A Slightly Messy Manual

When I was a wee lass, my parents went to San Francisco for their anniversary.  As per usual, being a little girl and an only child I was given presents and souvenirs from San Francisco upon their return.  One of those gifts I still have and use today.  It was a kid’s cook book, called KidsCooking A Slightly Messy Manual.  For many years I referred to at as my “San Francisco Cookbook”, thinking since it came from there it must be the only place you could get it.  When I was about twelve I noticed it in my local Barnes & Noble store.  Though I was old enough to reasonably believe the book was sold other places, I was a little sad when I realized it wasn’t as rare as I had originally thought.

It is a very cute cookbook, with it came colored measuring spoons.  As an adult they have moved with me wherever I have lived, they are still currently my measuring spoons.  Within the recipes it has pictures of the ingredients with the colored spoon next to it.  This is how I was able to remember my Disgustingly Rich Brownie recipe without the book when I was in my early 20s (there is one blue spoon of vanilla extract, one red spoon of salt).

The instructions are very straight forward, on one page it will have the ingredients and tools you will need, complete with drawings of the objects.  On the other page it has step by step instructions and warnings about what could be easy to burn and comments about “now here’s the gooey part”.  And on some recipes it has a picture of an adult holding a knife, explaining that you will need a “grown-up assistant with knife”.  Most of the recipes do not call for such an assistant.

As an adult I have tried more of these recipes, and they have always been yummy.  When I younger I only did one recipe all the time, the Disgustingly Rich Brownies.  And when I was a teenager those brownies kept me in the hearts and stomachs of a few young men 😉

Yesterday I made that recipe with my KitchenAid Mixer that I got from Santa this year.  As a kid I use to use my mom’s but I have had to hand stir at my own house the last few years.  Honey had never had the “Mixer Version”, it is soo much better.

I forgot how much better…

Now that I am cooking again I think I am going to try more of the recipes.  It has a Chili Con Carne Recipe, different ways to cook potatoes, a French Toast and Strawberry Butter recipe, even how to make homemade applesauce.  In the back they have non-edible recipes, including how to make Play Dough and Giant Soap Bubbles! Fun!  It’s funny what we carry into our homes after we become the “grown-up assistant with knife”.

I’ll let you know how it all goes.   But since I mentioned it I will give you my Disgustingly Rich Brownie Recipe before I go:

Recipe states:These are only for people who’ve been really good recently

Ingredients and Tools:

2 cups Sugar

1 1/4 cups all-pupose Flour

4 Eggs

3/4 cup cocoa (I use NesQuick-and it works well)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup butter (yes that is 2 cubes, apparently Julia Child came up with this recipe)

8″ or 9″ square baking ban

1 Mixing Bowl

1/4 tsp salt

OPTIONAL 1/2 cup copped walnuts (I am not a walnuts in my brownie fan, so I have never tried a recipe with them)

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees, use some butter and smear the inside of the pan (they say use shortening-I never have)

2.Melt the butter over low heat

3.In mixing bowl stir (I recommend a mixer of some kind) the cocoa and sugar together.  Then stir in melted butter.

4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir again.

5.Now add the flour and salt, and mix until smooth.  Not too much. (if you are adding walnuts, now’s the time)


1.  Scrape the mixture out onto the pan and spread out in an even layer

2. Bake in 350-degree oven until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan (or until you can stick a toothpick in and pull it out with no batter sticking to it.  Takes about 40 to 50 minutes.

3. The hardest part.  Let cool for a while before cutting.

I will add a step

4.  Wait until the next day to start worrying about burning off the calories consumed, just enjoy it today.

As you can see this is a very loved (used) recipe


One thought on “A Slightly Messy Manual

  1. Pingback: Bugsy, the literary critic « A Long Sunday Afternoon

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