Appalachia: The Divine Secrets of Syrup and Sugar

FRED SAUCEMAN (this article was first published on December 14, 2012)

Divinity candy, a souvenir from the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Photo by Ejm225, via Wikimedia Commons.

At Christmastime, the young women in Ada Hornsby Earnest’s Home Economics classes at East Tennessee State College took home more than knowledge. For the train trip back home, they packed away cartons of divinity candy, stirred and stiffly beaten by the hands of their experienced teacher, who claimed her foamy formula “never failed.”

“No doubt her recipe has been used hundreds of times across the years by homemakers and home economics teachers throughout the East Tennessee area,” recalls former student and later colleague Carsie Lodter of Johnson City, who kept the tradition of giving divinity to her own students.

Mrs. Earnest taught in one of the original departments, Domestic Science, after having enrolled as a student in the very first year of East…

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