Food on Friday – Fudge

I love this picture of my Grandmother Eveline Coates Hoskins. Mom said that this picture must have been taken when Eveline was attending Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I’m guessing that she and her friend, Alice Tingle (her future sister-in-law), made a batch of fudge and then took pictures of each other licking the pan. Alice was obviously the better photographer.

Grandma didn’t make fudge very often, but I do have one memory associated with her fudge. I lost my first tooth while “licking” the fudge pan Grandma had handed me – it came out right on the spoon.  What a great way to loose a tooth – in chocolate! Much better than string and a doorknob!

I don’t have Eveline’s fudge recipe, so I looked on the Internet for a recipe in use around 1918. Legend has it that fudge originated on the Vassar college campus. This from the Vassar College page titled “Vassar Myths and Legends”:

Vassar Student Invents Fudge

A Vassar student from the 1890s with a sweet tooth is rumored to have invented this chocolatey confection. The Office of Media Relations says this is a fable, while Historian Elizabeth Daniels avers it is the truth. The real truth probably lies in between these two answers–Emelyn Battersby Hartridge ’92 made fudge for the senior class auction, but attributed the recipe to a classmate’s cousin. Still, her letter discussing the auction is the first instance of documentation for the existence of this sweet treat.

Apparently, making fudge became very popular on the campuses of women’s colleges. I found a copy of Choice Recipes here:  Michigan State University Libraries. This pamphlet was published in 1913 by the makers of Bakers Chocolate and contains fudge recipes attributed to Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley colleges. 

My mom sometimes used the following recipe and we often make it at Christmas. It doesn’t have the texture of cooked fudge and needs to be refrigerated, but it is “mighty quick” and yummy!

Might Quick Perfect Fudge

2 lb. package confectioner’s sugar

1 cup cocoa
1 cup butter or margarine
½ cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ cup chopped nuts

Mix together the sugar and cocoa in large bowl.  Melt the butter and add to the milk and vanilla.  Mix all ingredients together a quickly as possible (including nuts).  Place into a greased 2-quart oblong dish.  Chill about 1 hour.  Yields about 60 one-inch pieces.

Short Stack

Eveline Coates, Alice Tingle and Friends

I’ve been following Retronaut recently. You could describe it as an online gallery of old photographs, usually with some cultural or pop culture significance. Yesterday’s pictures reminded me of a photograph of my Grandma Eveline Coates Hoskins. The particular photos shared on Retronaut are taken from The Burns Archive, so you can view them there if you like. The Burns Archive calls stacking a “forgotten sport”.

The photo of Grandma and her friends is a “short stack” in comparison to the towering stack of people posing in the linked photographs. I can’t quite figure out how they did this. They appear to be over water. Is it a stack? Or is it just the point of view of the camera that makes it appear so? Was stacking for photos really a fad in the early 1900s?

I can’t identify everyone in this picture, but I know who the two leaning to the left are. Alice Tingle, Eveline’s friend and future sister-in-law, has dark hair and is 2nd from the bottom. Eveline is above her, leaning in the same direction.

Can you identify the other girls in this picture?