Brownies

I have always loved brownies. My mom made amazing brownies. Later, I learned they were from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, one she gave me when I got married.

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Deliciously chewy, not cakey (too dry), when I made them, I underbaked the treat so they were even a tad wet inside.

I also doubled the batch and put them in a 9×12 pan; that helped the middle of the pan’s batter to be gooshier than the edges, which were never burnt because I took them out right when they smelled ready.

Yes, smelled ready.

I have a weird skill of being able to smell when baked goods are done cooking. Early, when I was learning to cook, I was meticulous with the time the recipe said to do. Then, as I got more relaxed, I realized that I could smell when things were done.

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I remember baking brownies so often when the kids were little, I no longer needed the recipe. We always kept a decent stash of unsweetened chocolate squares, plenty of sugar and flour and, of course, butter!

In Germany, when I was with my new lesbian love (he was really transgender, but had not come out yet), I made brownies at least twice a week. Between brownies and snickerdoodles, I was nearly a specialty bakery. This was when I was baking bread, too. The years when we were isolated in Germany with very little to do but BE with each other remain some of my favorite memories of my life. The kids were hilarious, Zack and I were always nursing one or the other of the babies and I attended lots and lots of births.

Zack loves nuts, but I am allergic to them, so I would sometimes make the 8×8 pan recipe with nuts for him.

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When my youngest was living with Zack and me in San Diego, it became clear that brownies were her PMS food of choice. The day before she started her period, she would break out a box of brownie mix, crying while she stirred it all together, and bake a batch that she alone would eat over the next 2 to 3 days. None of us ever asked for one; we knew better.

(I just asked her permission to add this information in my piece and she said she had no idea she did that, that she ate brownies all the time. I smiled into the phone and told her it was like clockwork, her brownie-baking-while-crying session.)

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I rarely eat brownies anymore and I never make them. If I partake, someone has made them, always from a box.

The memories of mine are much sweeter.

My Brownie Recipe (really, Better Homes & Gardens’ recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped if desired

Baking Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉ (180℃).
  • In medium saucepan melt butter and chocolate.
  • Remove from heat; stir in sugar.
  • Blend in eggs one at a time.
  • Add vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts; mix well.
  • Spread in greased 8x8x2-inch pan.
  • Bake at 350℉ (180℃) for 30 minutes.
  • Be careful not to overbake. Cool completely.
  • Cut into 16 squares.

Butter Pats (in Jail)

The one thing I did love about jail… and hoard… was the pat of butter for the bread we got at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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You see, I was… am… a lip balm addict. Have been for probably 40 years. So when I went to jail, they, of course, did not allow me to take any with me. My meds, they let me take (didn’t give them to me properly, but I did get to take them), but not lip balm.

Therefore, I used butter pats. I took the pats from anyone who would give them to me, kept them in my locker in my room and used it sparingly.

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It was always a drag when we had inspection because my stock of butter pats would be tossed and I would have to start all over again.

Blessedly, I was given money on my books (in my account) by those who loved me and I could buy Chapstick brand lip balm, the one in the black wrapping. Plain. I love my Blistex Medicated Lip Balm, but I was not going to complain.

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(I just put some on. HA!)

When I was extradited to California from Florida (during my second stint in jail for the same crime), I lost my bought Chapstick and had to endure dry lips for a couple of days through the traveling. I was bereft.

When I got to California, my then partner, a Deputy Sheriff in the jail I where I was incarcerated (another story) slipped me his Chapstick to put on before going to my bed. It was not black so I couldn’t keep it, but I was careful to keep it on as long as possible. In the morning, I traded some food for Chapstick… and paper and pencils (another jail story… writing in jail).

The first thing I did when I was released 3 days later was to put my own Blistex Medicated Chapstick on. I was in heaven.

Today, sitting next to me, I have… counting… 10 sticks of Blistex. And another 6 or so in my purse. One by my bed. Clearly, I have been traumatized by being in jail and not having my lip balm. (You see I also hoard pens. I’m terribly worried about running out of something to write with. Really, really. It’s a sickness.)

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Now that is my deterrent for not doing any more crimes.

NaNoWriMo

 

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National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo… begins November 1 and goes through November 30. The purpose is to write a 50,000 word Novel (or body of work as I would do) in a month.

50,000 words. That is 1667 words A DAY! That is about 3.5+ hours of writing a day. Eek! AND work and write for work. I am game for trying though.

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I’ve decided to focus my energies on the Food posts. I have an enormous list of stories-by-title-food and can just start at the top and move down.

Just a few here:

  • Jail food
  • Powdered milk
  • Food banks
  • Green mac n cheese
  • Mom’s oatmeal bread
  • Mom’s stew recipe
  • Mom’s Hershey PB cookie recipe
  • Brownies
  • Snickerdoodles

Many more than that… should be FUN!

Write with me?

Who else is doing NaNoWriMo?

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