Spiced pecans bring back holiday memories

By Diana Shaw

December 14, 2013

Christmas is almost here. Please remember, if you’re shopping for me, I have a built-in prejudice against any piece of technology that’s smarter than I am. That includes items too numerous to list. Take phones for example. My mobile phone still flips open, lights up and waits for me to press something rather than anticipating my needs. It’s no smarter than it has to be. We get along fine.

Who amongst us (with average intelligence) could have anticipated a technologically cool flip phone would be outdated a mere five years after I bought it? I went from feeling like a way hip grandma to an old fossil in nanoseconds.

My generation didn’t grow up using computers, much less laptops or tablets. When I started school, the first computers were years away, and they were the size of your average room — really. The computer monitor that is my entrée to the electronic world at large is still deeper than it is wide.

The microchip pretty much turned technology on its ear. When I was in my 20s, a desktop computer with a screen was the sort of stuff that fueled The Jetsons cartoons on Saturday mornings. And what about a computer and keyboard all in one device. You could carry it around with you, open it up and use it on your lap? Beyond imagining. Come to think of it, that square-shaped monitor takes up a lot of desk space, Santa. I guess I’d welcome an updated screen two inches wide in its place.

Speaking of skinny, a flat screen TV now resides in our den. Its home is on a shelf, thus eliminating a 20+ year old Sony model that was state-of-the-art in its time. The flat screen set was a gift from our daughter and son-in-law, Ingrid and Gary, last Christmas. They couldn’t imagine we were still gathering around a large box with a smallish screen, perched on a “TV stand” that took up precious floor space in the cozy little room.

Technology’s fine, but handmade and homemade have a special place in my heart. I’m repeating a homemade recipe that’s easy, tasty and perfect for holiday giving. Get going on this now, and you’ll still have time to send some out of state. I plan to.


2 cups pecan halves

1 egg white

1 tablespoon cold water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix egg white, water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a large bowl. Add pecans and fold until completely coated.

Spread nut mixture on a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with short sides). Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Remove to a flat surface (two dinner plates work well) and quickly separate nuts. (I use my fingers.) Allow nuts to cool package in reclosable plastic bags or jars to keep the air out so nuts will remain super-crisp.

Makes a little over 2 cups.

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at