F Is For Food, T Is For Tuna

When I have nothing else to do, I think about food. I always think about food. Some would say that its my downfall but others who know me well would say its my savior. I love food, all types and even though I used to be scared to try new foods I am getting so much better except for icky textural issues.

I will not eat raw oysters and slurp them down my throat. The mere thought of doing that makes me want to gag so no, I stick tight to being inflexible. I would say “Not for a million dollars” but to me, a million dollars is a lot of money so I could be bribed, potentially. Sushi, raw, same reaction, it’s the slippery texture that I can’t seem to get by though I have tasted it in tiny bits a few times. Not my style, at all. Chicken teriyaki and rice please, I am not ashamed.

raw oysters @ Sway

raw oysters @ Sway (Photo credit: dionhinchcliffe)

I am proud to say I do eat mild fish now which was a big leap of faith for me, I never ate any fish except tuna fish that came out of a can (which to me was totally unrelated to real tuna.)  Yes, I did have a real disconnect but it worked for all the years I didn’t put it together. Tuna and tuna were very different, one was for a sandwich with mayo and the other one was disgusting. I know, I know. I’m a little slow.

I know I am fussy and crazy but I have tuna-approved places like the diner in the next town where I regularly order it. It’s perfect, not too mushy, not chunky at all, the right amount of mayo. It is a tuna-approved lunch place. If it looks, smells or resembles dark cat food it is not for me. That is why I have

7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat

7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat (Photo credit: Wolfgang Lonien)

friends and family to order things first and I will taste it and decide later if it is okay to order next time. (Except for Sarah my bff who will not share her food, not even a bite but that’s okay.)

Another place in town sells “Spa Tuna” with apples and raisins and just a hint of mayo that is wonderful as well. I will not eat tuna in an unknown diner or restaurant, I stick with safe foods like scrambled eggs or a ham and cheese sandwich or soup. An adventurer I am not.

Beverages, to me, have to fit the food. For example: a tuna sandwich goes well with either a Diet Coke or Coke or hot chocolate. Period. Never would I drink orange juice or water with it, it needs the sweet balance. Likewise, I have to force myself to drink plain water to keep hydrated, so my kidneys don’t flop and fail on me instantaneously. I add lemon or lime juice to the water to pretend it isn’t water at all. Epic fail.

Growing up we never drank water. It was Hawaiian Punch or Lemonade or Grape Juice or other sweet beverages. But, water? Never. Luckily, my daughter drinks a lot of water but not my son. He also doesn’t drink enough water either but he does drink organic fruit juice which is better than nothing.

When you have no control over anything in your life you either lose control or you need to have control over something. For me, it’s food. In the beginning I wanted to lose weight and I did, I also kept it off. After that, I got into a major dessert phase where I needed a good, yummy dessert every single night.

Phish Food

Phish Food (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))

I am trying to pull back from that now because I feel I am getting hooked ( HA HA I know I’m hooked) on sugar. So I am down-sizing my dessert (sigh) and will only have them intermittently. I will miss you jelly doughnuts, Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, and Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Cake. Not to mention you my darling Orange Hostess Cupcakes…I have a whole blog post just about you!

I’m not making promises on how much I can deny myself dessert. I will try having less. I made banana bread yesterday with raisins, funny how that does not appeal to me at all. I will try, that’s all I’m saying…

 

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Hostess Orange Cupcakes (Food Cop)

Rumor has it that Hostess orange cupcakes  are back in production. Shhh, you might not want to read this out loud. They’re baaaaack (if  you can find them.) I love these more than Twinkies. When I heard that Twinkies were back on the market I put a lot of effort to find them so I’m back on the job. The year of “The Gazpacho Diaries” seems tame now. Please think of me when you go shopping…I’ll pay you back.

We were visiting our two college kids when we stopped along the way to get gas and a snack. Out of the corner of my eye, winking at me madly, flirting those big, fake, black eyelashes at me, I  saw in the corner of my eye the orange globes with the famous white squiggle on top. They were positively grinning. YES!!!!!!!! Pure happiness for me.

