In my youth, certain families of girls were Girl Scouts and other families were Camp Fire Girls.
We were Camp Fire Girls. Don't ask; it was a given. In my mother's attic can still be found relics of our woodland life: beaded headbands and belts (most yet to be completed), or braided lanyards (with whistles) in the event that one of us ever sought employment as lifeguard or camp counselor. But one relic of those bygone days remains with us all in our recipe files: Mrs. Larrick's Barbecue Sauce.
One badge along the Camp Fire path was earned by planning, preparing and serving a complete dinner. The meat course was baked, barbecued pork chops. They were a triumph then, and have remained a tried-and-true standby ever since. Through the years, I have used chicken as well as pork, and have turned to my hibachi as often as my oven. I've tasted spicier and/or sweeter barbecue sauces that I've liked as well or better. This one, though, is a classic: It never fails.
Also, because it was originally chosen for its simplicity, the proportions can be adjusted without complex mathematical calculations. When baking a couple of chops or a few pieces of chicken, cut in half. When grilling and basting, double. Divide or multiply at will -- there's no mathematics badge that I can recall.
MRS. LARRICK'S BARBECUE SAUCE (Makes about 2 cups) 1 cup catsup 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons celery seed 1 teaspoon nutmeg 2/3 cup tarragon vinegar 1/2 cup water 1 or 2 bay leaves
Combine all ingredients. Marinate pork chops or chicken pieces in sauce for a half-hour or so, turning to coat all sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done, or grill over semi-hot coals, turning and basting often, for up to 1 hour depending on thickness.