Sunday, September 20, 2015

Brownie love


The summer I was sixteen my mother decided that we children should all have to learn how to plan meals, do the grocery shopping for same then actually cook the evening repast: she started with me – not because I was the oldest – as my job that summer was folding sheets hot off the mangle in the hospital laundry and since it was a miserably hot job we worked from 7 until 3 p.m. meaning that I was the first off work or out of school or whatever else my siblings were doing to occupy their time.

I have often laughed about that summer as I was the one who always forgot to salt the dishes that I made: this stood me in good stead when later in life my husband needed to be on a salt-free diet.

I managed, but certainly was never the cook that my mother was. Then there was boarding school until I got out of university and although I often worked in the cafeteria of whatever school I was then attending, cooking was limited to peeling potatoes, running the cash register, or even washing the dishes.

As a young wife I didn’t get much more practice as since we worked together and were self-employed we often ate out, had to entertain clients, or had little time: my husband thought that after we got home the meal should be on the table within the following 5 minutes. That didn’t leave much scope for fancy meals.

The kids came along and again it was more getting a balanced meal on the table in short order at least twice a day: as there is an age gap in between my two sons, often we had two main meals as one or the other had been missing at lunch or would be at dinner: again more utilitarian meals.

Throughout though I developed a love of baking – my mother’s sister made us pies, cakes and cookies even when we were small and weekends were never lacking in fine home baked items.

So at one point my husband and I decided that Sundays we would only have two meals – a late breakfast and an early dinner – thus allowing us to take the kids swimming in between. That worked until teenage dietary needs loomed, then I started making a fruit tart for “dinner” as they needed something.  Christmas has always been “my” time with cookie baking, fruitcakes, etc. I’ll start end November, beginning December and normally we’ll still have something in the freezer at least until my older son’s birthday end January.

I can’t remember when first I discovered the brownie recipe, but it has become a tradition. The one thing that I can always do well; the one item that a growing circle of friends love seeing come their way.  At some point they have asked for the recipe – as have my kids – but I thought to myself, no, that is the one thing that I do excel at in the kitchen, let’s keep it my specialty.

I always make them in the winter, but have been known to do so at odd times and recently the weather was cooler, I had the time and needed dessert for an evening meal so got busy. The resulting double batch were enjoyed as dessert, some went to one good friend, some to another, some up to my landlord in the mountains and some were even left home for my housemate, her husband and my son. I’m not very good with saying I love you or even writing it, but those for whom I make brownies need to know that that is my way of showing it. But it isn’t only me that uses “Brownie Love”:

My housemate sent me the following by e-mail this morning:

This morning I found on the brownie pan a note
 *Proof of my love for you! I 'm drunk and that brownie looks so good"

I left a note and half a brownie "Proof of my love for you."

RRR”

Brownie love is a fine thing!

the latest batch