This realization of my compulsion came one night as several couples were meeting at a home with each of us bringing something for dinner: either the main dish, the salad or the dessert. As I walked in with my side dish, I was interrogated about whether or not this was a new dish or a tried-and-true dish.
It was new. Never before been tried.
Just like the other women. We each brought a new offering. Not our tried-and-true everyday offering.
I dismissed the gentleman who had asked me as he shook his head. He said the men always prepare what they know will get rave reviews -- not something new. Not something untried.
I dismissed him. I understood the women. There are always new recipes that I want to try and use these sorts of occasions to try them out. Otherwise I just don't have the time to try something new.
This question about new versus known stuck in my brain. The years raced by and we got a spontaneous Superbowl party invitation with just one other family. I have even less time than I did years ago to prepare new and special. I am craving chocolate. I don't even have to bring anything to this event.
But I'm craving chocolate so I quickly whip up my home-made blonde brownies. It's quick. It's cheap. It's chocolate. And if I share with others I won't eat too many.
I bring them. This is no big deal. This is my everyday offerings to my family, who get bored with them because I make them so often.
The family raved about these brownies. Well, I should say the dad of the other family raved about the brownies and ate and ate and ate them. I wondered if anyone else was going to be able to get any. I surely grabbed one or two because I made them for my chocolate craving after all.
Honestly, I had no idea they would be raved about. I didn't think they were that good. They are just what I make on ordinary days and serve to my ordinary, lovely family, who sometimes wishes I would make new things.
The incident, though, got me to thinking about that dinner at that couple's house years ago with that man shaking his head. "Why not bring your tried-and-true recipe that you know everyone will rave about?"
Again, I thought of that couple's dinner and realized that I didn't offer my everyday items precisely because I thought that they were ordinary. I don't want to offer ordinary. I want to offer special. Spectacular. Especially to company.
But, here was the great surprise. My day-in and day-out offering to my family was special. It IS special. I am offering special things all the time.
Sometimes it just takes offering them to company to notice.
* * *
Home made Blonde Brownies
from my mother's kitchen, tweaked by how I make them
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsps vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and mix with brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar, butter, and vanilla mixture. When completely mixed but not overly, pour into 13x9 pan and spread out. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 20 minutes.