Last Sunday I had lunch at my grandmother's house - something I used to do every Sunday, and now only do on those rare treats when I go back to OKC to see my family. Last weekend, Mema had a hankerin' for pecan pralines, so late Saturday night, Mom gathered up all the praline fixin's and took them to Mema's when we picked her up for church early Sunday morning. After church, while lunch was being prepared and while I was trying to set the table (forgetting where Mema keeps the table cloth - mistakenly trying to use real plates, like when I was a kid, instead of using paper plates, which they've been using for years), Mom and Minli made the first batch of pralines. They stirred constantly and watched the thermometer rise to soft ball stage.
Mom spooned the pralines onto a buttered foil sheet; they were perfect, but there were too few. So the whole process began again - this time with light brown sugar instead of dark, and with Ling at the spoon instead of Minli. They stirred constantly and watched the thermometer rise to soft ball stage. Mom spooned those pralines out onto the same buttered foil sheet. They were perfect, too.
Mema loved these pralines so much - even more than she thought she would - and she sampled several of the both batches (light and dark) even before lunch.
We eventually sat down to lunch - with the paper plates of course. I think it was Minli, age 5, who fully explained the paper plate procedure to me, reminding me that "we onwy use weal pwates when it's somebody's buhthday and we use the special wed pwate." The last time I attended Sunday lunch at Mema's regularly was before Minli was even born. Everything has changed so much. Except for the things that have stayed the same.
After lunch we lingered at the table over dessert. "Judy's Pralines" - not yet on the market, but surely marketable - were so delicious that only the strongest among us could resist just one more ... just one more. Ling and Minli facilitated a poll to determine who liked the pralines with dark brown sugar and who liked the light. (We were about half and half; Mema preferred the light.) We divvied up the left-over pralines (into pairs, one each of dark and light) so everyone could take some home, in addition to parceling out any of the enchiladas that remained. As my friend Kim says - if you don't have left overs, you didn't have enough. But we had enough.
Indeed, we had plenty of all the things you could want.