"Omigod! This flavor won't exist for very...

“Omigod! This flavor won’t exist for very much longer…” Matthew tracked down Hostess Orange Cupcakes–research for an upcoming movie/date night. (Photo credit: BoopBoopBoopBoop)eyelashes up and down and grinning like the princess she is, I saw her. I gasped so loudly that people turned around to look at me. After that I squealed. Now, people had definite questions in their eyes and a WTF look.

Two bright orange globes in a package; I  bought (only) two packages and I was in heaven. The first cupcake I ate was exquisite. I am a dessert fan and not ashamed to say it. I do need dessert after dinner every single night (see my post on The Other Stomach.) I’ve trained myself to eat D (dessert) only after dinner and not after lunch.

The other orange cupcake packages has not been opened, I do have some control but I will open this tomorrow when my son comes home, I want to share the joy with him. My daughter and husband are choc-a-holics so these do not interest them. (Thank goodness)

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

I have not seen these delectable delicacies in our neighborhood or the neighborhood in town, I was starting to get worried. Today, I started working and called the three major supermarkets here and asked for the manager. I, very politely, asked if they would be ordering these?  These people were so kind. They told me that “when the Hostess people come in, they will put it on the order list.”  Thank you. No, Really.

But, in addition I will keep looking or reminding them if they forget, I have my son scouring for them upstate. Welcome Back, you orange cuties, I missed you so much.

Love,

from your devoted fan

PS please don’t forget the pink snowballs too.

 

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My OTHER Stomach

DID ANYONE SAY DESSERT ???

Peeps, work with me here, I am telling you a very big secret. Not many know about this but it is a very easy concept. Forget about anything, anyone else has told you, especially your doctors. They don’t teach THIS in medical school because they don’t even know about it. But, I do and I know it well. I have taught my family and they went on and taught their most trusted friends. Be careful with this most amazing gift. I am telling it to you because of my deep love for my readers.

Most people apparently feel that they have one stomach. Most medical people would agree but I beg to differ. Growing up with a Viennese father and a German/French mother we never had dessert. Dessert in our home was jello or social tea biscuits or those pressed, break your teeth hard raisin or prune bars that I haven’t seen since the sixties. My father would make up things called “concoctions”  for himself with bananas, ice milk (sherbert?) applesauce, sprinkles, canned fruit, yogurt and whatever else he could find. Example something like below but much higher:

"Dessert pour une personne"

“Dessert pour une personne” (Photo credit: Maxime FORT)

When I became a mother, things changed. I didn’t want my kids to have to go to other people’s houses and search/sneak through their closets and take delicious snacks ( like I did.) No, I wanted to be the provider of the snacks. In fact, my friend Debbie’s son, Michael,  called me “The Cookie Lady,” a name I wore with great pride.

In my house sweets were NOT banned but limits were set. Some of my children’s friends would come here with an organic apple and then gorge themselves full of Oreos or Chocolate Chip cookies. I didn’t judge AND there was always fruit on the table along with the cookies. I gave them choices…

In short, when you are full with a meal you can always have dessert. Always. There is a different pouch for that: The Dessert Stomach. It is there for a good reason, because in my family now, there is always room for dessert. Always.

No matter how full you are, no matter if you think you can’t eat another bite, just rest for a minute, look at the dessert menu and order. As soon as your dessert comes, your dessert stomach is happy to oblige. In our family we have 2 chocolate lovers and two

cupcakes

cupcakes (Photo credit: stu_spivack)

vanilla lovers, although I can go both ways.

We always we end up buying one dessert ( or two) and sharing them. Dessert (or D as we call it) is love to a higher power.

So next time you order dessert, don’t feel guilty, you are not over eating, you are just trying to fill a bit of your Dessert Stomach. Don’t say it timidly, say it with confidence and power. Most of all, say it convincingly. I bet they have never heard  of the “Other Stomach” Theory.

Feel free to tell them.

PS this is not meant for after lunch ( I got into trouble that way) it is only for after dinner. Trust me on this.

