But cooking and baking still holds a lot of meaning for me. There are so many of my memories that center around the taste, smell, and preparation of food. One of my most prized possessions is a binder full of recipes that my Nana typed straight out of her recipe box. She gave all her grand-daughters copies of that binder for Christmas a few years ago. Oh, to look through those pages and picture the dishes at a family holiday or church potluck. I love how some things are just called "Church Salad" or "Papa's Favorite Cake."
So one of my earliest memories of cooking came sneaking up on me this week. When I was in elementary and Jr. High, I used to tag-along with my older sister when she went to these, like, Home Ec parties during the summer. I am sure this event had some specific name, but I don't remember it now. What I do remember was that the Home Economics teacher . . . Oh, wait. When I say "Home Ec", I am referring to the cooking/sewing class that was taught in my tiny school. In the days before political correctness and Title 9 (all good things, just a different time), all the girls took Home Ec and the boys took Ag. Just the way we were raised and I don't regret it for a second.
Anyway, so the Home Ec teacher would open the huge kitchen/lab/sewing room/living room in our tiny school and they would have this Home Ec class during the summer. You could go up there and use the school's monster, heavy-duty sewing machines and learn to cook a few things. The class was really for my sister, but I loved that kind of stuff, so I went too.
One of the first things I learned to make were Brownies. (I must capitalize out of reverence.) I somewhere still have the 3x5 index card with my elementary handwriting outlining this recipe, but I don't need it anymore since I've had it memorized for a while. (Not an amazing feat, I can also recite the prologue to Romeo and Juliet as well!)
The sweet-tooth kicked in this week, and so I baked some Brownies. Yum!
And so I share with you, My Brownie Recipe. Much loved and widely tested. I always think about that first batch in the Home Ec room. They remind me of simpler times, my mom, my sisters, and now my kids who love them too. I hope you enjoy.
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3-4 Tablespoons Cocoa
pinch of salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup melted oleo or butter
1/2 cup pecans (optional)
Mix eggs and sugar together. Add the flour, cocoa, and salt. Then add oleo and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in pecans if needed. Bake in a greased 13 x 9 pan for 35 minutes or until barely done.