“We always sacrifice dessert, you know?”
This is what Rob said to me as we walked to our last dinner-for-two of a weekend getaway, to celebrate our 3-years of marriage. And he was right (bite my tongue!), either we think about skipping dessert altogether or “sharing” it, but inevitably, yes, dessert always gets compromised somehow.
This, I feel, is unfair to the taste buds, and in general to the whole dining experience.
Dessert is always the best part and therefore should be enjoyed at the START of a meal, where it can be appreciated and revered for all its glory and goodness on an empty stomach, the way it was intended. I hear the French sometimes do this – nosh on dessert first – which doesn’t surprise me because that’s just how the folks to the East of us do things – always with sweetness in mind.
So, day two of our weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake (we stayed at the Prince of Whales) and we hadn’t skipped dessert once. But we came close a couple of times.
By the time the dessert menu rolls around, we’re both usually a bloated mess (after the appetizers, main courses and three helpings of crusty bread) and can’t possibly think of digging into yet another course, even if it’s a delicious creme brulee, which is always the favorite for me.
So why not, suggested Rob, reverse the order and start with dessert first?
We decided, that, for our final dinner that weekend we were going to over turn all “dinner etiquette” and lead the night’s meal with the best part instead. It wasn’t enough that we were “just celebrating our anniversary”, we had to create a game around it, just to mark the occasion (make of that what you will). The challenge: Order dessert first, with a straight face.
I had never done it before, which made it even more interesting, especially when Rob turned to me and said, “One for the next List?” It was game on.
But…….by the time we sat down to eat at our restaurant for the night, Tiara, we had ordered wine, chatted about stuff and nibbled on fresh bread for nearly 30 minutes before we ordered our food (yes, service was a bit slow, but it was lovely service nonetheless). In the process of stuffing our faces, we accidentally abandoned our “dessert first” plans by ordering salty, savory appetizers instead.
But then our server suggested that we take our desserts TO GO (see? great service) and so she loaded us up with a take away box filled with brownies and creme brulee (the very desserts we served at our wedding. nice touch.)
Back at our suite, we sawed through every last bit of sugar we brought back with us. What a mess. A sweet, sweet mess. Save for a few left over scoops of creme brulee I set aside, we all but ate the take away box.
The next morning, within minutes of waking up, I searched for my glasses, my blackberry (yes, it’s a habit) and my robe and headed straight to the next room to check on my marinating morsels of custard.
HOLY COW: It had caramelized, giving the custard an even softer, tastier texture. I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did.
After 12 incredible years with Rob – not perfect years by any means, but no less amazing – it felt nice to put what we really wanted ahead of anything sensible for a change, even if it was something as simple as a little left over dessert.
And, yes, I think this can be applied to other things in our lives, not just wedding anniversaries and creamy desserts. When it comes to loving your life, finding joy or going after the things that you want, it’s OK to throw a little caution to the wind sometimes – even if it’s just reading your dinner menu back to front for change – and indulge in the good stuff, first.
(make of that what you will.)