My First Cookbook

I bought my first cookbook when I was in the 3rd grade, from the book fair at school. I was 9 years old. The first recipe I made was Big Bad Wolf’s Brownies on page 74 of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Cookbook. It was at about that age that I realized I could cook stuff. I didn’t have to wait for anyone to help me. If I wanted brownies, I had the capability to make brownies! And it really wasn’t that hard.

Around that same time, I had my mom enroll me in a microwave cooking class at our local recreation center. It seems funny now, but 30 years ago microwave cooking was all the rage! I learned to make hot dogs and nachos and spaghetti and, I want to say, some sort of odd not-grilled grilled cheese. No vegetables though. I learned how to make zero vegetables in my microwave cooking class, which is also funny to me.

I especially loved cooking for my parents. I would always surprise them with breakfast in bed. The first time I made blueberry muffins I didn’t realize you had to drain the blueberries from the little can that comes in boxed muffin mix. I burst into their room to surprise them with pipping hot BLUE blueberry muffins! The first time I made tuna, I didn’t know you were supposed to drain the tuna. Oops! That time I was surprising my mom with homemade lunch. She was so sweet and totally stomached her way through tuna salad sandwiched between two very soggy pieces of white bread.

Some things I would make from scratch with a recipe, some things I would just follow directions from a box and others I would just try to emulate what I had seen my mom do. Those were the meals I loved best. A meal I had prepared all from memory of watching my mom do it so many times. Tacos, spaghetti, roast, tater tot casserole, chicken and rice… and her favorite… bundt cakes. 

In those early years, Big Bad Wolf’s Brownies were still the most frequently made dessert. The ingredients were pretty much staples in our house and I had done it so many times that I had the recipe memorized. In a deep, wolf like voice, my sister and I would run around the house saying “Big Bad Wolf’s Brownies” over and over until they were finished baking. Making them for this story was the first time I had made them in probably 25 years. They are just brownies, y’all. Just straight up, no frills, gooey chocolate brownies. The ingredients are simple and if a 9 year old can do it… surely you can 😉

I took this picture with glasses of milk but if I’m being honest… it would have been a can of Dr Pepper when I was a kid. That was a staple in our house too!

Big Bad Wolf’s Brownies

Recipe by Melissa Tate TXCourse: DessertDifficulty: Easy
Prep timeminutes
Cooking time




  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate OR 6 TBSP unsweeted cocoa powder

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 TSP baking powder

  • 1 TSP vanilla

  • 2 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat 9×9 baking pan with non-stick spray.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well.
  • Pour batter into the baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.

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