The Gooey Bar Story

Back in 1985, we were sitting shiva for my dear Mama Anna. My grandmother had just died. In the tradition of my religion, friends would come to call and bring food so the family wouldn’t be concerned with any day to day chores during the mourning period. And eating is very important, because to eat is to live. Friends of all religious persuasions visited, and brought delicious food to eat, and we’d sit around and tell stories, laugh and cry.

On one of the nights we were sitting, one of my mother’s dear friends brought over a fabulous dessert that she called “gooey bars”. The bar cookie had a crust on the bottom, and the top was cooked but very gooey, soft and moist. We politely asked for the recipe, but my mother’s friend declined. She said it was a secret family recipe that she had promised not to share. Today, you may know these treats as lemon bars, but these had no lemon in them, which was just fine with us. We were sad, because my mother was — and still is — a fabulous baker, but we certainly respected her friend’s position.

Later that evening, my mother and I were sitting together and this friend came over, put her arm around my mother, who had just lost her mother, and said: “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.” My mother and I looked at each other, smiled and said: “You can give us the gooey bar recipe!” I know, I know, we were taking advantage of my mother’s friend’s generosity, but there it is. It was out there. And all she could do, being she had walked right into that one, was agree to send the recipe. Which, I am happy to say, she did.

We, in turn, kept the recipe in the family, even to this date. We have subsequently found many renditions of this dessert online, and — in one of life’s ironies — my mother’s friend recently published the recipe in the local newspaper in conjunction with an article about the annual neighborhood block party.

Regardless, both my daughter and I continue to make this delicacy, to rave reviews. None of the other recipes online are exactly like our’s, although mostly similar. We like to serve it chilled to company, but personally we like to eat it frozen. Like our brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

I have no idea where the frozen thing started, but that’s the way we like it.

And we like gooey bars. And the story that goes with it.


~ by Heather on July 9, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Gooey Bar Story”

  1. good story. Love, Mom

  2. Who knew that frozen desserts could be so good?! I bet I know how that started. Grandma always made tons of cookies & brownies in advance to keep in the freezer, for whenever the kids & grandkids stopped by. The first thing we always did (after saying hello) was raid the freezer. And, really, who wants to wait for them to thaw before eating?

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