and a recipe.
My mother was a beautiful sort of nineteen eighties housewife.
Oh she is so many other things too, the daughter of a village chief from Rotuma, a curious wonder filled soul of a man, known for both his generosity and his temper-- oh and his love of ice cream, always with the ice cream. She is so very much her father's daughter. She is a teacher, who has this magical way of opening up her heart so very wide that no one is ever left standing long, outside, wondering whether there is room for one more. There is always room, for one... more, with mom.
I suppose if I thought a bit about my mother, well, there might be a thing or two more important to note, than her first attempts at house "wifery". But, as a mother myself, trying to find my way a midst a jostling sea of other beautiful nurturers there is something about the way she made her way through those eighties that resonates with my little soul.
How she found herself, just barely out of her teens, in a cold Nebraska town and knew, somehow, that she would be okay.
How removed it must have been from that little bit of home that waited and hoped for her, and how very far away it must have felt, most days.
How she knew, despite never having seen a winter herself, that her little girls would need footed pajamas and ear muffs and, the Goodwill willing, a snow suit, each.
I remember Tupperware parties and Avon samples. I remember potlucks in school cafeterias and church and town halls too. I remember Christmases and Thanksgivings. Tables set with, mismatched and chipped and then super glued a few times over, place settings for more than we knew, we knew. And I remember this recipe...
Chocolate Mint Brownies
1 tray of baked brownies
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup butter, melted
6 tablespoons creme de menthe
(milk as needed)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
Prepare a box of brownies per the instructions being careful not to over cook, you may even want to pull them out just a few minutes early, depending on your oven. They will cook just a bit from the residual heat while cooling. (Of course you can make your brownies from scratch... Brownies and fudge are two things I haven't been able to do well from scratch. Although really I haven't had the courage to try either since I was, like, eleven, so probably it's me, not them.) Let cool completely.
In a large bowl beat confectioner's sugar, butter and creme de menthe, until smooth. You may want to add milk just a teensy splash at a time until you get a soft frosting like consistency. Spread over brownies.
Place 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium for 3 minutes, taking it out every minute to stir. Let cool slightly. Spread over mint layer. Let rest until set.
Cut and serve.
A silly little trick for getting nice sharp edges and not muddying the snow white mint layer with chocolate:
Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies, wiping the knife clean with a towel after each cut.
May your holidays be filled with many an Avon party and may your stockings overflow with superglue, too.
Heavy Home, a song.