Wednesday, November 08, 2006

cake du jour - brownie

Right, let's get something out of the way. Strictly speaking, I do not regard a brownie as cake. However it definitely cannot be regarded as 'biscuit' or 'pie', and so it remains in the 'cake' category until I have a better idea of my criteria.

Brownies did not enter my life until my teens. I have this idea that they were an American import, and I am not altogether convinced that anything American reached Totnes before 1980. (Unless you count Leonard and Dorothy Elmhurst, of course.) I am pretty sure that my first encounter with a brownie occurred when I took over a friend's burgeoning breaktime refreshments business for a brief period at the Totnes School of Language while she and another friend went on holiday. I was handed a recipe and given instructions to turn up with brownies and dispense tea, which I duly did. I am amenable in that way, and I strongly suspect that there was money in it for me. I made the brownies in my Mother's kitchen and seem to remember that they went down a storm. People still mention those brownies to me, I kid you not. Admittedly those people are relatives but let's draw a veil over that.

I also vaguely remember having brownies laced with hash at some point during my college years. It's a scandalous admission but I was an art student so these things are to be expected. I remember sitting on the sofa with my friends and giggling incessantly, and then watching 'The Cotton Club'. I've been meanig to watch it again ever since (a mere 20 years) as I'm sure the giggling got in the way of the storyline.

Whilst working at Printspace I used to go and buy utterly fantastic brownies from Konditor and Cook (oh, what it was to have money) whenever friends were coming to visit the studio. This helped to draw attention away from the fact that the stools were fabulously uncomfotable and the place was cold beyond belief. It may also have diverted the palate from the distinct tang of parrafin in the tea, as those brownies were top notch. When friends weren't coming I would buy the slightly cheaper and distincly inferior ones from Borough Market instead. They weren't as nice but were much bigger which helps make up for a lot.

Nowadays I am partial to a brownie in times of stress and PMT. I go to the supermarket, buy a pack of three for 99p and tell myself that they will last all weekend. Without fail I end up I scoffing the lot in an evening. This aptly demonstates the affect of a glass or two of wine on my willpower, and leads me to conclude that it would be a dangerous thing for me ever to cook them again unless there are friends coming round.