By Jennifer Williams, Contributor, US Daily Review.
Just desserts – the phrase has a double meaning. It is either what is due a person for committing some reprehensible act (see also “what comes around goes around”) or simply what you want to eat at the end of the meal. When a convicted criminal goes to jail, we say he or she got his “just desserts”. No matter what meaning you take, it is personal and significant. We may share everything we have on the table, but when it comes to dessert, we often guard it jealously from any interlopers with a fork. Even our most cherished relationships can become strained when dessert is ordered. “I’ll have a taste of yours” one will announce while the other thinks “over my dead body”.
What is it about dessert? We will forgo it for the sake of our health and rationalize the decision based on caloric intake, sugar content and that general feeling of fullness. But why? Stop to consider dessert in the grand scheme of things. When we stress out, our bodies kick into overdrive and some of us go craving sweets. So we bake a pan of brownies and don’t even wait until they are cool to dive in. We chatter to ourselves about the stress of the moment, muttering how we need to resolve it while stabbing into the still warm chocolate baked goods sitting on the counter. Desserts become a way to cope with the bad. We forget why we need dessert. Yes, I did say NEED…desserts are the proverbial icing on the cake after a good meal. It’s not just for special occasions like pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
Stop for a moment and consider how much more you could enjoy your dessert with a friend… if you take the time to do it right. Cool the brownies slightly, make a lovely frosting, add some confections on top. Then slice into the decorated goodness and pull out a small slice of gooey chocolate heaven. Make some coffee, call a few friends, and pull up a chair to properly commiserate over life’s problems while savoring dessert in the middle of the day. It’s not just for after dinner anymore. And since there will be enough for everyone, you won’t need to be vigilant for fork intrusions into your personal dessert space.
Jennifer Williams is adjunct faculty in American History at Ashland (OH) University and the American Public University System. She is also the teaching chef for the New Day Family Resource Center in Sandusky, Ohio. Her interests are photography and curling. She lives with her family in Norwalk, Ohio.