Mary Beth Writes

These are things I thought about this week:

1. I am a person who has to use self-discipline to not bake cookies and desserts ALL THE TIME. I can go from “Hmm, brownies would be tasty” to made-from-scratch brownies in my mouth a half hour later.

Every strength - is also a weakness - is also a strength.

Here’s my brownie recipe from a Lutheran cookbook I impulse bought at McDonald’s Bakery in my hometown in the middle 1980’s when we were visiting my mom. I made these so often the cookbook fell apart at this recipe, so I threw the rest of the book away and just kept this.

Chewy Brownies

1 c sugar

¼ c butter (that’s half a stick)

½ teaspoon vanilla but honestly, what’s a half teaspoon? Use a teaspoon…

2 eggs

4 Tablespoons cocoa

3/4 c flour

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8” pan. Mix the ingredients – but Friends – mix it the way Meg mixes it. (Hi, Meg.) Put the butter in a mixing bowl – your stand mixer if you have one. Pour in the sugar and then beat that butter-sugar into a pale slurry; it will take 2-3 minutes. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Then the flour and cocoa. At this point you can add ½ cup nuts or dried fruit.

Bake about 20 minutes - until a fork stuck in the middle comes out without crumbs attached.

You can double this to bake in a 9x13” pan. IMHO you should always double this, give most of them away – but keep the end rows for yourself and your beloved.

 

2. Entitled white people trying to subvert the right of people of color to vote – there is NOTHING about this that is new. This nation is still at the work our Founding Fathers couldn’t, wouldn’t, and didn’t do.

For 32 of the first 36 years of our republic’s history, our presidency was occupied by slave-owning Virginians. That is: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Only John Adams, from Boston, did not own enslaved people and he was only president one term.

You know about the 3/5’s “compromise”, right? Cue 1787. The south would not join the north to form a competent federal government unless and until the south had parity with the north. There were far more white people in the north (there were black enslaved people, too, but not as many). The southerners said they needed equal representation, so they wanted to count each enslaved person as 3/5 of one person (and never allow a black person to vote). That way white southerners would have as much representation as the more populous north. That ugly compromise existed until the Civil War. To mentally justify this travesty - white people had to continually convince themselves that they were better and more worthy than black people.

So this is where I am.

How do privileged people disenfranchise themselves from bad thinking? What needs to happen to allow people to understand what from their heritage is worth keeping and what needs to be chucked and burned?

The next chapter I am wading through is about the intertwining of the Second Great Awakening and abolition. Because sometimes religion entitles us be mean and wrong. Other times religion wakes us up and softens our hearts and enlightens our lives.

Boy, what a question. How does Religion affect How We Regard Others?

The book I’m (still) reading is These Truth, a History of the United States by Jill Lepore. Although the facts I stated above are widely known.

 

3. This week I read two books to the third graders. The first was Dragons Like Tacos 2: The Sequel by Adam Rubin/Illus. by Daniel Salmierie. The kids love this funny book about passionate dragons who time travel to find a taco to plant in the current time, in order to harvest tacos from the taco trees. The kids giggled and laughed. It was fun to read to them.

Then I read Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson. This story will break your heart. A mom abandons her two kids – it’s pretty easy to intuit this is about addiction in parents. Child Protective services takes the kids to an aunt’s house to stay. At one point the kids get to visit their mom in either jail or her treatment program. Woodson writes this story with honesty, respect, and compassion. The kids I read to recognized what’s happening. The kids were absolutely quiet and sitting at full attention, eyes and ears on the pictures in the book.

I remember being a kid. It was so rare to be given stories and images that reflected my world. I lived in security and I also lived in constant fear of the mercurial feelings of adults around me. I could have used more honest and compassionate books.

It’s so powerful to tell a child, “I see you. Some parts of your life are very hard. You are good.”

4. Only Karen sent a happy, spring, Easter photo - but what a doozy it is. She and her siblings and mother are together again, after this long, long year. Hi, Joan!

 

Comments

I have recently started baking brownies from scratch. Boy, are they good and fast and easy! A group from my church has been meeting ( on Zoom) to discuss white privilege and racial bias. Not too much is eye opening as I was raised in the south and graduated high school in 1966. I know waaaay too much about the in-your-face stuff! We may meet with some young adults who grew up here in our part of VT and find out what we need to work on locally. Inadvertent racism is still racism and hurts people. Peace

I printed off your brownie recipe. Good read - love the picture.
Leonard's picture

Give away the edges, the middle ones are chewey and good.

