Berlin Heights' Smith family gets together every year to make its own rock candy
Most families cook up a holiday feast, but for the Smith family, cooking also means 40-50 pounds of sweets.
For the last 20 years the Smith family, of Berlin Heights, has spent one day a year making homemade rock candy. Flavors range from traditional Christmas delights such as peppermint and spearmint to fruit flavors like watermelon, according to Barbara Hargreaves, 54, of Berlin Heights.
"Every different flavor is a different color," she said. "At Easter time when you go into their house you're still gonna smell mint."
The idea came from a neighbor and is rooted in the family, including Hargreaves' parents, Donald and Ethel Lois Smith, and a handful of their nine children.
About 25 to 30 family members participate each year. This year the family made 20 batches of rock candy, which were mostly distributed as holiday gifts.
"It's kind of like a legacy," Hargreaves said. "It allows us to just be kids again."
The tradition is not just limited to adults, either.
"All of us participate, young old, brothers, sisters... it's something that we all help with in some form or another," said another one of the nine Smith children, Beverly Huston, 52, also of Berlin Heights.
The boiling liquid is poured onto buttered marble slabs to provide quick cooling and is then peeled off and cut into squares, Hargreaves said.
"We're a very close family we do a lot of things together," Huston said. "It's not Christmas without it."