“Invented in France, pralines started out as sugared almonds,” says Food.com. “Settlers in 18th-century Louisiana replaced the almonds with pecans and added cream—voila, the Southern praline was born.”
My first awareness of pralines came from the I Love Lucy episode “First Stop.” Driving through Ohio en route to Hollywood, the Ricardos and Mertzes repeatedly pass signs advertising Aunt Sally’s Pecan Pralines. “Fifty miles to Aunt Sally’s Pecan Pralines,” Lucy reads aloud from a sign.
“Well, we’re closing in on her. The first sign we saw said ‘Two hundred miles to Aunt Sally’s Pecan Pralines,'” says Ethel.
“I’m surprised she has time to make pralines—she’s so busy making signs,” Fred quips.
Lucy says, “I’ve just got to drop in on Aunt Sally. I feel like she’s an old friend.” By this time, the foursome is very hungry, having been on the road for quite a while with no food. Finally, they see a sign reading “One mile to Aunt Sally’s Pecan Pralines.”
“Three hundred yards to Aunt Sally’s!” reads Lucy. “Two hundred yards!” reads Ethel. “One hundred yards!” reads Fred. “Just around the bend!” reads Ricky.
“You have just passed Aunt Sally’s,” reads Lucy. Dismayed, they turn the car around to see if they can find it. But what they find is an old shed with a sign readling “Out of Business.” If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you can relate to their disappointment.
Interestingly (to me at least), Lucy and the Mertzes pronounce it “praw-leen,” when, as New Yorkers, they would be more likely to say “pray-leen” as it is commonly pronounced in the Northeast.
There actually is an Aunt Sally’s Pralines Shop, but it’s in New Orleans, not Ohio. I can’t determine which came first, the real Aunt Sally’s or the fictional one. This Aunt Sally’s offers a choice of creamy, Creole, chewy, prainette, sugar and spice, and lite original—and they’re even kosher. Incidentally, according to Aunt Sally’s website, it is pronounced “prah-leen” in New Orleans.
Below, meet Edna Mae, a candy maker at Aunt Sally’s who refused to divulge the secret recipe.
Edna Mae refuses to divulge Aunt Sally’s pralines recipe
- National Praline Day (Taylor Takes a Taste)