MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — In a move that absolutely everybody saw coming, Grandma made Brunswick stew again, even though no one asked her to.
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“It’s my famous Brunswick stew,” Ethel Braddock, 81, a grandmother to six, explained in a recent interview. “Famous because back in 1955, right after Old Man Ellerson’s cow died in the middle of the road, the legendary bandleader Dudley Sullivan came through town and declared this the best Brunswick stew he’d ever had. After that, everyone knew about it!”
Her family, on the other hand, tells a different tale. “It’s really not that famous,” Jason Braddock, the second youngest of her grandchildren, commented. “We literally have no idea why she keeps calling it famous. The only ones who know about it are the immediate family. I don’t think people other than us even realize she can make Brunswick stew.”
Sarah Neswick, the youngest of the grandchildren agreed. “Yeah. Also, what in the shit is a Dudley Sullivan?”
As quick as Grandma Braddock is to talk about the legendary Dudley Sullivan, she’s not as quick to divulge any secrets related to making the stew. According to independent sources, she keeps the recipe locked up inside her brain, while the ingredients are firmly tucked away in her attic.
“Oh, I’ve had people over the years say, ‘Grandma, why don’t you write down the recipe?’ Don’t need to. That’s not how I do. I won’t even let my family see the ingredients, except for the—oh, you almost got me!”
According to the family, the real mystery is why she keeps bringing it over for Christmas dinner. “As far as I know, Brunswick stew has no business at Christmas,” Jason Braddock explained. “So we literally never ask her to bring it. Also, some of those ingredients are older than I am. I’d rather not make a trip to the ER for the holidays.”
Despite some of the pleas from her family, the tradition of Grandma Braddock’s generally unwanted Brunswick stew lives on. “I guess I’ll just keep making it every year till I die,” Ethel said. “After that, I’ll make it every other year.”
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