In my last column, I wrote about going to a party with other adults. I am an adult. I have been to parties before. I never second-guessed my qualifications for writing about being an adult at a party with other adults.
One reader believes that I should have second-guessed, and then first-classed my column to the trash can.
Because the column included the announcement that I have never had a beer, this reader declared me an unfit party reporter. This reader told me to stick to what I know. This reader, who I have never met before, told me that what I know is “brownies.”
I love doing what strangers tell me. I prefer to do it when they’re whispering instructions to me from an unmarked van and offering me a lollipop and a puppy. I’m willing to make an exception here.
I love brownies. Brownies are made from chocolate, and chocolate is brown. Brownies, therefore, enjoy a name that is precisely descriptive. Because there’s an “ie” involved, the name also conveys that the brown matter is friendly and adorable. I think we can all agree that brownies are friendly and adorable.
If you’ve had a bad day, a brownie says “I can make you feel better.” If you feel like celebrating, a brownie says “I can show you the good time you deserve.” If you feel like you’re still missing something after dinner, a brownie says “I complete you.”
Brownies perch there quietly on the plate, all petite and square-like. They can come wrapped in nail-thin wax paper, or hugged in a little brown sack, or crowned in a glorious sundae with a cherry on top. The most aggressive thing a brownie will do is surprise you with an embedded chocolate chip or two.
Occasionally, I feel badly for brownies. At birthday parties, they are overlooked in favor of your standard sheet cake or your shift-the-paradigm cookie cake. Unlike the pumpkin or the apple, there is no holiday or season associated with the brownie. Desserts have feelings too, and no one seems to give a brownie’s vulnerability any consideration.
Let’s face it. Brownies don’t deserve this kind of secondary status. Brownies have more going for them than just their perfect name. Brownies are delicious.
Biting into a brownie is like biting into a plush pillow of Hershey’s-flavored feathers. The chocolate melts on your tongue and in the space between your teeth and your cheeks. It settles comfortably in your stomach, unfurling like a picnic blanket.
If, in the manner of Emeril Lagasse, you are inclined to take things up a notch, the brownie offers itself as your canvas. Sprinkle sea salt on top for a little crunch, layer with frosting for a natural high, crunch peppermint on top and wait for Santa. For those looking to perform simple magic tricks at home, you can transform your brownie into a blondie with a dramatic handful of butterscotch chips.
Sure, brownies have lots of sugar, eggs and butter. You might hear a nutritionist say that these ingredients make brownies unworthy of your consumption. I say nutritionists need a few more years of schooling. A brownie a day keeps the therapist away. Other medical professionals need to pipe down.
There is one exception to all of this splendor: a brownie that comes out of my kitchen. Any such brownie is easily identifiable by its pitiful presentation, anemic pallor and steely impenetrability. When offered a brownie from my kitchen, you should side-step to the next option on the buffet.
In summary, I am good at eating brownies. My reader correctly intuited that. Perhaps my reader judged from my picture that I could use fewer brownies in my diet. In which case, thank you for the boost of insecurity.
On the other hand, I am terrible at baking brownies. My reader missed the mark there. Perhaps my reader assumed I can bake because I am a woman. In which case, thank you for the perpetuation of stereotype.
Tune in to my forthcoming column, where I will tackle the joys of ironing, as recommended to me by the next stranger without a sense of humor.