"Mrs. Bentley never sifts." This has been mantra in our house since my sister and I were old enough to read Mrs. Bentley's cookbooks. Virginia Bentley was a childhood friend of our grandmother's and her books were treated like the oracle of Delphi in our kitchen.
Well, Mrs. Bentley would have sifted if she had encountered the box of cocoa that I tried to make into brownies. The recipe is for Supremely Fudgy Brownies from Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson. As an aside, this book rocks your chocolate world. Ask Margaret about the OMG Brownies.
All went well until the part where you add the dry ingredients. All the dry ingredients but the cocoa went in smoothly. The cocoa stayed in lumps, unwilling to associate with those lesser dry ingredients, the flour and baking powder, let alone with the eggs, butter and sugar. I had to taste the batter many times to ensure that this was not going to cause a problem, and eventually dtermined that it would be all right.
After I baked them up the lumps still showed on the surface. After I ate them up - no more lumps. Maybe that's how Mrs. B. dealt with them.