Apple pie is finicky, but brownies are always there for you.

By Josh Gondelman
November 09, 2020
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Illustration by Yeji Kim / Photo by Mindy Tucker
| Credit: Illustration by Yeji Kim / Photo by Mindy Tucker

The holidays will be different this year. Our series, "The One Dish," collects stories about what we're doing for Thanksgiving that will make us feel right at home.

I come from a big dessert family, so even if there are only seven or eight people at Thanksgiving dinner we usually have several pies plus a batch of brownies. I've come to appreciate a homemade fruit pie, but as a kid I would always split a slice with my uncle. He (allergic to wheat) would eat the apples, and I'd eat the crust. I've always loved brownies, though, which have been present at all family gatherings as far back as I can remember.

The Gondelman family recipe yields compact, fudgy squares that pair perfectly with ice cream but don't require it. This year, with Thanksgiving plans thrown into turmoil, I've already started worrying what the dessert situation will be wherever I end up. The problem with relying on an unfamiliar apple pie is that it's so variable in quality and style, and I'm not good at making it myself. But over the years I have mastered the family brownie recipe, so no matter where I go for the holiday, I can at least bring a little bit of home with me. I realize now that this makes me sound unspeakably controlling, but I was just raised not to leave dessert up to chance.

Josh Gondelman is a comedian, the host of the podcast Make My Day, a writer and producer on Showtime's Desus & Mero, and the author of Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results.