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Ute Brownies

Feb 11, 2013 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

When I first came across the recipe card for “Ute Brownies” in my Grandmother Marcia’s notebook, I immediately wondered: How was she connected to the Ute tribe? And how did the Ute people and brownies have anything in common? That’s what happens when you thumb through recipe cards from a loved one who is no longer here. You have questions, and you hope to find answers.

I asked my mother if she remembered “Ute brownies.” She told me that Ute, pronounced “Ooo-da,” was the daughter of Grandmother Marcia’s friend, Mrs. Partain. I never met Mrs. Partain, but I did meet her recipe for cheese grits—one of my all-time favorite recipes. (I’ll tell you about cheese grits another day.)

Mrs. Partain’s husband used to take my mother and Ute to the local drugstore in Paragould, Arkansas called, “Highway Sundries.” This was the type of place that had an original soda fountain with a marble bar. He’d give the girls a quarter for a coke (which was a lot of money in the 1950s).  They’d sip their cokes while seated in the tiny chairs that were popular in soda fountains back in those days.

I’m not sure if my mom and Ute ever nibbled on Mrs. Partain’s brownies while at Highway Sundries, but I’d imagine the brownies would pair well with a fresh coke.

I made the brownies tonight, and let me tell you: Mrs. Partain didn’t disappoint. These brownies are luscious, melt-in-your mouth brownies—the best kind. The recipe requires a few simple ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time. Word of caution: you may be inspired to eat all of the brownies yourself. Be careful.

Ute Brownies

Recipe by Ute’s mother, Mrs. Partain, my Grandmother Marcia’s friend


  •  3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (soft)
  • 2 unbeaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans


Preheat over to 350 F.

Put everything in the mixer except pecans and beat on “speed three” for 2 minutes. Put in nuts and beat for one minute.

Bake for 30 minutes in 8 inch pan. Let stand a little while before cutting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Jan 16, 2013 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Woke up to a snowy day here in Boston, and from what I understand other parts of the country are enjoying much of the same. I think Beef Stroganoff makes a great cold-day dinner. It is a hearty, comforting meal with familiar flavors. I found this particular recipe in my mom’s recipe box, and I’m not sure how old it is or who gave it to her, but it’s pretty solid. Overall. If you want to try it, you’ll have to decipher her hand!

Jan 14, 2013 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Contributor Emily Hull writes about the secret of presentation, here:

Jan 10, 2013 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Happy New Year!

For us here at The American Recipe Project, this year will mark several big things in the life of this project. In the next few months we will launch our website, which will house our blog, and premiere our webisodes which you have seen shots from in this blog. We will also premiere the web app we have been beta-testing, with functionality that allows you to share your own family recipes. We want this to be the place on the internet that ANYONE can come to share their food, family, and history.

Above are some shots from one of our WordPress development sessions, headed by the fabulous Daniel Quinn. DQ has been helping develop our custom WordPress site, along with designer Laura Parrish and PHP Developer Mike Miles. This team is hard at work helping turn my dream of a home on the web for this project into a reality.

So stay tuned – there is so much happening here and we can’t wait for you to see it!

Dec 11, 2012 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Christmas Breakfast Monkey Bread

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