How My Mother’s Caramel Recipe Taught Me to Be Braver in the Kitchen

I watched from my step stool as my mother fearlessly stirred the bubbling sugar. It was time to pour the cream in—this part always scared me. The mixture ascended into a golden smolder as the cold cream hit the hot sugar. I watched nervously as my mother tamed the cauldron with a wooden spoon. I was wearing my Batman pajamas, a uniform she insisted on after one too many sugar-stained shirts. I sat in awe as the sugar transformed into liquid amber and the occasional puff of smoke wafted into the air.

“This is how you know it’s done cooking,” my mother told me as the distinct scent of burnt sugar perfumed the kitchen. “The darker the color, the deeper the flavor.”