Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lunch Ladies Extraordinaire!

Hazel Yocum, Lenora Tuttle and Kathleen Weber were the best of the best...lunch ladies, that is! The food my daughters were served in our big-city school was nothing even close to what these women could prepare from standard-issue ingredients. This photo is from 1968...back when the cafeteria was on the stage. At least once a year, someone would push back their chair a little too far and take a header onto the gym floor below. Also, when we had finished eating, we had to present our finished trays to the teacher for inspection. Heaven help you if you hadn't finished all your buttered peas!

Hazel was also famous for something else. At Halloween, she would make the most fabulous popcorn balls! Truly, they were legendary...our group of friends would plan our route around Hazel's house...knowing that she would go to bed early and we didn't want to miss out on her popcorn balls! Her daughter Jean sent us the recipe...and I think Hazel would get a real kick out of it being posted here for you. ~cg

Hazel Yocum's Popcorn Balls
5 quarts popped corn (she used Orville Redenbacher large kernel)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar (she never added this)
1 teaspoon vanilla (she never added this either)

Put the popped corn in a large pan of some kind (she would spray the pan with Pam for easier cleaning). Combine the sugar, water, salt, & syrup (would add the vinegar here if you want to use it). Cook to hard ball stage (250ยบ) Add vanilla here if you want to use it. Pour slowly over popcorn; mix well to coat every kernel. Press in balls. Use butter or have ice water to dip hands in to keep from burning them. Makes 15 to 20 balls. Wrap in Saran Wrap.

We made them one year for Dad's bus kids and formed the balls around candy canes. You can also tint the syrup with green or red for Christmas. Mom always loved making these till she just wasn't able, then I helped her and finally did it all for her. She would have kids come to the door and say, "My Mom & Grandma are in the car and they used to come here can they have one too?" Jean

1 comment:

Amanda Kindle said...

I was so excited to see this entry about my great-grandmother (Hazel Yocum). I had kids ask me all the way through highschool if she was going to do popcorn balls at Halloween. Of course by that time she had stopped and Granny (Jean Boze) made them for family only. It is so neat to hear that people still remember Grandma Yocum for that. She is greatly missed but her family still likes to hear that she was special to others as she was to us! ~Amanda Kindle (Boze)~