Perfect brownies, the Pentagon way

The Pentagon has released a 26-page official brownie recipe, which I recently discovered via Reason.com. (My verification of this document extends only to googling the doc number and seeing that no one has publicly debunked it. Plus, it totally looks real. So.)

The most interesting part of this document to me isn’t that it exists — although that in itself is a hell of a thing — but that at the end of the day, the United States federal government’s brownie and cookie standards are really not so different from my own. They’re just a whole lot more specific. For instance:

3.4 Finished product requirements (brownies and oatmeal cookies). The finished product shall comply with the following requirements, as applicable:

a. There shall be no foreign material such as, but not limited to, dirt, insect parts, hair, wood, glass, or metal.

b. There shall be no foreign odor or flavor such as, but not limited to, burnt, scorched, stale, sour, rancid, musty, or moldy.

c. There shall be no color foreign to the product.

d. Chocolate coating shall completely cover the product.

e. Product shall not be broken or crushed.

f. The dimensions of the coated brownie shall not exceed 3-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches by 5/8 inch.

g. The weight of the coated brownie shall be not less than 46 grams.

h. The texture of the brownie shall be firm but not hard.

i.  The rectangular shaped coated oatmeal cookie shall not exceed 3-1/2 by 2-1/2 inches and shall not exceed 7/16 inch thickness.

j.  The interior of the coated oatmeal cookie shall be crisp and have the characteristic flavor of oatmeal.

k.  The weight of the coated oatmeal cookie shall be not less than 43 grams.

l.  The chocolate coating shall be free from cracks, chips or rough spots.

Here I’d have just said, “Hey, sure, I like brownies.” But look at everything I would’ve left out!

While I disagree summarily on article f (by all means, exceed away), I think I need to start putting a finer point on my preference for treats complying with the rest of these rules. If there’s one thing I can stand to learn, it’s that you can’t assume everyone automatically knows what you want. You’ll get musty, moldy brownies with bug legs and glass chunks. Point taken, Government. Point taken.

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.