Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cruel Irony

Imagine you hear a man laughing. Meanly, caustically. Imagine, let's see - Philip Seymour Hoffman, yes, imagine HIM doing one of his sarcastic, sardonic laughs. Aaahaahaahaahaa. A laugh that would almost physically hurt if he was directing it towards something you said or did.

That's the sound I heard in my head when I made these brownies.

Seriously? I'm no Martha Stewart, I get that. But I consider myself fairly competent in the world of cooking and baking. I can boil water and decently flip an omelette. I can bake a cake that is edible and I'm kind of a genius with homemade pizza.

So why, why am I unable to correctly make brownies from a box? I wanted to bake for Almost Husband's Almost Celebration, in honour of his Almost Promotion. If it were up to me, I'd make decadent dark chocolate raspberry brownies. Ooh, or milk chocolate with orange essence. Or chocolate-cherry. Mmmmm.

But this is my meat-and-potato counterpart. I know him. He likes the stuff from the box. So I put in my egg, water and oil. Stirred it about 50 times, counting it in my head no less, because the box said to stir it about 50 times. I popped it in the oven (you stupid, jerky, irrational appliance, why won't you die so we can ask for a new one?!?!!) and the kitchen smelled gorgeously of melty chocolate and cake. And when I prematurely peeked in on the pan, I decided to pull it out early, knowing the tempestuousness of the oven. And it was burnt around the edges. No mind, it was still soft in the middle. So I let it cool completely, then put it in the fridge for after our dinner (more on that coming up)

After dinner, I excitedly reached in for our pan of brownies. We were both stuffed, but when you have dessert waiting for you, and really, sometimes dinner is more of an obstacle you must eat through to get to an anticipated dessert, you find room, you know? It's like double-parking in your stomach. Anyways, I got the knife and...horror of horrors, the thing was rock hard. Immovable. Crunchy. Like in a burnt cookie way. I was mortified.

"It's okay," Almost Husband said, "They're still good, here, let me eat some." He took a bite. I honestly questioned whether his incisors could withstand the formidable solidity of the brownie. I couldn't stop apologizing, more to myself than anything else. We ate our overcooked dessert in silence and the mood was - subdued.

Perhaps every cook, new or advanced, needs such stories to chart their culinary growth. Maybe, as Almost Husband sweetly pointed out, I'm not meant to follow directions directly. I'm not a "cook-inside-the-box" sort of gal.

I think I'm okay with that.

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