COOKING LAUREL COUNTY STYLE:┬áRemembering my ‘way back’ childhood in the present day | Existence

Yes, you would think I couldn’t remember these memories, but some of them are as simple as if they happened yesterday. We didn’t have the constant warm temperature in our house. I think there was some kind of coal stove in the living room, but Aileen (my little sister) and I had a bedroom with a fireplace. Before going to bed, we had our backs to the heat until we couldn’t take any more and then ran to the bed, where we soon fell asleep.

Sometimes Grandma House would stay with us all night and she would tell us creepy ghost stories as we sat around that crackling fire. We’d be so scared, would sit around her and look around to make sure no monster is peeking in the window … and beg for another story. When she went home the next day, Aileen would plant her plump little body in the middle of the sidewalk and Mama would have to come and carry her away until Grandma walked down the street.

Our lights were coal oil lamps and our bathtub was a large metal tub. Our “other” bathroom fixture was a few feet from the house in a small gray building. We thought we were “living in high cotton” and in fact … we couldn’t have been happier. We never dreamed of the modern conveniences that would gradually emerge over the years, and thought we had everything, as the other kids in our neighborhood thought.

A few years later we would get our kinky little permanents. Mom used to take us to Mrs. Raymer’s beauty salon and we feared it! When they got all those big curlers in, they pinched each one with a rubbery thing attached to a huge machine, and when it got hot I knew you could smell burning hair! What a relief when they freed us from this big monster machine! Later Margaret Shackleford (Sue Honchell’s mom) did our perms and I don’t remember it being torture like it was before! Back then you went through a lot to be “purty”!

My longtime friend Brenda Bowling told me about this recipe a long time ago, and it’s really good. I made them yesterday, gave most of them to James, and am now discussing eating this last one. You know i will!

Delicious chocolate brownies

Mix 3/4 cup softened butter and 1-1 / 2 cup sugar until creamy until light and fluffy; add 2 eggs and 1/2 tsp. Vanilla. Sift together 3/4 cup sifted flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1/4 tsp. Salt. (Yes, 3/4 cup flour only) Add to the cream mixture and mix well. You will think it won’t make a smooth batter, but it will when you use your mixer. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped walnuts. (I always use chopped pecans.) Spread in a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 ┬░ C or until done. Let cool in a pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

It was good to talk to you and I hope we can do it again soon … I’ll be waiting for you!

Shelby Sizemore wrote cooking columns for The Sentinel-Echo from 1999 to 2001 and for The Times-Tribune from 2008 to 2011. With years of experience in cooking, Sizemore is happy to share her knowledge of the kitchen and her recipes. You can contact them at