In the course of his Senate campaign, Jim Broyhill released a cookbook. I guess he gave them out at fundraising events. According to the excerpt on the back cover, there was a previous edition of the Capitol Cook Book, perhaps made during one of his earlier congressional campaigns. I dearly wish I had a copy of that earlier book, but surely any existing copies
So I paid a quarter for it, just to look through it (actually, I looked through it at the store, clutched it to my chest, and said "I MUST HAVE IT."). The first section is mostly Broyhill family recipes. And then the rest of the book is full of recipes supplied from various politicians. I found this part hilarious, even though I was annoyed that the recipes were credited to "Representative and Mrs." You know what? I bet Pat Roberts has never made a pumpkin chiffon pie in his life, so we might as well give credit to his unnamed Missus (I looked it up - her name is Franki).
I do not recognize all the names, though I suspect they are probably mostly Republicans. You can make the Secretary and Mrs. Caspar Weinberger's Apple Rum Cake or Congressman and Mrs. Trent Lott's Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. While Strom Thurmond the man might make me cringe, his (and his Mrs.) recipe for barbeque sauce looks pretty tasty. The last couple of pages even have recipes courtesy of the Reagans. I intend to make the Gipper's Mac and Cheese, because, well, why wouldn't I? The recipes are mostly pretty simple and a lot of them sound good.
I was nearing the end of the book when I came across something that I instantly knew I needed to make: Broughton Brownies. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
Just like I was one of the few people in Raleigh that would have any interest in James T. Broyhill's campaign cookbook, the people who might get a kick out of Broughton Brownies have to come from a specific place, say around the 10th district.
Needham Broughton was a prominent North Carolina businessman in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He gave the state a lot of money, so he has a high school in Raleigh named after him. His nephew, J. Melville Broughton, the 60th Governor of North Carolina, was the namesake of Broughton Hospital, located in Morganton, North Carolina (in the 10th district!). That's nice, isn't it? Had a hospital named after him.
See, Broughton Hospital is a mental institution. We can all agree that it's not very nice to poke fun at mental illness, you can bet your britches that little kids growing up anywhere near Morganton used Broughton Hospital in their insults. You know, yo mamma so crazy she had you at Broughton Hospital. Or something, I never was very good at those kinds of jokes.
At some point in high school, I met some girls from Raleigh, and they talked very casually about how they went to Broughton. Of course, they meant the high school in the nice part of town. But I didn't know that. I was amazed that not only does the loony bin apparently have a high school attached to it, the kids that go there don't even know enough to be ashamed of going there.
I made Broughton Brownies for an office potluck. I did not tell anyone where I got the recipe, because A.) it would require too much explaining, and B.) it would ruin the fun I had watching them all eat asylum brownies. They had nuts in them, too! GET IT?
The recipe makes a dense and dry marbled brownie. They're not bad. I imagine that if I had to spend some time in Broughton Hospital, I would develop a complicated relationship with such delicious symbols of my incarceration and mental instability. Josh went on and on about how they were no good, because they did not have nearly enough chocolate in them. He did this while shovelling them into his mouth. Once I pointed out that he had eaten them all, he revised his statement to say that they were not actually brownies. I'm okay with that explanation. It would make sense to me that Broughton Brownies are not actually brownies. They just think they are.