My Granny was one of the sweetest and toughest soul to ever live on this earth. Today, she would have been 98, but she passed away in March of 2015. She often would say “tough times don’t last, tough people do”. What I wouldn’t give to be able to hear some of her stories again. Granny Bea was a simple woman. She never complained about what she didn’t have. I remember her laughing and telling me that “All these people want to go back to the good ole’ days, well there ain’t nothing good about them days. I had to work a lot harder back then.” She loved the simple things in life like spending time with her family. There are so many precious memories of her, that they are hard to list, but a few stick out in my mind more than others.
One thing is for sure, my Granny could work circles around anyone. She was up by 5am cooking breakfast and never ran out of things to do. If it was the summertime, she was outside working in the garden or working in her flower bed. I have many fond memories of stringing and breaking beans with her, my Grandpa and my siblings and cousins. I am not sure how much work we actually did, but we were there. LOL! I can remember when I grew up and would talk to her on the phone or stop by to see her after work, I would say “I have to get me some beans or corn or okra and put it up this weekend.”; and the next day she would call and say, “I put you some up today, come by and get it.”
My Granny could grow anything. It seemed like all she had to do was touch it and it would start sprouting and blooming. She loved flowers and plants and watching them grow. She always planted a huge flower garden in her yard with Dahlias. There would be a huge assortment of colors and they would have the biggest blooms you would ever see on them. I miss seeing them so much. Every time I see one, I think of her.
Granny had a cure for every ailment. She practiced “mountain medicine”. If you complained of back pain, she would get spignet root and make a tea for you to drink. Got stung by a bee? Throw on some tobacco or an onion slice. She could buy your warts and they would disappear. And if you just felt crummy, a spoonful of Geritol was in order. And she had a tiny jar left of Balm of Gilead that was like gold because she couldn’t find the ingredients to make it anymore. There are many more remedies she used, and she was the best at making us feel better. A sure fire cure for everything was her cabinet of smarties candy, bubble gum and Reese cups. She always had a stock on hand, just in case we needed a pick me up.
Cooking and Granny’s Chocolate Broiler Pan Cake
Like my Mama, my Granny was a fantastic cook. There are certain things she made that I always associate with her. She could make the best macaroni and cheese. Every Sunday for lunch she would make it and I would go and get the leftovers at some point during the week. She also made the best egg sandwiches of anyone. Possibly because she fried it with a lot of bacon grease or just grease in general. It is such a simple food to make but I still can’t replicate it exactly like her. She made biscuits in a wooden bowl and did them completely by hand. I could watch her make them for hours. And she made chocolate broiler pan cake with pecan halves on the top more times than I can count.
I remember going to ask her for the recipe about 10 or so years ago. And she gave it to me, but instead of me just taking it she wanted to make it with me. This meant I watched her make it. One thing about my Granny I love is that she did not think you were gonna do it right so you had to watch her. Hahaha! (I might be a little like that myself.) The cake turned out wonderful and I had the recipe for future use. I make it a few times a year now, and it will always be one of my favorites.
Granny’s Chocolate Broiler Pan Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons (heaping) cocoa
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 whole beaten eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- FOR ICING:
- Recipe on back of Hershey Cocoa Powder or here, but reduce cocoa powder to 1/2 cup
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into a broiler pan or a sheet pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the icing. Ice warm cake and top with pecan halves, if desired.