The Regrettable Road Traveled

I thought making brownies with my kids for the 1st time would be a dose of old school American fun. It wasn’t.  Domestic bliss is a lie when a semi straight man tries to make brownies with his kids. Now I know why I occasionally watch The Great British Bakeoff with my wife to feel a tad more snug secure in my drooping masculinity. I’ll never get into the domestic science of experimenting in the kitchen with my 3 kids hovering around me wanting to get involved in making brownies again because caring about perfecting a homemade desert is too fussy sweet for my taste. Also, did you know most brownie recipes, require an entire stick of butter? I’d rather stick to pounding more Sierra Nevada Pale Ale’s, the pale ale that never gets stale, thanks. And microwaving down an entire stick of butter in a measuring cup is gross. It’s like watching what happens to Martha Dumptruck after a whopping minute on the Peloton.  

So, what does raising my kids Koshertarian have to do with my brownie bust experiments? Did I use Kosher salt over Pinko Himalayan Salt?  No, I stuck with Kosher salt because using Pink Himalayan salt didn’t feel Kosher to me because whenever I think of Nepal I think of mind melting hash I got baked with in Amsterdam, which would’ve stripped the old school, this land is your land, American vibe I was trying to tap into for my brownie bust experiment regret of 2020 man.  Still, trying to make brownies with my kids was important to me at the time, because I wanted to instill a sense of American community and a dash of do it all dad bliss, so I could prove to mama, whatever you don’t do, I can do a smidgen better.  The ghost of Robert Frost can go pound Kosher salt, because I took the road less traveled to please my kids and do a group of activity that didn’t involve me wrestling with my kids on our yoga mat, throwing them around our blown up pool this summer from China or playing blackjack with our fancy poker chip set, and regretting every second of it. Our 1st batch of brownies was too cakey, the other batch was too sugary, and I don’t have a spare third testicle, so doubling down on my shot at becoming Betty fucking Draper tweaked on Adderall to feel like a more essential domesticated homemaker hearth warmer failed to fill me with good intended cheer, leaving me with nothing but morning after disgust generated from doing Martha Dumptruck more than twice.

So, what is the magical recipe for domestic brownie bliss. Easy ,use flower, egg, coco powder, sugar, butter and your wife to do it, unless you want to feel like those permanent eunuchs in Empire Of the Sun. Do I sound like a bitter clinger to my non-baker bust past? Yes, but I’ve lost all interest in acting like an American sweetheart when I don’t want to be. Gen X Dads understand. We grew up in the age of Aids, 9/11, multiple recessions and now have massive mask shaming hysteria to contend with from our NPR worshiping wives. So, don’t expect us to do cartwheels over the prospect of relishing the campy, airy, non-divisive feel of The Great American British Bakeoff. No, our tastes in sweets and coffee is like our preferred taste in comedy, dark and bitter, with a dash of some fun filled, foam party conjuring foam on top. Gen X dads are the Macchiato generation, hyper focused, around the clock hustlers obsessed with American made success and teaching our kids more than Different Strokes did such as how a Macchiato is a circumcised Cappuccino, which makes you feel like a less empty, blowhard baby boomer inside.

Michael Kornbluth

Tofu The Terrible Slayer

Matilda, Singing Rose Kornbluth, was in no singing mood today. Every day, she’d wake up singing,” Good day sunshine” by the Beatles even if she got up at the crack of dawn again or decided to work in Norway away from her mom and dad throughout an entire darkened 5 month winter as a 9-year ski model for Northface, knowing in a post-corona universe, she was used to doing remote learning away from school anyway. But this drab Thanksgiving morning was different, because she had to act thankful for eating Tofurky Roast again, despite the spirit of Tofu The Terrible terrorizing her dreams since she described soy dogs in her school lunch cafeteria blog as “Rubber dog link nosh toys.”

But how could Matilda Singing Rose Kornbluth act grateful for eating a Tofurky Roast, since her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Right, made it clear how the native American Indians weren’t responsible for teaching the Pilgrims how to turn soy milk into white blocks of semi-firm bricks of soy with higher levels of estrogen to feminize John Smith’s sturdy stock of sailors with. Also, Thanksgiving this year post-Corona wasn’t feeling particularly festive, knowing Matilda was suffering from PTSD from wearing all of those Corona masks to death. Matilda was now having nightmares of being terrorized by the masked man, Tofu The Terrible who ruined every favorite meal she’d dream of. For example, if Matilda had just won the Gold Medal in the Hardcore X Games for Equestrian Riders within the Under 10 Years age bracket, having to complete jumps through rings of fire with an occasional baby dragon on her tail. She’d normally celebrate with her best friend Shannon in her dream over their favorite treat Jellybeans for a sleepover party soon after. But now all that appeared in her dream were pasty, slimy soybeans in the place of jellybeans because Tofu The Terrible was punishing her for calling soy dogs on her cafeteria food blog, “Not good enough to pass for rubber dog toys.” And Matilda hated pet dogs because they ate dog food with minced horse meat inside. Matilda had always been a hardcore vegetarian loyalist, yet she greatly offended the spirt of Tofu The Terrible, a ferocious Chinese vegetarian warrior from the Ming Dynasty, who even got Genghis Khan into Mapo Tofu over Jasmine Rice, a fiery, dish loaded with super scary Sichuan spice. The smell from the grounded up Sichuan peppercorns would make most grown men cry, making their lips tremble in fear at the prospect of having to try one more bite, knowing Genghis Khan would be hoarding all the Sake rice wine for any temporary relief for themselves soon afterwards.

Matilda was convinced she’d never enjoy the food she loved in real life again such as her Dad’s fried Icelandic cod in a barbeque aioli without tasting anything but mushy, dog drool instead.  

Now, it was time for everyone at the table to give thanks for Thanksgiving, which Matilda had been dreading from the start, because she was consumed with nightmarish visions of Tofu The Terrible ruining all her favorite foods in her dreams and in real life, such as her Dad’s star side dish creation, caramelized cauliflower potato  gratin, combining cave aged Gruyere and Raclette cheese from the Swiss Alps, which  injected the dish with an extra scrumptious, creamy fresh finish.

Matilda’s Dad, a Stay At Home Comedian Author, Podcast Host and self-taught semi gourmand Chef could tell his daughter was dreading her turn to participate and says, “Matilda, you look like you’ve seen a ghost. Is Tofu The Terrible ruining the taste of your Jellybeans again?” Matilda perks up, shaken out of her petrified, frozen comatose and says, “How did you know about Tofu The Terrible Daddy?” Matilda’s dad says, “I helped you launch your own lunch cafeteria blog on WordPress remember? Your last piece Tofu Brownie Blues, was about how Tofu The Terrible threated to shred everyone’s masks at school, unless the Brownie Girls started selling his special batch of Tofu Brownies at the next school bookfair instead.” Matilda says, “Do we have to eat the Tofurky Roast this year?” Dad says, “No, try this veggie Barbeque Pita instead.” Matilda takes a reluctant bite but is moved by her Dad’s gesture of goodwill. She says, “Yummy daddy. Her Dad says, “I fried up cubes of semi-firm soy inside that bad boy. The sautéed onions and peppers keep the memories of mushy dog toy food at bay. Tofu The Terrible was dead in Matilda’s head and she started singing again while giving thanks and praises at Thanksgiving, singing, “Soy Dogs still suck, Tofu The Terrible to, but you’re no longer so bad, since my daddy came to my rescue.”

The End

Michal Kornbluth