Memories of a dear friend


We didn’t start out in the same course in college. She began as a BS Math student, I was in BS ME. But somewhere along the way, she shifted to the course I was taking and we became friends. With her probinsiyana roots, it wasn’t difficult for us to get along, or basically, I guess it was her true nature of being so nice that let her get along with anyone, we became friends.

I cannot recall having given her anything beyond friendship, perhaps because she gave so much more: my driver’s license (her dad was mayor of a town in the north), my Rustan’s discount card (she worked there for a spell), brownies (the best I had ever tasted by then), a BP monitor and a diabetic thingy (for measuring blood sugar) – the last two when by then she had transferred and built her family in Canada.

After college we exchanged letters, we hardly had a chance to see much of each other – I was in Negros, she stayed in Manila, but somehow we never lost touch. She’d send pictures of her family in Canada, later with her donning a scarf when cancer beset her.

I guess one thing we did share in common too was her being asthmatic; she confided that sometimes, she’d be brought to hospital and be confined for it.

So why did I write this post on her suddenly?

See, yesterday, I made brownies. After tasting hers and being too shy to ask, I looked for a recipe and think I found one that approximated hers, in an old cookbook with yellowed pages which my mother owned. She had had it bound to keep it usable; I’m not sure now where it is. But no problem, I memorized the recipe. Here it is:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

2 squares of cooking chocolate

1/2 cup nuts

a pinch of salt

I’m not too fond of dark chocolate so in lieu of the squares, I substitute. While the equivalent of a square is 3 tbsp cocoa and 1 tbsp butter, I instead use 1/3 cup cocoa and just estimate the butter (I don’t like measuring butter in cups or tbsps because it never turns out exact anyway as there’s always a tinge left in the cup or tbsp). I also do not put salt. Don’t credit me for being health-conscious by omitting salt because it’s not for a noble reason I do. I just don’t.

My decision to make brownies was son’s eating squares of them husband had received from a student on teacher’s day. I had had one of it but found it too bitter. I thought it was about time I made son some of my own.

Another reason: I wanted to consume the Trader Joe’s trail mix I had gotten either from Food Bin or wherever. It had been languishing in the bin because not one of us was too enamoured, and to think it had a healthy dose of cranberries and cherries aside from nuts like pistachio (yes, pistachio), almonds and hazel nut. IT looked so dull and unappealing, so unlike a pack of Dole trail mix I had gotten previously.

I picked the nuts from the pack and I guess, some choco chips in the pack managed to escape my hands and eyes. I was careful to leave out the dried berries.

When the brownies were done, I got one. It was okay but had a taste that I couldn’t quite figure out. When son arrived and got one, then another, I was relieved. I asked how he found it. It was good, he said, but different. He asked why it was different and I confessed about having used the trail mix nuts. He said it tasted like it had raisins; I told him the mix didn’t have any. But, he thought, perhaps some of the taste of the cherries et al. had been absorbed by the nuts, ergo the “different” taste.

This morning, he ate two slices again.

I was relieved again and got a slice for myself.

Brownies and Christine. The twain shall always meet in my memory.

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