Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Taffy Pull

"I know how we can have a lot of fun!" Raggedy Andy said to the other dolls. "We'll have a taffy pull!"
"Do you mean to crack the whip, Raggedy Andy?" asked the french doll.
"He means a tug of war, don't you, Raggedy Andy?" asked Henny.
"No," Raggedy Andy replied, "I mean a taffy pull!"
"If it's lots of fun, then show us how to play the game!" Uncle Clem said. "We like to have fun, don't we?" And Uncle Clem turned to all the other dolls as he asked the question. "It's really not a game," Raggedy Andy explained. "You see, it is only a taffy pull."
"We take sugar, water and butter and a little vinegar and put it all on the stove to cook. When it has cooked until it strings way out when you dip some up in a spoon, or it gets hard when you drop some of it in a cup of water, then it is candy."
"Then it must be placed upon buttered plates until it has cooled a little, and then each one takes some of the candy and pulls and pulls until it gets real white. Then it is called Taffy."
"Just one moment!" Raggedy Andy said. She had remained quiet before, for she had been thinking very hard, so hard, in fact, the two stitches had burst in the back of her rag head. The dolls, in their eagerness to have the taffy pull, were dancing about Raggedy Andy, but when Raggedy Ann spoke, in her soft cottony voice, they all quieted down and waited for her to speak again.
"I was just thinking," Raggedy Ann said, "that it would be very nice to have the taffy pull, but suppose some of the folks smell the candy while it is cooking,"
"There is no one at home!'' Raggedy Andy said, "I thought of that, Raggedy Ann. They have all gone over to Cousin Jenny's house and will not be back until day after tomorrow. I heard mama telling Marcella."
"If that's the case, we can have the taffy pull and all the fun that goes with it!'' Raggedy Ann cried as she started for the nursery door.
After her ran all the dollies, their little feet pitter-patting across the floor and down the hall.
When they came to the stairway Raggedy Ann, Raggedy Andy, uncle Clem and Henny threw themselves down the stair, turning over and over as they fell.

The other dolls, having china heads, had to be much more careful; so they slide down the banister, or jumped from one step to another.
Raggedy Ann, Raggedy Andy, Uncle Clem and Henny piled in a heap at the bottom of the steps, and by the time they had untangled themselves and helped each other up, the other dolls were down the stairs.
To the kitchen they all raced. They found the fire in the stove still burning.
Raggedy Andy brought a small stew kettle, while the others brought the sugar and water and a large spoon. They could not find the vinegar and decided not to use it anyway.
Raggedy Andy stood upon the stove and watched the candy, dipping into it every once in a while to see if it had cooked long enough, and stirring it with the large spoon.
At last the candy began stringing out from the spoon when it was held above the stew kettle, and after trying a few drops in a cup of cold water, Raggedy Andy pronounced it "done."
Uncle Clem pulled out a large platter from the pantry, and Raggedy Ann dipped her rag hand into the butter jar and buttered the platter.
The candy, when poured into the platter, was a lovely golden color and smelled delicious to the dolls. Henny could not wait until it cooled; so he put one of his chamois skin hands into the hot candy.
Of course it did not burn Henny, but when he pulled his hand out again, it was covered with a great ball of candy, it strung out all over the kitchen floor and got upon his clothes.
Then too, the candy cooled quickly, and in a very short time Henny's hand was encased in a hard ball of candy. Henny couldn't wiggle any of his fingers on that hand and he was sorry he had been so hasty.
While waiting for the candy to cool, Raggedy Andy said "We must rub butter upon our hands before we pull the candy or else it will stick to our hands as it has done to Henny's hands and have to wear off!"
"Will this hard ball of candy have to wear off my hand?" Henny asked. "It's so hard, I cannot wiggle any of my fingers!"
"It will either have to wear off, or you will have to soak your hand in water for a long time, until the candy on it melts!" said Raggedy Andy.
"Dear me!" said Henny.
Uncle Clem brought the poker then and, asking Henny to put his hand upon the stove leg, he gave the hard candy a few sharp taps with the poker and chipped the candy from Henny's hand.
"Thank you, Uncle Clem!" Henny said, as he wiggled his fingers. "That feels much better!"
Raggedy Andy told all the dolls to rub butter upon their hands.
"The candy is getting cool enough to pull!" he said.
Then when all the dolls had their hands nice and buttery, Raggedy Andy cut them each a nice piece of candy and showed them how to pull it.
"Take it in one hand this way," he said, "and pull it with the other hand, like this!"
When all the dolls were supplied with the candy they sat about and pulled it, watching it grow whiter and more silvery the longer they pulled.
Then when the taffy was real white, it began to grow harder and harder, so the small dolls could scarcely pull it any more.
When this happened, Raggedy Andy, Raggedy Ann, Uncle Clem and Henny, who were larger, took the little dolls candy and mixed it with what they had been pulling until all the taffy was snow white.

