|Ma Augusta behind the counter at Otis Spot with a fresh batch of another one of her specialties: Light Bread|
MA AUGUSTA'S SHORTBREAD
As made and sold at Otis Spot, Buchanan in the 80's
This is Liberian food as far as I'm concerned. While it may not be traditional Liberian fare, I first ate it in Liberia made by a Liberian and so it is included here. It goes great with Jolof rice and collard greens. It is also wonderful for breakfast with coffee. It tastes sort of like a crispy cake and the recipe was passed on to our family from an amazing Liberian woman named Ma Augusta (more on her below).
5 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 sticks of butter (softened)*
*Ma Augusta used margarine as milk products are difficult to find in Liberia. Butter tastes much better in my opinion.
Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder together. Add eggs and butter, and cut into dry ingredients Mixture will be coarse. Add approximately 1 3/4 cups of water. The batter should be thin enough to pour into a pan but thick enough that you have to use a fork to spread it out towards the edges of the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 - 40 minutes. Knife should come out clean when inserted into center.
ABOUT MA AUGUSTA
|My mom with Ma Augusta at Otis Spot. |
I am on the left eyeing the light bread
|Setting up a Voter Registration booth at Otis Spot|
|Election Official and neighborhood registrants on the Otis Spot porch.|
MA AUGUSTA'S OTIS SPOT
Otis Spot was a place were people could come and play checkers (Liberian rules), eat light bread wrapped in Swedish newspapers thrown out from nearby LAMCO and of course palavar on the porch about all things political, religious and controversial (this is a Liberian fine art). It was here that I came to enjoy palavar for palavar's sake as we discussed such diverse topics as the Rastafari, the treatment of animals, Apartheid, political corruption, colonialism, et al. Ma Augusta was always within earshot to throw in a few comments, laugh at or with us and break up the occasional fight and encourage us to leave her place with peace and goodwill.
|Open Bible Road goes past Otis Spot on the left and leads up to Tubman Street. It was on this porch that checkers, palavar and shortbread were enjoyed by all.|
Today Otis Spot is the site of a small church and the open palavar porch has since been screened in. An era is gone but the recipe for Otis Spot still remains: mix motherly nurture, community, palavar, checkers and of course Ma Augusta's famous shortbread and see what happens!
|RIP Ma Augusta - You are missed!|