Keep in mind that you want to use real, yummy white chocolate for this, not the cheap stuff. Yes, it’s very expensive. Yes, it’s very yummy in the end.

This season, I also made some peppermint bark, as well as some frosted sugar cookies. It’s been a fun way to bring in the holidays with a bit of sugar delight!

What do you bake or cook around the holidays to make the season bright?

See the others on the Virtual Advent Tour today:

Krissi @ Lighting my Light

Check back at Rebecca Reads for some more Christmas cheer throughout the next few days. I’m going to post Tuesday through Thursday on a few Christmas stories you may enjoy. ETA: I’m not on the ball in terms of getting posts up. Given the fact that I’m sure you’re all busy too, simply have a great Christmas holiday and I’ll be back when I can be!

The Kitchen as a Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking (essays)

Although I am an amateur home cook that struggles to enjoy the daily “what’s for dinner?” question and I also am far from a scientific thinker, I still enjoyed reading some essays about the scientific aspects of the cooking process. The Kitchen as a Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking (to be published January 2012 by Columbia University Press) is a collection of essays edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden. As with other anthologies, I found some essays worked for me and others did not. I skipped about five of the 33 essays, but of the others many were particularly memorable.Continue Reading

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

As I began reading The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway(2008), it seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t place why. I finally figured it out: it reads like a dystopian novel, where people are struggling to survive in an oppressive war environment.

The characters in the book struggle just to get the basic necessities of life, their freedoms have been curtailed, they dream of life in the “good old days,” and snipers wait on the hills, regularly killing civilians as they walk across the street. There is little political explanation, and the reader of the novel feels a bit troubled by the pointlessness of the environment that has been created. We share in the characters’ dismay at the world and ask “why?”.

But of course, Galloway’s novel is not a dystopian fiction but fiction based on a real situation. The Cellist of Sarajevo is a novel of the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted for almost four years from 1992 until 1996. Although Galloway’s novel is a fiction, with a compressed storyline (we never learn in the text when during the siege it takes place, but it’s clear it’s been going on for a while), invented characters, and made-up scenarios, the facts of the siege are reality, and some characters are inspired by real people. Each time I recalled the reality of the recent history this novel describes, the book became all the more shocking and painful to read.Continue Reading

English Literature by Jonathan Bate (Brief Thoughts on A Very Short Introduction)

I love the Oxford Very Short Introduction series simply because each volume does a fantastic job of introducing a deep subject in a concise yet detailed manner. The volume English Literature by Jonathan Bate surprised me in its approach on the subject, yet it was quite satisfying to read, not to mention it has encouraged me to become more familiar with the earlier English classics.

I had expected this Very Short Introduction to go through English literature in a chronological order as it discusses the eras in the literature of Great Britain. Instead, Bate approaches the subject more subjectively, first defining just what “English literature” could or should be, when and where we’ve encountered it, and how it’s a part of our culture. He then approached English literature through the common themes and writing genres of the written word (including essays, novels, poetry, and drama).

I read this more than a week ago and I really loved the reading experience. As often is the case when life is rather busy and I read a short book in a short timeframe, I’ve unfortunately forgotten a lot of the details that made this book such a satisfying read. When I first put it down I thought “I’ll have no problem writing a lengthy, thoughtful post on this book,” and now, of course, I cannot recall the many things I wanted to address about the book. It’s one I should revisit at different stages of my familiarity with English lit. I look forward to keeping on reading.

Now, if only Oxford University Press would produce a comparable volume on American Literature, then I’d be satisfied.