I was honored to receive a second place ribbon in the Kansas State Fair this year for my divinity. Actually, it was for my mom’s divinity recipe. In the last couple of years I’ve learned to make it because my best friend’s mom just loves it, and I make it for her regularly.
With her encouragement, I decided to enter some in the Kansas State Fair this year. I like to think – true or not – that if I’d had pecans in the house I would have gotten first. But, I guess it’s convenient that will remain a mystery. I’m sure if Mama had made it then it would have gotten first place.
It came with a $6 prize, which I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t cash it for quite a while because I was deciding if I should keep it for a souvenir. At the urging of people who understand accountants hate having checks uncashed, I eventually made a copy for a souvenir and cashed it. I have to say I can’t really tell you where that $6 went.
Last Christmas while I was in Kentucky visiting my family, I made a couple of batches of divinity. They were a big hit. My brother even bestowed the ultimate compliment on me:
“The divinity is good. It’s as good as Mama’s.”
Like me, and Mama, my brother doesn’t hand out compliments casually, so I knew he meant it.
My mom was famous for making divinity and won the purple grand champion ribbon at the county fair in Kentucky for it. Obviously, I have a ways to go!
My mom heard this on the radio in the 1930s and wrote it down.
Mary Lea’s Divinity
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites, beaten pecans to taste
Mix sugar, syrup and water. Stir together and then cook over medium heat without stirring. Beat the egg whites so they hold their shape. I go toward the “stiffly beaten” side as opposed to the “soft peak” side. When the cooked mixture spins a nice thread, pour it slowly into the beaten egg whites and continue to beat until it starts to “fudge.” When it will hold its shape you can spoon it out onto waxed paper to cool. I don’t add the nuts until I know it’s going to “fudge,” but if you’re confident you can put them in earlier.