What Brownies Mean To Me

With that crisp, cool feeling in the air that can only mean that fall is right around the corner, I find my mind turning to thoughts of comfort foods. And one of my all-time go to’s is that of delicious homemade brownies.

Let’s just get the elephant out of the room—more of us than not are willing to agree that brownies are, and always will be, undeniably a timeless classic.

Not only are brownies addictive by their very nature, but they continually provide to be an absolutely delectable chocolate treat. They are an indulgence that is enjoyable at just about any time of the day, and for me personally more often than I care to admit, the night, which makes them the perfect choice when we need a little taste of comfort food.

Ever since I can remember, I have been one of brownies' biggest fans. It didn't matter if they had nuts, chocolate chips, or just plain, there wasn't a brownie I met that I didn't love. That might sound like an exaggeration, but believe me, it isn't.

When I found that I was to write this article, I begin thinking--what do I think of when I think of brownies?

I think of my mother, from when I was young. She would make brownies every Saturday for my dad and me to enjoy over the weekend. She made them from scratch, from a recipe book that was tattered and torn, that she had gotten at a second-hand shop.

I can remember them baking in the oven, the chocolatey oh so familiar smell would waft through the house, permeating each and every room

of the house.  

Even to this day, I always have felt the warmest, safest feeling when I smell brownies baking. My mother has been gone for 16 years now, but to this day, when I smell brownies, I am back in her kitchen, watching her and waiting in anticipation for the genuine delight that was to come.  

I am sure some are reading this that can more than relate to the feelings and memories I am describing. They are reminiscent of a time that has passed long ago, but when brought to mind, are just as heartfelt and clear as if they had happened just a few days ago.

About fifteen years back, shortly after my mom passed, I dug out her old tattered cookbook and looked up the recipe she used all those years ago. I was in a mood where I was thinking back to my childhood and those fond memories I will always have of her.

I followed the directions as they were laid out, making sure to be extra diligent in measuring the ingredients. I whipped it all together, placed is lovingly into the pan, and slid it carefully into the oven. I then set my timer, and I patiently waited.  

That wait felt like all of eternity. I checked back several times, looking to see if the oven was still on and to make sure the timer was still counting down. Then, the anticipated moment arrived, and the timer chirped that the baking time was up.

I turned off the timer and the oven, and gently removed my pan of homemade brownies. Now the most challenging part was to come—waiting for them to cool down enough to cut them. While I waited, I gently closed my mom's cookbook and placed it back in its appointed place on the shelf of her Seller's cabinet.

When the time was right, I carefully cut the brownies into squares and removed a serving, placing it on a plate. My mouth watered in sheer anticipation of the nostalgic taste that was shortly to come. I raised the brownie to my lips and took a small bite.

The brownie tasted like a brownie, however it didn't taste like my mom's brownies. I put the square back down on the plate and went over to retrieve the cookbook. I looked up the recipe again, making sure that I didn't miss anything. Skimming over the ingredients, to my dismay, they were all included. However, the brownie didn't taste like my mom’s.

Did she alter the recipe in some manner, I asked myself? Did she combine to different recipes, maybe? I stood there, looking from the brownie square on my plate, to the pan of brownies, then back to the square. After a few moments, it hit me. Mom's tasted better, in every way possible, because she had baked them with love.

I had always heard the term that those items baked "with love" were the best and most delicious. That had to be why mine had turned out different from hers the way that they did. I baked my brownies out of nostalgia, trying to capture childhood memories. My mom baked them with love for me and my dad, for us to enjoy when we ate them.

In the end, although my brownies would still suffice as comfort food, and for a sweet fix when I found myself with a craving, they will never again be like moms. Those brownies are gone forever, never to return. That comfort food will forever be lost in time.

However, I still have my memories of watching her mix her brownies up, pour them in a pan, and place them in the oven. I still have my memories of the aroma that the brownies would create in her kitchen. I still have my memories of how much we all enjoyed them, and how absolutely delicious they tasted—like little squares of chocolately love. They would vanish in no time at all, and then the wait was on until the next weekend when she would make them once again. I have my memories of her smiles and how her eyes twinkled when we told her how much we loved them, and how we couldn't wait until next Saturday.

I have my memories—and when I think about it, no matter how delicious those brownies were, my memories were even more precious.

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