Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Story of D & Bourbon Balls - Then & Now

Hi Berry Patch followers. Again, I begin with an apology for taking so long to share an update on the Journey. Since my college days, I have found there is no busier time of the year than spring. No matter the stage in my life, there is something going on every time I turn around in April.

Today, I bring you the story of D (aka my mom, Dianne) living out a childhood desire through the Commanding Journey.

Whenever Brad travels for work, D and her poodle Coco drive from Corinth, MS to stay with ChiChi and me. I realize how blessed I am for the opportunity to spend so much time with my mom. She is a wonderful woman loves Brad, ChiChi, and me dearly. A few weeks ago, Brad was out of town, and it was time to prepare a new recipe. The night before D arrived, I gave her special instructions: The cookbook will be on the dining room table, flip through and find several recipes you would like to prepare (this will give us options due to some ingredients not easily available), and we will finalize the selection when I get home from work. I had no idea what she would select, but wanted it to be her decision. That night, she told me her top choice was Pecan Bourbon Balls. Alright! I love sweets and this one had to be fairly easy.

I asked D why she chose the recipe, and that's when I fell in love with this part of the Journey. She shared a childhood memory with me about her Uncle Arthur and his wife, Cordelia (incorrectly pronounced Cordealy).

When I was a child, I absolutely loved hearing stories about my great Uncle Arthur. D must have enjoyed talking about him also because she would recall vivid memories of him from her childhood. You see, Uncle Arthur somehow made it to the big city of Memphis all the way from small-town Corinth, MS where he grew up with no shoes and walked 10 miles a day to school for the few years he and my Papaw J.S. Ayers, D's father, attended. The idea of city life fascinated me as early as I can remember, so I think this is partly why I liked hearing about Uncle Arthur so much.

Berry Patch Followers, meet Uncle Arthur. Note the tapered suit pants. Everything comes back in style.

I sure hope Uncle Arthur and Aunt Cordelia were happier in their marriage than this picture indicates.

Uncle Arthur was an ice cream delivery man for Garber's in Memphis, the proud home owner of a nice little house in East Memphis, and sounded like a wonderful man. By all accounts in my child mind, he was very successful for these reasons. My mom has fond memories of my Papaw J.S., her brother Jerry, and she visiting Uncle Arthur and Aunt Cordelia's home. He always had a stash of ice cream to share, drove them around Memphis to see the sites, and his wife made this strange dessert called Bourbon Balls during the holidays. Oh, how D wanted to taste one of these bourbon balls but always received the same response, "These are not for kids, only adults."

D and my Uncle Jerry during one of their Christmas visits at Uncle Arthur's in Memphis. Looks like she was stewing over those Bourbon Balls.

I don't remember ever meeting Aunt Cordelia and don't know that much about her. However, I think I would not question her telling me no to anything.

Uncle Arthur after eating an entire batch of Bourbon Balls. Maybe this is why Aunt Cordelia wouldn't allow the children to eat them.

Approximately 45 years later on this day in April 2010, ironically enough only about 3 miles from the very house where she begged Uncle Arthur and Aunt Cordelia for this forbidden adults-only dessert, D would have her first Bourbon Ball with her daughter. Yes, I now live right around the corner from that little house of my great Uncle Arthur and was able to share a special memory with my mom not only eating her first Bourbon Ball but creating them together.

The recipe is ridiculously simple - pulse vanilla wafers in the food processor, mix with bourbon, corn syrup, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and chopped pecans. Roll into small balls then coat heavily with confectioner's sugar. They were y-u-m-m-y. I'm glad I used good bourbon since it was a dominant flavor. After setting overnight in the fridge, the flavors were well blended and more subtle. I could have eaten them all but limited myself to only a couple.

Start with Nilla wafers in the food processor or crush in a baggy.

I added additional corn syrup to mix better and ended up having to mix with my hands to get this consistency.

Almost finished.

Just look at all that fluffy powdered sugar.

Before bed, Mom and I sat in the house which she has always said reminds her of Uncle Arthur's and enjoyed our first bourbon balls together. Here's to the Commanding Journey for a memory with D that I will always cherish. Who knows, maybe I will share this memory of my mom and Uncle Arthur with my child one day while making a batch of Bourbon Balls for the holidays.

Tata for now.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio
Brad and me in Florence, Italy