Thursday, June 2, 2011

that you wouldn't want to taste these brownies

I once read what was reputed to be a man's true story which he sent in to an inspirational website. The guy (we'll call him Ned) was arguing with his teenage children about a certain MA-rated movie they'd planned to watch at a friend's house. In his opinion, it contained smut, lewdness and gratuitous violence which he didn't think was fit for them to see.

"But Dad, it's a harmless story with good morals and only a little bit of that stuff," they tried to reason.

He gave a non-committal, "We'll see," and while they were at school the following day, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. They arrived home at 3.30 to the beautiful, warm aroma of freshly baked chocolate brownies.

"I've made you some afternoon tea," their father said. "Come up to the table and grab some."
But just as they were about to sink their teeth in, he folded his arms and said, "Before you indulge, you might want to know my secret ingredient."

The smugness of his smile made them pause. "What is it?"

"Dog poo! But don't worry, there's just a little bit. It's mostly flour, chocolate, butter and sugar. So do dig in."

Instead of saying, "Dad, you're a freak!!" as my kids would have done, these teenagers learned the lesson he'd put all that effort into. "This is about that movie, isn't it? We totally understand now and there's no way we want to go and watch it if you paid us. Thanks for thinking so much of us to go to all that trouble, etc etc." So the brownies were dumped into the bin by one happy, highly-principled parent who'd made his point. And I guess he cleaned his cooking utensils with a lot of care, feeling that it was well worth the effort. It seems families like "The Brady Bunch" are thriving well into the 21st century, although I wonder if even Mike Brady would bother to pull this one off.

My family thought this story was a real hoot. Just to imagine him stepping out with his poo-scooper to scrape off a little bit for his brownie recipe gets us giggling. But when I think it over, I guess he did have a valid point. Here's some things I've learned to my cost in the past.

A little of bit of envy or jealousy is enough to sour up a nice, celebratory occasion.
A little bit of disappointment or discouragement is enough to ruin an otherwise flawless day.
A tiny smidgin of gossip or criticism may taint an otherwise uplifting conversation.
A miniscule grain of fear or misgiving has the potential to swell like yeast if left to fester.

We may become used to these added ingredients and indulge freely. Perhaps there is a flickering impression, not even conscious, that goes something like this. "I'm not sure what the flavour is in these brownies, but I don't really think I like it."

We all agree that the tastiest cooking has the most high-quality, pure ingredients. We like to avoid factory-added, artificial gunk which shouldn't be there. Then let's get rid of all the bad-tasting ingredients that we tend to add to the recipes of our lives. Let's stir in plenty of pure faith, generosity, hope, gladness, peace and contentment and leave out all those extras which leave a bitter, unsavoury after-taste.


  1. I love that parable. I have used it with my kids a few times.
    It is easy to apply it to movies and music and whatnot. However it is harder to apply in the little ways. Like you said:
    A little of bit of envy or jealousy.
    A little bit of disappointment or discouragement.
    A tiny smidgin of gossip or criticism.
    A miniscule grain of fear or misgiving.

    A lesson to be reminded of nearly every day!

  2. Hi Jodi,
    Thanks. You know, I never realized it was a parable until a few other readers told me too. I honestly thought this original thinking dad had a brainwave. It's effective, anyway.

  3. I don't think he would have needed to go to the trouble of getting dog poo to put into it. Sometimes just the thought that there might be something so icky in them is enough of a deterrent. I remember reading an article that equated additives like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil with dog poo, and it was enough to make me look carefully at the ingredients before making a purchase. :oP

    In other words, a little bit of doubt or mistrust can be just as destructive!

    Peace and Laughter!

  4. Cristina, you're right, the mind can be a strong deterrent. I remember occasions when I've had the frights about things that have turned out to be completely harmless.
    High fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil, hey? I've spent years of reading over ingredients like that while checking products for peanuts, and I have to admit I never thought they sounded nice.

  5. I'd have never have thought of doggy doo in a million years. I was thinking more along the lines of Marihuana! But of course a decent dad wouldn't allow his kids to get "high". It'd kind of spoil the lesson. Had to laugh, Paula.

  6. Rita, I've heard of that being done too. Not all that long ago in the news, a household was fined for offering a couple of Mormon missionaries 'cannabis cookies' when they came knocking at the door. Pretty mean.


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