Thursday, July 14, 2011

Basic BBQ Sauce from Aunt Eleanor

Category: Beef
Difficulty Rating: Very Easy
Not Healthy but fine on BBqd chicken!

One of my most vivid memories is of my grandfather, Lloyd Whitson's sisters, Eleanor and Maude. They came out to California from Minnesota to visit my grandfather. I was about 11 or 12. They were old ladies.

At first, I thought I had never seen such classic, almost cartoon-like old ladies. They wore calf-length black dresses, and those black grandma orthopedic shoes. Their gray hair was kept neatly in buns. But they were tall, about 5'9". Unusually tall for their era. They had a few extra pounds on, but they were solid--like tree-trunks. You could tell they didn't just lay around all day. They were old, yes--but I soon found out they were young inside.

Aunt Eleanor was especially young at heart, she was even... hip! Warm and totally unpretentious, she knew how to talk to children. She made me feel like I was, well, a person! Later, I found an 8X10 picture of her as a young girl and she was absolutely stunning. Black Irish, Scottish and Norwegian. Almost Spanish-looking, she looked very much like movie-star Penelope Cruz. Wow!

I didn't talk much to Aunt Maude, but I do have a wonderful memory of her cleaning out closets at my grandfather's house. I still see her in my mind's eye, poised in front of a jam-packed closet with her hands on her hips. She let out a "hmph!" and started in cleaning. No complaining...just get on with it. That's what we were taught in our (Whitson) family. Don't waste time wishing the problem wasn't there--find a solution and get 'er done.

After they left, I received 4 teaspoons with "Ws" engraved on them from Aunt Eleanor. They were from my great grandmother Jennie Whitson's small silver collection. They were very poor, the Whitsons, so every little bit of silver had been cherished. It made me cry to think she had given them up. She also sent this basic BBQ sauce recipe. She had remembered that I collected recipes for my childish recipe box... Sure, you can find one just as good on the shelf in the grocery store. But this was hers, which makes it special.

Blend: 2 T Vinegar and 1 T flour

Add:

1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 t salt
1 pinch red pepper
1 t paprika
1/4 t pepper
1 t chile powder
1/2 C ketchup
2 t brown sugar
2 T hot water ( Aunt Eleanor used 1/2 C)

Cook gently until thick and spread or brush on grilling meats and poultry. Or, spread or brush on meat that has almost cooked in the oven, and cook until meat is done and sauce has carmelized.

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