Long, long ago when Carl was treading the boards as a professional actor and we were living in abject poverty, Carl gained a role in a Community Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. And being ignorant I had no idea what ‘Community Theatre’ was but when we had no money for food I quickly realised that ‘Community Theatre’ means you do a whole lot of work for nothing. The enticement being that if the show turns a profit, the profits will be equally distributed amongst the cast.
I was on a mission for this show to turn a profit. Bums on seats were needed so I went through my address book and phoned all my family and friends and instead of asking them if they’d like to come to the show I just straight up asked, ‘How many tickets would you like and how many performances will be you be attending?’
I did weave some magic as a few did respond favourably and I even bought some tickets myself. But alas, the others in the cast didn’t have a partner sitting at home playing the role of promoter and so the three-week season failed to make a profit which is exactly what most of the cast had been expecting. Apparently I was a fool for thinking optimistically.
After the final performance there was the wrap party. Carl begged me to come and said how much everyone in the cast was dying to meet me.
‘But Archie’s only three months old’, I reminded Carl, ‘I can’t leave him home alone’.
‘Well just bring him’. Yes, it’s as easy as that.
‘To a party?’
‘It’s just casual and only the cast will be there and I’ve told them all about Archie and I’m sure they’d love to meet him. We’re all heading there straight after the show and you could meet us there.’
‘We’ll just stay for a couple of hours’.
‘Do I need to bring anything?’
‘No, they said they’ll take care of it. It’s all organised apparently’.
It was, as I suspected, a very bad idea. Late at night my new baby and I trekked out to Chippendale which was about an hour away from home. The party was held in the run-down rented premises of one of the starving actors. When they told Carl they had taken care of the catering they were lying. There was nothing. Not even a morsel. Okay, now I’m telling lies. There was something. The starving actor had cut up some tomatoes and they were on a plate centred on the dining room table that was actually a card table. And that was it.
The tiny terrace house was filled with cigarette smoke and I was holding Archie and wondering what to do with him. It was too cold to be outside and too smoky inside. Most of the actors did move outside so I sat on a couch all by myself and breastfed him while contemplating my exit strategy.
While on the couch one of the very friendly actors came up and offered me a brownie. I was so surprised as I hadn’t seen these on the card table, only the quartered tomatoes. She said someone had brought them and they were sharing them around and wanted to include me. ‘How lovely’, I thought.
I took one of the brownies and it was the worst brownie I had ever tasted. It was dry and crumbly with no real chocolate flavour with a really course texture. So dry I could barely swallow it. But there was nothing else so I ate a few more of them while the very chatty girl sat beside me. And then my lips started to go numb and I started to feel really tired and became a bit dizzy and the girl left me all alone on the couch then Carl walked in and I told him I wasn’t feeling well and how the brownies were the worst I’d ever tried and that I was really thirsty and could we just go home. And Carl said, ‘Those aren’t brownies’.
‘She called them brownies’.
‘She was joking. They’re hash cookies’.
‘They’re full of marijuana. You shouldn’t be eating those, you’re breastfeeding’.
‘Oh. Good point. Well where have you been. I’ve been sitting in here for an hour and a half hating this party and wanting to leave and you just disappeared and left me sitting here.’
We left soon after. I never saw any of those actors ever again.
Here’s a brownie – a real brownie that’s more in line with what I would have liked all those years ago.
Raspberry and White Chocolate Brownies
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Frozen raspberries and good quality chocolate aren’t cheap but these brownies are so much cheaper than the ones you buy in cafes and delis and when making your own you know exactly what goes in them.
- 200g dark cooking chocolate
- 150g butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 tspns vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup SR flour
- 100g white chocolate bits
- 150g frozen raspberries
Pre-heat oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced (375F).
Grease and line a 19cm square cake pan.
Melt butter and dark chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Stir in the sugar and vanilla, then the eggs, sifted flours, white chocolate and raspberries.
Spread the mixture into prepared pan; bake in a moderate oven for about 35 minutes or until just firm. Cool in pan.
Turn out; cut into squares.
This recipe is from The Australian Women’s Weekly.