The one thing that she is quite well known for, and I look forward to having anytime there's some around, is her pecan candy. She'll make gads of the stuff and wrap it up in festive tins, or little holiday cellophane bags with ribbon. And the way people inhale it and ask for more, you'd think it was pecan crack. Several years ago, after I had graduated from a prestigious culinary school and had worked in a professional kitchen for some time, I attempted to recreate her pecan candy in my apartment. I even called my Mom to ask for the recipe and she recited it to me over the phone. Failure. Not even close. I mean, just a few simple ingredients: raw pecans, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mom's got the Midas touch. What has always been slightly mind boggling to me and drives me a little bonkers is that my mom doesn't really measure anything, nor does she use a candy thermometer.
This year she promises to teach me how ... otherwise known as "The Wong Way to make Pecan Candy." So while Mom was busy baking and crafting, Dad would be setting up the tree and looking through issues of Consumer Reports to pick out the very best gifts for the family. Dad was a big fan of my athletic career as a child so hockey sticks, softball gloves, and BMX bikes could always be counted on as gifts.