Noli Irritare Dracones

What do you get when you invite a heavy duty blogger to dinner with your children?

An intergenerational discussion of historical and contemporary Latin, contraception, the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, modern child naming practices and the effects of various housing options in social inclusion and exclusion at elite universities. It was fun, really.

We had the honor of hosting Lynn G.-S. for dinner at our home on Sunday night after a long business meeting. The hardest part so far of being married to the clerk is that you can’t sneak out and go home early.

Just as Lynn arrived, Chris and the boys came back from a quick run around in the park. I was just taking the brownies out of the oven. H. asked if these were the same recipe that was so good with strawberries and ice cream. I said yes, and started slicing the strawberries. H. explained to Lynn that most of my good dessert recipes come from The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book. She remembered that I had offered her two dessert recipes for her recent dilemma and made a mental note to bookmark the one for vegan chocolate cake, perfect for Quaker potlucks. I said that’s what I often make it for.

Here is my mother’s recipe for brownies, which I think she got off the back of a bottle of Wesson Oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 10"x15" jelly roll pan.

Melt 4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool a little bit.

Beat 4 eggs until foamy.
Gradually add 2 cups granulated sugar.
Mix in 1 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate.

Stir together, then add to egg mixture
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Pour and scrape into greased pan. Spread evenly with a spatula to fill the corners.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. (This is the tricky part. My mother does it perfectly, pulling them out at just the right moment so that the brownies are a little moist and a little crumbly. They are dense, not fluffy. She always says, "These are brownies, not cake." )

Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and eat just plain, or add sliced fruit and vanilla ice cream for a quick and widely pleasing dessert.

You can also make half a recipe and bake it in a 8x8" square pan, but I prefer to make the whole batch and freeze half for another day. Even though it is a pretty quick recipe to make.

[Update: here is the link to Lynn's post about the same dinner.]

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