This is a one on one interview with my Lola Josefs “Sef”. Staring at her while she’s telling stories makes her smile glow continuously. That’s why I didn’t even wonder na saan nangangaling yung “Richness” sa Taste ng Brownie Recipe niya.
When Notre Dame of San Jose was opened as a private school, there was a “Rigodon” which is the Changing of directors, directors such as Priests of different congregations and Marist brothers. Then the Director of Notre Dame of San Jose was a Marist brother, he was no other than Brother Joseph Damian Teston who happens to have a mother whom he said “let the children grow by eating brownies every day” so the mother baked brownies every day. Using the right ingredients, such as walnuts, rich fat evaporated milk, butter (if possible the best butter) with the best chocolate powder, flour, eggs, and sugar. It so happened that he was the president of Notre Dame of Marbel College now NDMU Notre Dame of Marbel University. Every time he has his visitors, especially from abroad, he invited them for a lunch at Notre Dame of San Jose which he called his University. So every time he has special visitors, he asked me to bake brownies so he buys the best ingredients for the brownies which the visitors liked very much. So I tried my very best to bake the best brownies until I made friends with all the Bishops assigned in Cotabato City and Marbel especially Bishop Mongeau who loves eating brownies very much. So when he comes to Marbel, he visits us in our house and asks for brownies. All Bishops assigned her in Marbel who also love Brownies very much so everytime they have a special occasion, Brother Damian always requested me to bake Brownies for them.
Brother Damian’s mother used to send us Fresh Walnuts still with shells which the children (students) break using the hammer. So with the rest of the ingredients Brother buys them from the different stores and bring them to Notre Dame of San Jose to be bake. That’s how I was made known to baking the best brownies in town so until now.
I taught my students how to bake brownies in the class until all of them learned even the boys with their teachers. Much more, Notre Dame of San Jose was one of the recipients of the Catholic relief services which includes flour, powdered milk, butter, cooking oil and cheese. That’s how I was able to improve the baking of brownies. I picked some of my talented students to bake brownies in School especially when we have visitors.
The Struggle with Baking 1975-1980
We lack ovens, baking pans and mixing bowls. Instead, we use small basins, we kerosene stove with portable ovens. We obtain our baking utensils by sending our native projects made of coconut materials such as guinit bags, guinit slippers, and guinit hats to the States through Brother Damian. He distributed it among their family friends in the States and in return he was given an amount to buy the things we needed for baking such as Kerosene Stoves with portable ovens. Then when Bishop Arliss, was assigned in Marbel as Bishop, he did the same. Through him we send ipil-ipil projects made out of ipil-ipil seeds just like ipil-ipil necklace, bracelet, centerpieces of ipil-ipil seeds for flower vases. Until such time, the School was able to buy a Lagermania oven with a refrigerator from the solicitation of Bishop Arliss. Because of the Facilities we had, our work became lighter.
Before we even started selling brownies, during weekends, my grandchildren and I bake brownies especially for meryenda (snacks) until all of them learned how to bake brownies taken from my own original recipe.
So when Mr. Parcon and Myself retired from School we had several cooking utensils accumulated for the school which is being used until now. And by this time, my grandchildren are trying to follow my ability in baking brownies with their added ideas.
Thank you for your support!