Thursday, January 26, 2012


I love family traditions. That annual occasion that is shared by generations, year after year after year. I wish that I could say that my family has our own, but sadly, we don't.
Fortunately for me, I was able to photograph one family and their annual tradition. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, this family gets together to make candy canes. I had no idea how much was involved in making this sweet symbol of the holiday season... it is nothing short of awesome.
First step is to boil the sugar. I believe that 60 pounds of sugar were used on this day.
After the sugar is boiled, it is poured out on the counter to cool 
and add the peppermint flavor.
Now it is time to add color
and knead the batch.
Unless you want to make white. 
In which case you must do this:
Work it over a hook. 
For what seems like an eternity.
And you can't stop, not even for a second.
I had no idea candy cane making was such a physical endeavor.
The colors are then mixed together to form the stripes.
This is done in front of a heater, still wearing gloves as the batch
is still too hot to touch.
From this point, you can make several different types of yummy treats.
You can roll it into traditional candy canes:
To make ribbons, you flatten out the batch and send it
through this contraption:
 Or use this to make bite sized treats
 Shiitake happens.
 The traditional hanging of the giant candy cane.
For as much hard work goes into making these candy canes,
there were lots of smiles all around.

 And the youngest generation gets in on the fun:
 Kylie sneaks a taste
 Cole is proud of his creations:
 Candy cane making is a dirty job...
...but Krista makes it look gooooooood.

I had so much fun watching this family work together, honoring their generations-old tradition of making candy canes. And if you are thinking to yourself "I wish I could be a part of that!", have no fear - you can be. Each year, the family volunteers their time and their kitchen to benefit the American Cancer Society. On this night, the winning bidder spent the evening making candy canes with this wonderful and amazing family. 
Traditions. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

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