Noted Conway author and chef Beth “Beets” Goodrich finally agreed to share her secret pumpkin fudge recipe after two decades of silence. It’s true in the 90s that she may have inadvertently poisoned a few people. We all need a chance to learn from our mistakes, though. Other than a slight twitch when she’s talking, you might not know how hard she worked to get past her initial failings as a cook. Six boys survived her cooking so it is presumably safe to say she’s ironed out the kinks and emergency room visits.
While we all know Beth through her writing, I’d like to take a moment and explain that her nickname “Beets” arose from the insistence of her well-meaning friends and family that beets taste anything like other than a mouthful of dirt. She can quote numerous scientific studies that prove that beets taste like a mound of desiccated spiders that’s been mixed with Appalachian dirt and powdered. Much like really large white guys were often called “Tiny,” so too did Beth get crowned as “Beets.”
Pumpkin fudge is a ‘real’ thing, even though it may at first seem to one small part of a complex and elaborate prank, one devised by San Francisco hipsters. You’ve probably heard it mentioned in whispers at a church social or in the open cafeteria lines of your state penitentiary. Most fans of pumpkin fudge tend to be easily excited and often have concealed carry permits. If you’re one of the few people who don’t like pumpkin fudge, refrain from mentioning it out loud unless you are in a Siberian cave that’s been sealed close by a nuclear explosion.
While observing college boys using pumpkins as catapult fodder, she realized that pumpkins were not only for insanely dry pumpkin bread that no one really likes or for jack o’ lanterns on Halloween.
After 37 failed tries and one oven that had to be discarded (not to mention burned hair), Beth arrived at her final recipe.
Most of the ingredients are what most of us refer to as “old folks” ingredients such as evaporated milk, corn syrup, and marshmallow creme.
While I hate to be helpful in food posts, I’d like to explain to you what the differences are between evaporated and condensed milk. Both are made from milk with 60% of the water removed. Evaporated milk, however, is not sweetened, unlike its condensed milk counterpart. You’d be surprised how many cooks can’t explain that difference to you.
You should always keep a can of each in your larder. (I’ll explain what in tarnation a ‘larder’ is later after you’ve been put in a coma by reading about cooking.) You never know when a posse of old-timers might come to your house. In such a scenario, you’re going to need some condensed or evaporated milk.
Again, though I loathe being helpful, it is surprising that people don’t know you can add condensed milk to as much water and use it like regular milk in recipes. This can be helpful if you live somewhere without electricity or an icebox. If you hear banjos on most afternoons, you definitely need some condensed milk in your pantry, larder, or cellar. Due to the size of evaporated milk cans, they can also be used as hand grenades in a close fight.
For Beth’s recipe, you’ll need a candy thermometer. I’ll tell you where to stick it later. Beth recommends the combination food thermometer/protractor, in case complex calculations arise. Paradoxically, her Panasonic oven only indicates Celsius, which resulted in some strange issues with her in-laws helping her cook. If you don’t own a candy thermometer, you’re with 65% of the country.
(Related note: biscuits will cook in 2 minutes if you accidentally set the oven to 375 Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. If you don’t catch the error in 15 minutes, your local firefighters will drop by your house unexpectedly to remind you.)
Without boring you with the details of the recipe, I can tell you that even if you don’t like pumpkin, you’ll probably like pumpkin fudge. As in the case with carrot cake, you don’t actually put chunks of carrots in carrot cake unless you’re a sadist, or live in Little Rock.
If you’ve never had pumpkin fudge, call Beth in Conway. She’ll undoubtedly make a batch for you, at no cost, with something like a smile on her face. You can also find her on Instagram by searching for #whoiscookingdinnertonightatthegoodrichhouse.
I know you think I misled you by promising to share Beth’s recipe. I didn’t say I’d share it. I said that she shared it with me. The recipe on MyRecipes is fairly close to what she uses.
Since you’re already voluntarily putting pumpkin in food, you can’t really hurt this recipe, regardless of how you modify it.
P.S. I put bacon in the picture because it’s a known fact that bacon subconsciously obliterates one’s ability to think critically. The fact that you’ve read this far proves it to be true.