“It was her love of life that carried her through everything. The middle of the road was never for her — it bored her. She wanted the pinnacle of excitement.” Liza Minnelli

I think a lot of us have mothers that once upon a time could be referred to as “forces of nature.” I think Judy Garland was one such force. Perhaps a loving whirlwind? I wouldn’t know, she died when I was very tiny. But, I can sense that aspect of her from her daughter’s quote.

I’ve got a black velvet opera cloak of my mom’s I can’t bear to part with it, although I have worn it…never. This time of year I miss her especially. She used to let me take a shears to the hem of her old “dress up” dresses and I would blithely trim off a foot of some incandescent fabric to fashion it into a Halloween costume. She would safety-pin it to fit, and cinch the gown in around my waist with a wide velvet ribbon, and I’d be off to the trick-or-treat races.

And, lest we forget, the things that came out of her kitchen this time of year…delicious…

Caramel Apples:

(note, working with caramel is hot business, be very careful , do not get any simmering syrup on you because it burns like the dickens)

Okay, here we go:

6 super sweet tart crisp apples (I like Fuji), 1 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup dark corn syrup (the devil’s own, but, remember, you only eat this once a year), 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Wash the apples well, dry them, remove the stem, stick a skewer down the center, and set aside on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.

In a saucepan simmer together all the other ingredients—except the vanilla—until a candy thermometer placed in the syrup reads 245º. Take it off the burner and add the vanilla. Dip the apples, one by one, into the syrup. If they aren’t coated completely you can spoon syrup over them while you hold them over the saucepan. Give the apples a little twirl to even things out, then place on the waxed paper to cool. Mom used to also roll them in chopped pecans, but I prefer them straight up.

Happy Halloween!



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  1. October 27, 2017

    First of all. I love the Liza Minelli quote. It emboldens me to get out of the middle of the road myself. Second, this is more evidence of Beguiling Hollywood standing on the same lei line as me. My mother also had a black opera cloak. Well it was more of a black velvet evening coat that flared like a cloak. I loved it, but was too afraid in Central Ohio ever to be caught wearing it. “Are you gay, or something?” My straight brother had no such qualms. He wore it repeatedly when he dressed up to trick or treat as a vampire. He brought home shopping bags full of candy. I’m convinced this came from the genius androgyny of the coat. It was one of the few things I kept out of my mother’s closet when she died. I recently asked my brother (now 58 and not exactly married, though living for 10 years with the same charming woman whom I love very much) whether I could throw it out as it was occupying too much space. “Are you kidding me? Give it to me! I’ll keep it.”) I just gave it to him (in a shopping bag, no candy) about two weeks ago.

    • October 27, 2017

      That comment is worthy of being in a post of its own… I don’t suppose your brother can still fit in the evening coat? I think I will wear mine while I give out candy. Merci beaucoup, you are an inspiration!

  2. George Kaplan
    October 27, 2017

    Say what you will about vampires, they may be bloodsucking fiends but at least they have *style*! Well, not those sparkly p****s in Twilight obviously.
    Remember Frank Langella’s cape in John Badham’s disco-era Dracula? Now THAT was a cape!

    • October 27, 2017

      I never saw it but just watched a few clips — now it’s a must see, if only for Langella’s performance!

  3. October 28, 2017

    Please wear the cloak to hand out candy! Or please just wear it. 🙂

    • October 28, 2017

      I’ll shake out the cobwebs and see what I can do…maybe I’ll even powder my hair white…spooky!

  4. October 28, 2017

    What Gallivanta said!

    • October 28, 2017

      If I pull this off you can expect photographic evidence 😉 .

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