Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Some Day You'll Thank Me For This - The Official Southern Ladies' Guide to Being a "Perfect" Mother" - Blonde Brownies

Date I made this recipe: May 16, 2009

Some Day You’ll Thank Me For This-The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Being a “Perfect” Mother by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays
Published by: Hyperion
ISBN: 978-1-4013-0296-2 © 2009

Recipe: Blonde Brownies – p. 26

Boy I tell you what—you go away for a weekend and the cooking enthusiasm about disappeared. (It’s so nice to have someone else prepare food and serve it to me!) Good thing for me it was temporary.

My husband and I were in Chicago over Mother’s Day so I made this recipe a little later than intended. This is the second year without my mom so I didn’t have the celebration some people had with their moms and families but I thought about her the entire day.

In anticipation of Mother’s Day, however I purchased this book/cookbook Some Day You’ll Thank Me For This—The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Being a “Perfect” Mother by the authors of Being Dead Is No Excuse Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays. I showcased the Being Dead book a few weeks ago and always enjoy these ladies’ sense of humor.

But I have to say that although my mother had manners beyond belief, she (and I) were raised in the north and so much of what these ladies wrote about it not stuff that she passed down to me. In fact, I’m not sure she ever uttered “Some day you’ll thank me for this” but it doesn’t matter; I understood that concept from an early age.

The thing that I also realized a few years back, as the author’s did, is that every day I am becoming more and more like my mother. I say things she said, I do things that she did, and on any given day, I am staring back at her likeness in the mirror. Many people commented that I looked exactly like my mother—I always thought it depended on the day but took it as a compliment.

Now I should mention that like most young ladies, I did not, however relish the thought of becoming my mom. She had me in her early 30’s and while these days it’s almost the norm, back then it was harder for her to be an older mom. She grew up during the Depression and was a product of her generation—a little reserved, a little cautious and to me (at the time), a little old-fashioned but always unfailingly polite and charming and sweet. (I wish you could have heard her voice—it’s sort of Minnie Mouse meets Betty Boop and I loved to imitate her, sometimes to her amusement, other times to her chagrin.) And so during the early years, we locked horns all the time over everything from clothing to dating to even TV shows we were allowed to watch. (I’m not sure I ever confessed to her that I watched Dark Shadows while she was out, even though I was expressly forbidden to do so!).

But ah, ladies, all of a sudden that clock speeded up and the next thing you know, I am her.

I have to say the one trait that I inherited (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) is her housekeeping “philosophy.” My mom always vacuumed first and then dusted. My husband will vacuum but the art of dusting is lost on him. My mother never ever, ever, ever used a sponge that had previously mopped up counter crud on her dishes and yet my husband sees nothing wrong with doing the dishes with the same sponge; I haven’t gone so far as to use scalding hot water when dishwashing but I’m close. As much as I try though, he cannot be persuaded that my mother’s way is the better way. To be fair, Andy is much more involved in the household than my dad ever was and so it’s kind of hard to do things “my way or the highway.” But that doesn’t mean I don’t try!

So at any rate, many of the recipes in this cookbook are not ones my mother would have made and so I settled on something that she likely would have made and that is the Blonde Brownies.
This recipe is really easy and yet it didn’t quite come up to expectations. The brownie consistency was a cross between a cornbread, a brownie and a cookie and they were really sweet. But hey, who doesn’t appreciate a sugar buzz now and then?!

In the end, I really didn’t care how the recipe turned out as this was just my way to honor my mother. I can’t credit her with teaching me how to cook as she didn’t really let me into her kitchen, but I can credit her with so much more –how to be kind to people, how volunteering (without ever being lectured) is something we all should do and how a little Comet never hurt anything!

Blonde Brownies – makes one dozen but the recipe can be doubled
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/c cup chopped nuts
½ teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract

Soften butter, blend in sugar and flour, add eggs one at a time, and fold in the nuts. Pour into 8-inched greased square cake pan. Bake 30 minutes at 350.

Note: The authors didn’t say to use unsalted butter (I did) but I’m wondering if that would have helped? I was surprised that salt was not included in the recipe but maybe it came in via the butter.

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