I made brownies today from your recipe. I was sceptical that the recipe would work with no baking powder, baking soda, or salt, but they turned out great. No crunchy edges if baked 18 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!
Mary Beth's picture

I was suspicious of the same thing. To this day, I sometimes check the recipe twice to see if I should have including baking powder - but nope, they work. Those Lutheran ladies knew their way around dessert

Beat it!
Mary Beth's picture

Her very Meg-ness Herself! Empress of Amazing Baked Goods...

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

New Mexico & Power in the Dollhouse

Yesterday Dr. Angel Fairy "healed" dollhouse beings with cupcakes sprinkles.

...

This afternoon is sunny and 70 degrees. I guess this is why we are leaving here to go somewhere else? Oh, the irony of leaving the Midwest in May.

We are leaving in the next few days for a road trip to New Mexico. The theme of this vacation will be (da-dum, da-dum) “Destination Today.” Which says we learned some things two years ago when we drove and drove and drove to eastern Canada. And then drove and drove and drove coming back. Too much driving, not enough stopping.

Relief, Lauren Hough, April Snowstorm

Are we feeling the relief? Relief that we can see George Floyd’s face, his profile, that awful image of him under Chauvin’s knee – and feel some accountable closure to such a brazen murder?

I guess at least now, if one is a person of color and an officer kills you, I suppose they can kill you for a minute and still expect to get away with it but nine minutes is too long. Yes, that’s a cynical thing to say. We knew cops were entitled, but it's only in the past few years – because of cellphones – we have seen this entitled violence play out before our eyes.

Dancing Lessons & What’s Next on Your List?

“Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” Kurt Vonnegut

Yesterday I got a text at 5AM from one of our kids. “Mom, are you awake?”

Heart stops.

Heart starts again.

Nancy Drew (her cat) was sick. Nancy had been stumbling, rolling to her side, couldn’t walk, tried to jump up to our daughter’s bed and fell. Daughter took Nancy to a 24/7 emergency vet clinic.

Obviously, she had already done the only thing there was to do. Get to a vet.

Your Favorite Poster’s Post-Easter Post

I don’t often share my physical challenges with you, but today, Friends, I have suffered. I own three barrettes and I cannot find any of them and my hair has been slip-sliding into my eyes all day.

Why is it the littlest stuff that trips us up?

I could buy more barrettes and perhaps someday I will. Though I have learned this tricky lesson in my life - the more one owns of a small item, the more likely it is one will not keep track of that thing and it will become utterly lost.

Anyway…

MB's "Twilight Bark"

Today I am writing what I could most accurately describe as a Twilight Bark. As in, one dog barking a heartfelt warning to many other dogs. (Do NOT miss this Twilight Bark clip from YouTube.) 

On Friday Len went for his annual checkup. While there, he received a pneumonia vaccine, because after all the hoopla about the covid vaccines, the pneumonia shot is no big deal, right?

Len started feeling lousy that very afternoon and he still felt awful on Saturday. So we didn’t go to Chicago to visit our kids and grands. 

A Slower Week

Last week I had enough to say to write three posts. This week, not so much. This week I cooked and baked things to share with some friends who were having trickier than usual weeks. I wrote letters to the Third Graders. I always enclose some stickers (many from you guys) which are super cute, and I didn’t think any more about this, except, this week, one kid asked for a toy.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words AARPtaxes AAUW Acadia Accountable Advent antlers apples Arrows Ashland Augustine baby balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM BookReport boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cahokia calendars Canada cats cello Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering depression Destination Today Detroit disasterprep dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Eclipse EmilyDickinson exit polls FairTrade farmer firealarm Fitness Five Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd ghosts gorgons GovernorThompsonStatePark groceries Guatemala guns happiness HaveYouEver? Healthinsurance HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HouseinBlueRiver hurricane impeachment Innkeeper integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Mayan MayaWorks MindfulChickens Mistakes moon Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves Nancy Drew New York City Nomadland OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon poetry Preaching privacy Protest Quern quest Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes Remember Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rime RitesofPassage Roses Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining stele Stereotypes StoryStarts stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone UnrelatedObservations urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving wedding WhyAttendChurch WillaCather
Ad Promotion