Friday, July 09, 2010

The things you can't cheat on, the things you can't sub out

I am currently making peanut butter blondies with milk chocolate frosting (Joy the Baker) for a party tomorrow. And as I stir the butter and dark brown sugar, melting them over medium heat, I'm struck by the fact that you really can't exchange the butter in a blondie for another form of fat, or fat substitute.

I've been making blondies for a long time. The original blondie recipe, which makes something almost more akin to a brown sugar fudge if you don't bake them quite long enough, is in The Joy of Cooking. I made that recipe, and the one for banana bread, countless times as a kid/teenager, pretty much from the time I was allowed to use the stove and oven. That was a good half of my repertoire: blondies, banana bread, gingerbread men (from the same book, only at Christmastime), and the "Never-Fail Fudge" recipe from the back of the tub of marshmallow fluff.

The key to the blondie is absolutely the melding of butter and brown sugar, followed by a perfectly timed addition of eggs- too soon, and you have butterscotch laced with scrambled eggs. [I do have a friend who would totally eat that for breakfast, by the way.] So how can you sub the butter for anything else, anything less?

I've been bothered over the past week by an incident that happened last Friday, and three conversations that followed, in which I was surprised by the behavior of two people with whom I work closely. I've known one of them for years and really, shocked does not begin to cover my reaction to a situation that, honestly, did not affect me directly. But this person whose words and actions surprised me is my friend, and what I know or knew or thought of his character has been shaken.

I tried to stay out of this mess, reasoning that it wasn't my place or my business, that the person who had been hurt in this situation wasn't my responsibility...but at the end of the day I had to get involved, had to try to do something to make things better. I don't know if I succeeded; ultimately I think a bad situation was made worse by some poor judgment calls (not on my part) and some unfortunately chosen words, but I am not sorry.

No matter how small, an injustice is an injustice. I think a person has to speak up when the inner voice says so; at the end of the day you really can't sub out fairness and decency, no matter how messy it gets.

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