Updated in Dec 2009 after realizing that I had typos in both recipes. I don't have the originals handy, but I made educated guesses on water in the 1st (I used 1/4 C last night and it worked out, but 1/3 is probably OK too) and sugar in the second.
In 1932 my grandmother got a recipe for spiced walnuts from her neighbor, Rose Jones. I got it from my grandmother in 1989. Here it is.
Spiced Walnuts from Rose Jones
1/4 C water
1-1/2 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
optional: sprinkle of nutmeg and/or clove
Cook water, sugar and salt to soft ball. Add vanilla and spices. I usually add more than the recipe calls for by a large amount. Stir in nuts until sugar is hard. Put out on wax paper and pick apart with a fork.
This weekend I was at the farmers' market with Juli where she picked up a recipe for spiced walnuts.
Spiced Walnuts (Torrance Farmers' Market)
4 C walnuts
6 T water
1-1/2 C sugar
1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 T salt
1 T vanilla
Combine all ingredients but nuts and cook 4 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add walnuts. Stir until covered. Spread on wax paper to cool.
So do people now like 50% less sugar on their walnuts now than in 1930? I think yes, based on how I've made Rose's recipe for years - with a very healthy extra amount of nuts. They probably would have made one batch of nuts last a really long time in 1932, but we typically won't do that today. Additionally, sugar was surely less common in the everyday diet back then, so perhaps no one felt guilt about eating it in quantity.
The nuts are good, either way. And tasty with both walnuts and pecans.
The pecans look like they have less sugary flavor on them.