Mandelbrot, Mushy Meatloaf and WWII War Effort Recipes

My brothers don’t remember my mother’s war effort dinner: broiled baked beans, American cheese and bacon open-faced sandwiches—high in protein, low in cost. But I remember, and I loved them.

I also loved her mushy meatloaf that was more oats than meat. My brothers do recall the meatloaf and their dislike of the dish. We all remember buttered toast mixed with a soft-boiled egg when we were sick and lining up for the soup spoon-sized helpings of cod liver oil that mom gave us to keep us healthy. 

What we all remember and all love, including everyone’s children and grandchildren, is her

Mandelbrot—especially her chocolate chip variation. When she was alive, it was a treasured surprise when it arrived at college dorm rooms, newly-wed apartments, or Jewish holidays. Over the years, it was the source of hot debate with cousins. Each claimed that their mothers made the best Mandelbrot. No way! Even Aunt Jerri’s toasted almond cookies weren’t close.

The pandemic has made cooks of many of us. We’ve become shut-ins looking for a tasty treat to brighten the day. So here is to us. Share it, enjoy it, and remember GG. I do.

Mandelbrot (aka Mandel Bread)

4 cups flour

½ cup oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 heaping tsp. baking powder

1 cup sugar

4 eggs and a pinch of salt

¼ cup orange juice or water

½ 12-ounce package of chocolate chips or chopped nuts

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat sugar and eggs in another bowl; add oil, vanilla, and liquid; beat well.

Add flour mixture a cup at a time. Mix thoroughly. Empty bowl onto a floured board and knead well. Add enough flour to make dough easy to handle. Divide dough into 8 rolls, about 1 inch high and 2 inches wide. (Rolls should be long and shaped like a hot dog roll. Don’t worry if the size is a bit different.)

Bake on a greased cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. (Mom usually checked after 10 minutes, and then put the tray one shelf higher in the oven.) Slice rolls immediately after removing from the oven. Cookies should be about 1 inch thick.


Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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