And then, there’s cooking…

Right at the heart of all my closest relationships is cooking.

Believe it or not, I can cook. Not everyone in my family can. There are a lot of “family recipes” that involve a trip to the deli, an extra spoonful of garlic or sugar, and our own patented technique for transferring  deli food into heirloom dishes.

Don’t tell, though. It’s a secret.

I have no moral objections to deli salad for the company picnic, or take-out chicken for the family reunion. If I’m short of time, I’ll do that in a heartbeat.

But if I love you… if I really, really love you… I’ll cook for real. I’ll start out with ingredients and everything. My sister (who did not get the cooking gene) used to show up with very long lists, and we’d eat together.

So, here’s one of the many brownie recipes, and one of the oldest.



2 cups sugar (450 grams)

4 beaten eggs

¼ cup melted butter (57 grams)

1 cup cocoa melted in boiling water (125 grams) (basically make it runny enough to mix in smoothly)

1 cup flour (140grams)

1/8 teaspoon salt (which my mother would omit on the grounds of good health)

nuts (completely optional, but if you are going to do this, they’ll be pecans. Either chopped with a knife or run through a hand coffee grinder.)

vanilla (lots of vanilla. I’ve never seen anyone in my family actually properly measure vanilla. Ever.)


Beat eggs well.

Add sugar… and blend well.

Add butter, cocoa, flower and salt.

Stir in nuts and vanilla.

Bake at 350 until done. (Yes, that’s what the recipe actually says. We’ll say in the neighborhood of 25-35 minutes.)

This recipe comes to me through my mother.

By way of my great-aunt (Who kept her first replacement hip on the bookshelf.)

From Aunt Goldie. (Who was—I think—my Grandfather’s aunt, and who had scleroderma)


  1. Reply

    It amuses me that your mother would omit the 1/8th of a teaspoon of salt on grounds of good health in a recipe that calls for 2 cups of sugar… 😉 (Also, you Americans and your cups… How many grams is it?? :-))

    • Reply

      I ran it through a converter website, and added gram measurements. They’re in the post, now.

  2. Reply

    I am a horrible, horrible baker. I can’t follow directions. But I’m an excellent cook. Besides, my husband shouldn’t be allowed to open a can of tuna. He once made peas with strawberry yogurt. The recipe said ‘yogurt,’ so hey, what’s the difference?

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