A common adage for people who spend time both reading and writing for the internet is “never read the comments.” If you do skip out on the comments, however, you might be missing some of the best gems. Some of those gems are so good, they require independent investigative reporting — like this latest deep dive from The Cut.
It examines the now internet-famous comment from a relatively innocuous New York Times article on Katherine Hepburn’s brownie recipe.
“This has been my go-to brownie recipe for 30 years," a commenter wrote. "In the ’80s, an acquaintance in Germany to whom I brought some of the brownies, and who considered herself a great cook, asked for the recipe but was never able to get it to work. She kept asking me what she was doing wrong and I was never able to solve her problem. Eventually, she moved to the U.S. and stole my husband!”
The comment has gone viral on Twitter more than once, and The Cut reports it was already one of the Times moderating team’s favourite comments that they’ve come across. But they still wanted to know more, so they were able to reach out to Sydne Newberry, the woman behind it all.
According to her, it all started when she shared the recipe for Hepburn’s brownies with a woman she and her then-husband had met in Germany while he was in the Air Force. When the woman couldn’t get it right (she was “very proud of her cooking and was a real food snob”), she essentially accused Newberry of leaving something out of the recipe to keep her from replicating them in all its glory.
A few years later, the woman visited the couple back in the States. A neighbour asked, a few weeks into the visit, if Newberry was “bothered” that the woman and her husband were “fooling around.” She didn’t believe them until she caught them in the act, at which point the woman “hightailed it back to Germany.” The marriage didn’t last much longer, either.
The story did find a happy ending, however. Newberry eventually met and married her current husband, which she told the website is the “love of her life.” While she initially didn’t cook Katherine Hepburn’s brownies for him, it wasn’t because she was worried about a curse on them. They both believed he was allergic to eggs, but when the realised he wasn’t, he now eats and enjoys them, their marriage still intact.
While we’d like to think that food alone isn’t enough to break up a marriage, if you’re brave enough to try them yourself this infamous recipe is still available on The New York Time’s website. At the very least, you can enjoy a piece of internet comment history in the most delicious way possible.