Then Raggedy Andy pulled it out into a long rope and held it while Uncle Clem hit the end with a sharp tap from the edge of the spoon.
This snipped the taffy into small pieces, just as easily as you might break a icicles with a few sharp taps of a stick.
The small pieces of white taffy were placed upon the buttered platter again and the dolls all danced about it, singing and laughing, for this had been the most fun they had had for a long, long time.
"But what shall we do with it?" Raggedy Ann asked.
"Yes, what shall we do with it!" Uncle Clem said. "We can't let it remain in the platter here upon the kitchen floor! We must hide it or do something with it!"
"While we are trying to think of a way to dispose of it, let us be washing the stew kettle and spoon!" said the practical Ann.
"That's a very happy thought, Raggedy Ann!" said Raggedy Andy. "For it will clean the butter and candy from our hands while we are doing it!"
So the kettle was dragged to the sink and filled with water, the dolls all taking turns scraping the candy from the sides of the kettle, and scrubbing the inside with a cloth.
When the kettle was nice and clean and wiped dry, Raggedy Ann found a roll of wax paper in the pantry upon one of the shelves.
"We'll wrap each piece of taffy in a nice little piece of paper," he said "then we'll find a nice paper bag, and put all the pieces inside the bag, and throw it from the upstairs window when someone passes the house so that someone may have the candy!"
All the dolls gathered about the platter on the floor, and while Raggedy Andy cut the paper into neat squares, the dolls wrapped the taffy in the papers.
Then the taffy was put into a large bag, and with much pulling and tugging it was finally dragged up into the nursery, where the window faced out towards the street.
Then, just a little boy and girl, who looked as though they never had much candy, passed the house, the dolls all gave a push and sent the bag tumbling to the sidewalk.
The two children laughed and shouted, "Thank you," when they saw the bag contained candy, and the dolls, peeping out from behind the lace curtains, watched the two happy faced children eating the taffy as they skipped down the street.
When the children had passed out of sight, the dolls climbed down from the window.
"That was lots of fun!" said the french doll, as she smoothed her skirt and sat down beside Raggedy Andy.
"I believe Raggedy Andy must have a candy heart too, like Raggedy Ann!" said Uncle Clem.

"No!" Raggedy Andy answered, "I'm just stuffed with white cotton and I have no candy heart, but someday perhaps I shall have!"

"A candy heart is very nice!" Raggedy Ann said. (You know, she had one.) But one can be just as nice and happy and full of sunshine with out a candy heart."
"I almost forgot to tell you," said Raggedy Andy, "that when pieces of taffy are wrapped in little pieces of paper, just like we wrapped them, they are called 'Kisses."

Special thanks to project
Gutenberg. C&G Design

Words and photos by Dawn,

C&G Design.


tina said...

Those dolls had a blast.

I will have to smell my quince. No scent. I just went to check and got wrapped up in the garden. Ah, it is going to be a long day.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I was worried they wouldn't get that butter off their hands:)

Debbie said...

One of my most favorite memories is making molasses taffy with my mom and my little brother when i was about 10. The recipe was in an old Betty Crocker book and the molasses taffy page was stained with molasses! I was always amazed to see it turn color in the pan when we added the baking soda. Pulling it when cooled was so much fun! Thanks for the memory through the Raggedies!

Jean said...

Cute story. I love the smell of taffy being made.

CC said...

It just doesn't get any cuter. I'm so proud that dear Henry got the candy off his hands and the little ones got their hands and everything cleaned for you. They're such good little ones.
In just a little while,Im posting an embroidery pattern of Raggedy Ann. It's kinda a bigger one.

Skeeter said...

For some reason, I am craving taffy :-) Wonderful story...