The Joy of Licking the Bowl

Empty bowl and broken spoon

Have you ever made a dessert – brownie, cake, cookie – simply so you could lick the bowl? Every once in a while I get a craving for batter. Not the end product (although that certainly doesn’t get thrown away), but literally the brownie batter or the cookie dough.

It’s become pretty common to find a roll of cookie dough in a woman’s refrigerator or freezer. She doesn’t keep it there in case company suddenly comes by and she needs to make a quick treat, but rather for the simple pleasure of eating that cookie dough raw.

A little more unusual is what I did the other night: make brownies simply so I could lick the bowl. It took practically no time as I used a store-bought brownie mix that has been sitting in my pantry for well over a year (it was purchased on clearance after Christmas 2007 so one can only imagine the freshness…). Obviously, I don’t often use mixes or else it wouldn’t have lasted so long.

Brownies Day 1

Anyways, the mix was whipped together in about 1 1/2 minutes (I was mixing so vigorously that my plastic spoon broke during the process – no big loss, one less thing to wash), then less-then-generously poured into a large baking dish. This was intentional: the thinner the layer, the quicker they would be cooked and the sooner I could eat them! Remember, the batter only gets you so far, in the end the brownies are still appreciated.

By the time the dish was placed in the oven my self-control had disappeared: I grabbed the bowl, the broken mixing spoon and made a mad-dash to the couch. I didn’t even get a photo of the bowl before being wiped clean! The only thing missing from this spectacle were the beaters, because there’s no better joy than licking the beater – all kids know the beater trumps everything else.

The point: there’s something inherently comforting about licking the bowl and eating raw batter. I think this is because baking brownies, cakes or cookies is usually the first experience we have helping in the kitchen. One of my favorite pictures from my childhood is of me standing on a stool in the kitchen, wearing an apron that entirely covered my three-year-old frame, with beater in my hand and batter on my face. After a tough day, it can be comforting to return to that childish pleasure (I’m trying to find that photo, but as my mom said, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack).

Brownies Day 3

And when the batter is gone, I can return to the everyday pleasure of eating the resultng brownies. Note that I didn’t share them with anyone – I worked my way through almost the entire pan before becoming so disgusted with myself that I threw the last bit in the garbage.

Brownies in the trash

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  • emster posted: 01 Feb at 10:30 pm

    Your last paragraph reminds me of the “Sex and the City” episode where Miranda ate an entire cake (also made from a mix). I can’t remember for sure, but she might have even thrown out the lsat bit and then retrieved it from the trash. Hey, we’ve all been there–no disgust necessary. If it tastes good, eat it! Besides, you made it, so you should get to reap the benefits.

  • [...] my post last week about the joy of licking the bowl and how I described a photo of my doing just that as a child? Well, I can’t seem to find that [...]


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