“My mother taught me how to make fudge, and we didn’t have a timer in the kitchen because it broke, so it was my job when I was little to watch the second hand on the clock and every time another minute passed, I would take a playing card and put it on the table so that we would be able to keep track of the minutes and we would know when we got to six it was time to stop boiling the sugar and milk. Then when I got older, I would either do the marshmallows and the butter or the sugar and the milk, we would each take one pot. And then I taught you, although you did not get the fun of putting the cards on the table. I don’t know why my mother was so cheap, year after year after year not buying a timer, but it’s true, for years we didn’t have a timer.”
This tradition occurred every year in December, in preparation for Christmas. Fudge is rather difficult to do alone (as both pots have to be stirred constantly and then combined when they are at the same temperature), and thus in my informant’s family it became a tradition in order to get children interested in making it, and then willing to help with the process as they aged. It has been passed on to the second child in the family for two generations, though quite possibly just by chance. It’s an activity that the mother and daughter to together, thus spending time with each other through the production of food to feed their family over the holidays.
12 large marshmallows