PEABODY — At 89, when Doris (Silva) Brown Spacer cooks — she cooks.
She remembers providing Portuguese sweetbread at her son’s school event, so much bread she brought it in a giant plastic bag.
“He got two girls to help carry it,” she says. “Girls. They looked like Sumo wrestlers. They could have carried him.”
None of the bread was wasted. It seldom is when Doris cooks.
“I love bread,” she says. In fact, Brown (the name she prefers to go by) helped put her kids through school selling sweetbread. Her reputation was spread by word of mouth; a local congressman periodically filled a suitcase with her sweetbread to bring to Washington. And bread is only the appetizer on her menu.
Brown’s culinary skills and sharp wit will be on the front burner as she appears on October 23 at 8 p.m. on the Cooking Channel’s “My Grandmother’s Ravioli” with host Mo Rocca. The pair will cook Portuguese roast pork, green beans and doughnuts, which are among the 140 recipes featured in the cookbook Doris co-wrote with daughter Leslie Breen of Swampscott, “Cooking with Doris B.”
Over the last several days, she’s had TV and news people coming to the house where she’s lived all her life.
“I feel like Marilyn Monroe except she’s dead,” Brown cracks. Finally, “The big shot came.” That would be Rocca, a CBS commentator.
“He’s a young man. We went dancing,” Brown says. Brown dances often at senior centers. “He doesn’t know how to dance,” she laments.
To hear her tell it, Doris didn’t know how to restrain her outspoken ways. “This is a very good meal,” Rocca told her softly as cameras recorded.
Even more softly, she replied, “I know. But there’s a lot of salt.”
“We don’t talk about the salt,” Rocca cautioned.