Today I got it into my head that I was going to make a video post. The impetus for this impulse was the Cub Scout cookout last weekend. The parents were supposed to have the boys cook something as a potluck contribution, but there wasn't a lot of actual cooking happening.
I've also been reading food books: Rowan Jacobsen's American Terroir, Michael Pollan's Cooked, and Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal. It's easy to be preachy about food (I have to admit: Funfetti Cake Dip gets me up on my high horse in a hurry), but preachy is not my intent. The thing is, cooking doesn't have to be slow and complicated. It is entirely possible to crank out something significantly better than a mix without causing yourself stress and extra work.
In my video I was going to see if I could get a pan of brownies in the oven within five minutes. It actually took me six minutes and two seconds, but still: six minutes to get from-scratch brownies in the oven. Six minutes, start to finish (including preparing the pan) for a recipe I hadn't made in months. Joe said, "You could have done it four minutes if you hadn't been talking so much."
I still swear by this recipe (it's at the end of the post, after the book review), except that these days I add a bit more chocolate in the form of semisweet chips, and dial back the sugar slightly in consequence. It turns out that making an interesting cooking video is more complicated than making brownies from scratch, so I will spare you all the shots of the back of my head. But spread the word: there is no reason for brownie mix to exist. You can make them yourself, a million times better and every bit as fast.