How do I love thee, Gibson’s brownies? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of the fattest, cakiest, chewiest, tallest brownie I have ever seen. I love thee to the level of every stressful work day’s most urgent need, when I find that another can of Diet Coke is just not going to cut it and I have to go for extra motivation.
I love thee freely, or at least I purchase you freely, for one easy dollar bill.
I love thee purely, as purely as any woman ever loved any chocolately baked thing.
I love thee with passion, and I consider those oh-so-super-secret chocolate chips that you sometimes hide in your rich insides to be the compelling question that follows me day to day: chocolate chips? Or no chocolate chips? Yes, that is the question.
I love thee with the love I seemed to lose for blueberry muffins when you entered my life; I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if it is actually possible, I shall but love thee better after death by chocolate claims me,
O Gibson’s brownie.
It wasn’t clear to me until this week that I had a real problem.
Things just snuck up on me, I guess. I don’t even remember the first time I tried them. I was probably just bellying up to the cafe bar, trying to pass a little time but not really interested in buying lunch. I was probably on the hunt for a muffin or something. I used to think blueberry muffins were where it was at.
Probably I just compared prices and let my natural born cheapness make the decision—oh! An even dollar? Just one dollar for a brownie? That looks like a big brownie. Okay; I’ll have that.
And I probably walked it back to my office rather nonchalantly, never guessing what I was about to experience, never seeing the thing for what it was.
They say one try is all it takes.
These brownies are, as observed in the manic poem above, somehow both cakey and gooey. They are deeply chocolatey and they are fat—the thickest brownies you’ve ever seen. Probably, if my high school geometry serves me right, about 18 square inches. I have asked Ginger before (I think the proprietress, Ginger, makes them) how she makes them so very tall, and she said something really complex like “I use a small pan and plenty of batter.”
Really? Really, Ginger? Don’t try to trick me on this one, Ginger, surely the simple math of putting lots of batter (which may or may not be out of a box; I can’t say with authority) into a regular sized pan, is not all it takes to make the mother of all skyscraper brownies. I can’t imagine that to be true; if I thought it was true I would just make my own.
But it must be more than that.
These brownies, as also noted in the above sonnet, sometimes have chocolate chips in them. These are by far the best brownie days, although clearly, like a gambler, I have no problem playing the game to see what I’m going to get.
Since that first taste, my relationship with the brownie simply took its own course. I started going once a week—but only on print day. I started going twice a week. I cycled in and out of ‘healthy weeks’ and ‘non-healthy weeks’, eating like an angel for a long time and then breaking down and walking across Times Ave three times in three days to get that goodness in me.
Well, when you are the lady who goes to Gibson’s all the time to buy brownies, you become known as the lady who goes to Gibson’s all the time to buy brownies. Soon people started buying them for me. My husband surprised me at work with one (and finally got to taste them himself). Gibson’s sent one over on my birthday. I crabbed to their cook, Joe, while he was telling blonde jokes to Leigh at the front desk, “what, no brownie for me?” He stalked across the street and plopped one on my desk.
This was the day I realized I had a problem.
I’m sure that Elizabeth Barrett Browning would not have been inspired by culinary delight to write her immortal poem. She was writing about the depth of real human love, or something like that. But then, Browning never met the three-inch brownies at Gibson’s Café.