Martha’s Brownies Bite Back- Chocolate-Ginger Brownies- 80 eggs, 61 1/4 cups of sugar, 57 1/2 sticks of Butter, and 63 2/3 cups of flour used so far- 131 recipes to go!

July 25, 2010

Martha's Chocolate-Ginger Brownies

André's Chocolate-Ginger Brownies

Believe it or not, not everyone is fond of ginger. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. I baked a batch of these wonderful gingery treats for my partner, Dan to take to work but the responses were mixed. Those that liked the sweet and chocolatey taste with a slight after-burn from the ginger thought they were terrific. Others didn’t really appreciate the added ingredient.

Both, Dan and I thought they were delicious. To each his own, I guess. As far as inventive or innovative recipes go in Martha’s Cookie Book, this one is fairly blasé. Chocolate-Ginger Brownies are simply your run-of-the-mill brownie recipe with grated ginger added to give it an extra kick. It’s an intense flavor and I thought the ginger actually enhanced the taste of the chocolate.

I’ve been in the middle of a rather tedious project lately. My parents in Baton Rouge sent me a box full of old slides and video tapes. They asked me to convert these to a digital format for posterity. I have been spending countless hours scanning old photos and videos. Photo after washed-out photo of my sisters and me as small children. Video after video of my nephews as toddlers. Memories come flooding back. Some are wonderful and some are a bit sad. It’s a strange project, creating the anthropology of ones own life. Between this blog and the slide scanning project I am up to my eyeballs in nostalgia.

When I look at the images of myself from infancy to my toddler days, I can’t help but notice there’s always a poodle in the photo. Sometimes packs of them. My mother had a fondness for hers, Monique. Monique was part of a family of toy poodles that infiltrated my mother’s side of the family shortly before I was born. Each one was given a French name since my mother’s family are, as most New Orleanians, Francophiles. This is also why my sisters and I have French names. The pack of petulant poodles that clung to, when not nipping at, the heels of the Kelly clan were named: Monique, Hugette, Zsa Zsa, Tigre, and Petite. They were all moody little beasts. In my opinion Poodles are the Bob Goulets of the Canine world- all show and very little substance.

Monique was really a gateway dog to several other small dogs to come in and out of my family through the years. As Monique began to age she became more and more defensive. No one could approach my mom or Monique without experiencing a great deal of yelping and snapping at the air- from Monique, not my mom.  Monique’s muzzle, over time, developed into a permanent, crooked snarl. In addition she began to expand in girth. Poodles, I’m afraid,  don’t age very gracefully. She bloated well beyond a healthy weight so that in time she began to resemble an angry old mound of dirty cotton or a yelping discarded piece of old attic insulation.

This is about the time a special little puppy came into our life. He was a lost little mutt in our neighborhood who looked more like a rodent than a dog. He appeared to be part terrier, part chihuahua, and part Chinese crested all mixed together. He weighed no more than three or four pounds when he first walked in. His tiny and lanky body was covered in tufts of light brown and blonde hair which cropped up in wisps over his predominately bald skin. He had expressive golden brown eyes and thin brown lips (yes, the dog had lips.)  His ears were pointed straight up and just below his chocolate nose was a muzzle full of crooked sharp teeth which he never used to bite a human hand. He was truly the ugliest dog anyone in our neighborhood had ever seen but he had personality and lots of it.

My sister, Nicole named him Benji after the popular movie we had seen multiple times the previous Summer and after many days of whining to our parents they finally agreed to let him into our family.

Benji was the best dog we ever had despite the fact that he took an inordinately long time to housebreak. He also had a talent I had never witnessed in other canines. He could climb chain-linked fences. It’s absolutely true! He would approach the fence, sniff at the base, back up to take a look at the top, go back to sniffing the base, and then stand on his hind legs. He would insert his front paws into the links and pull himself up one link at a time as though he were a tiny little rock-wall climber. Once he reached the top of the fence he would balance himself and take one bold leap into our neighbors’ yard. He would then repeat his actions to get back into ours. He actually seemed to enjoy performing this daunting and somewhat defiant task.  It was our neighbor’s wife who first witnessed him perform this amazing act of dexterity. She told my dad about it and we all kept an eye on Benji around fences when finally we caught him in the act of ascent.

This talent made it difficult to keep Benji confined to our yard and he would often escape to traipse around the neighborhood looking for a bit of mischief and he certainly had a knack for mischief. He loved to chase cats, squirrels, birds, and cars.

It was during one of these outings he was picked up by the dog-catcher and thrown in doggie-jail. We suspect it was the mean lady on the corner that called him because Benji liked to dig in her garden. Why does every suburban street seem to have a mean old lady on the corner? (By the way, I live in a corner lot. I wonder if the kids think I’m the mean old man with the cats on the corner? Part of me kind of hopes they do.)

Benji hadn’t been home in a few days and our parents were preparing us for the worst. Mom, in her delicate and nurturing way would say, “Well, he probably went off to visit some of his doggie friends and decided to stay and visit awhile.” My dad would follow that up with, “Yeah, or he got run over by a car and is lying dead in a gutter somewhere.” My sisters and I then cried in hysterics and my parents conducted  a bitter and angry argument behind closed bedroom doors later that evening.

Finally my dad went down to the pound to see if, in the off chance, Benji had been picked up. As he approached the fenced doggie pen, the officer shouted over the din from the barking and howling masses, “Do you see your dog, sir?”

“Yup!” my dad responded.

“Well which one is it?”

My dad pointed up at the top of the fence at a small, wiry, shaking little mutt precariously balanced on the top support bar.

“That one!”- my dad said with a smile.


4 Responses to “Martha’s Brownies Bite Back- Chocolate-Ginger Brownies- 80 eggs, 61 1/4 cups of sugar, 57 1/2 sticks of Butter, and 63 2/3 cups of flour used so far- 131 recipes to go!”

  1. Nicole dubroc Says:

    That dog was the best dog ever.I still pray for him and hope I will play with him again one day!

  2. Robert Says:

    Thanks for another great story.

  3. Alyse Says:

    Do you remember when benji went missing and a few days later we found him following our school bus home? Come to find out, dad had deserted him in a nearby neighborhood in hopes some other family would take him in. Benji followed a school bus hoping it was ours. Sure enough, he found his way home. It was then, dad decided to let us keep him. :-). Poor little mutt!

  4. Jocelyn Says:

    I don’t know who didn’t like these brownies. They were one of my favorites so far. Thanks for sending all these delicious treats with Dan!

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