The world didn’t end on May 21, 2011 but we had end-of-the-world brownies

Three weeks ago, the world was supposed to have ended. At least, according to some theories. Of course, I didn’t believe any of it. We had a small lunch party scheduled for the following day so Sam and I spent end-of-the-world-day, May 21, 2011, shopping for food stuff for the party. Driving home with her father, we talked about it in the car and, just for fun, I wondered how to calculate the date — whether the predictions specify at which time zone the world would end on May 21, 2011. We’re in the Far East, it may be May 21, 2011 in our time zone but what if doomsday would begin based on another timezone? Well, as it turned out, whichever the time zone, it’s three weeks later and we’re still here.

Now, that’s the first part of the title. What’s with the “end-of-the-world brownies”? That was also part of the conversation in the car but I have to backtrack to two days earlier to make it understandable for you.

On Thursday, May 19, 2011, Speedy baked butterscotch brownies. It was his first time to bake, he did not seem to need my assistance so, except to answer a few questions here and there, I let him be. I did preheat the oven for him though.

When I came down to the kitchen, the rectangular pyrex dish was on the island and inside was a gorgeous looking slab of butterscotch brownies that was still uncut. I was hungry so I poked the top to check if it was cool enough to cut. My finger went through — the inside was still liquid. Apparently, Speedy did a double recipe that required a longer baking time.

I preheated the oven again, Speedy put back the pyrex dish inside and I told him that ten more minutes of baking time would be fine. And I went up to my study again.

Thirty minutes later, I went down again. I was expecting the pyrex dish to be on the kitchen island again. Ten minutes of baking time plus twenty minutes of cooling time — it should be ready for cutting. Told you, I was hungry. But the pyrex dish wasn’t there. I asked Speedy where it was, he said it was still in the oven. I panicked. He said he had turned the oven off already. BUT STILL.

So, he quickly got it out of the oven, we looked at the baked brown mass and the sides appeared to be overly crisp already. I said perhaps we should cut it immediately because it would harden more as it cooled and, by that time, the sides might be rock hard already.

Admittedly, I was just as flustered as Speedy was. I suggested that we invert the thing on a cutting board. The thing cracked, the middle part got cut from the sides and the sides were still stuck to the glass dish. We re-inverted it back into the dish and… well, it really didn’t look too pretty by then. Speedy proceeded to cut it into squares and, the thing is, the butterscotch brownies were delicious. Soft and chewy and just wonderful. They just didn’t look very pretty. By the time the girls were home on Friday evening, there were still some brownies left but they wouldn’t touch them.

So, now we go back to two days later in the car with Sam and the conversation about the end of the world.

The conversation wandered to the brownies. Sam called them ugly. She called them end-of-the-world brownies because, she said, they looked like the surface of the earth after it had been hit by massive earthquakes and landslides.

Speedy said he would never bake again. I said he shouldn’t be like that. The first time rarely turns out right. I made my share of “rubber cakes” when I was about 12 years old.

Still, Speedy felt hurt and he said Sam was mean.

And Sam shot back. She said he was mean too because the first time she baked cupcakes (gee, I don’t remember when this was but some time when Sam was still in grade school), Speedy called the cupcakes “puto.” Okay, for non-Filipinos, puto is a rice cake, often very dense and sticky.

I’m sure Speedy was joking back then but, heck, Sam never forgot. Fortunately for Sam, negative comments like that don’t put her down. She’s baked lots of things since then and she’s gotten better (she’s our expert cake decorator — see this) over the years.

Earlier today, Sam set out to bake something called chocolate bomb. She asked where the measuring cups were and proceeded to mix the batter. I don’t know how it happened but all of a sudden she was cursing and screaming. Apparently, what she measured and mixed into the batter was not sugar but SALT.

And Speedy thought it was very funny.

I thought it was funny too. Until Sam went to her room in a huff and I was left to wash the dirty bowls and baking stuff.