In preparation for my son’s transition to Northwestern University, he’s joined a few Facebook groups for incoming Northwestern freshman. One Bay Area group organized a picnic in Dolores Park and George, wanting to make a good impression, asked me to make something special and representative of his growing food knowledge and expanding food palate. He came up with bacon brownies. I thought we should throw in some chocolate-covered caramels and finish the batch with freshly ground sea salt. I mean, if we are going for different, we might as well really test his new classmates on their adaptability and food-comfort level.
With a double batch of brownies securely wrapped and ready for the trip, he headed out yesterday in anticipation of making some new friends before his move next month. Eight other young adults showed up, mostly with sweets, and awkwardly greeted each other until the comfort of knowing that everyone was in the same boat set in.
Half of the plate of brownies remained when the picnic wrapped up and as he gathered his things and made his way through the park and back to BART, he was stopped by someone inquiring about his brownies. “Hey man, are those edibles?” “No, sorry.” George smirked as he continued his course through the park, laughing at the thought of his mother’s brownies being mistaken for the pot-laced snack. Once on 18th Street, he decided to stop and make a call in front of Bi-Rite. While the plate of brownies rested on a ledge outside, a man passing by in a business suit slowed down and took a good long stare at them. George noticed his lingering look and asked him if he wanted one. “My mom made these for a picnic and there’s plenty left over. They’ve got bacon and caramel and sea salt in them.” The man happily took one, said they were delicious and to thank me, and went on his way. Once George got to the BART entrance, he really didn’t feel like carrying the plate of brownies all the way to North Beach. As he passed a homeless man standing outside, he asked him if he would like them. “What’s in them?” he asked before deciding if he wanted them or not. After a few seconds of contemplation, he accepted them. And with that George passed them on and experienced an only-in-San Francisco afternoon.