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A LOVE LETTER To Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Pound Cake

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterbor...

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterborough, UK. A typical sales area in a Starbucks coffeehouse. Showing the till, preparation areas and sales displays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Starbucks,

I love you. To pieces. Well, to pieces of iced lemon pound cake. On this I swear.

I read that Starbucks got rid of a few of its very popular items, but not for long; there were many customer complaints. One of the items they said good-bye to was one of my favorites, the iced lemon pound cake. Gone, Adios. Bye-bye. WHAT?

Yes, you heard me, it vanished from the clean see-through shelves of your local Starbucks’ establishment. Horrors. Excuse me?  MY FAVORITE ICED LEMON POUND CAKE FROM STARBUCKS WAS TAKEN OFF THE MARKET? DEAR GOD, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

I assumed that since my husband and I have been on a strict budget and we don’t have the money to buy anything special like Starbucks coffee everything was still the same. In the very infrequent times that I did treat myself to a latte it was probably in the afternoon when I just assumed they were out of stock of my all-time favorite, deliciously iced lemon pound cake.Yes, I am salivating.

The winter was so LONG and hard that I didn’t go out much, having Fibromyalgia it’s hard enough to get out of bed not to mention get dressed and go out, imbalanced in the snow and ice.  Sometimes “ignorance is bliss.” I didn’t miss my tangy and sweet pound cake because I didn’t know it was gone.

But, there are times when mistakes have been made and corrected without a fuss (not often, I know.) I have to give it to Starbucks, not many companies listen to their customers and right a wrong. YOU ROCK!! I am proud of your establishment and I am saving up money. I don’t know exactly when the lemon pound cake will be coming back but I will be on-line to buy it with a latte just to make me feel good and to give myself a treat. A company that actually LISTENS to their customers and wants their customers to be happy? THANK YOU.

Having not thought about the yummy sweet/tart lemon cake, you know what happens to me. I NEED It NOW. I may have to visit my local Starbucks immediately and ask when exactly it is coming back, date/time/place. I will be there, I promise. Thank you, Starbucks for everything that you do, I would work for you anytime especially if I got a discount on dessert.

My confession: I’m a slut for sour and sweet desserts. Oh fine, I’m a slut for desserts.

For those of you who bake ( and bake well) I’ve LEARNED OF a very good substitute from the delicious Ina Garten. It’s a little too advanced for me. She has a wonderful recipe for a lemon pound cake:

For those like me, who are not advanced bakers come join me. You will find me on-line at the nearest Starbucks, waiting, patiently and with LOVE.

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“The Taste” Eh. No, Ugh.

Chefs drinking beer around a ping-pong table, red Solo cups…Beer Pong, Really? Should I beerbottlestart my speech about showing beer pong and drinking on this show and how it might be offensive and disrespectful? Nah.  On the other hand, the show IS about food so let me just write about that. Well…wait a minute. There was absolutely nothing special about the food either..Highly disappointing episode. Also,why are they always swigging beer, does anyone know? Sponsor? Bourdain’s contract?

First I was going to write about the challenge in detail: make things to eat while drinking beer (shocker!) but it was so lackluster that to drag it out in detail would punish you, punishing me was quite enough. Marina won first place by not making anything too good. Shehu lost and went home, Lee who had a panic attack about chicken testicles was told by Bourdain to make a meatball just to get through to the second challenge. He also bribes him with tickets to the Knicks (or some team) if he can just make it through to the second round. Classy, right? A man with integrity.

Ludow has to meddle and say so all can hear “I think, what Tony gives you, it sucks.”  Shut up already, Ludow. Nigella is still walking around though she did give one good call that Marcus was spending all his time with Shehu and not with Sarah and she was absolutely right. Marcus did not listen.

For the second challenge, with guest judge Chef Jonathan Waxman the solo candidates were asked (zzzzzzzz) to USE beer in their cooking. What a sorry lot they were. If this had been the first episode I could have given them some slack. But by this time, it was humiliating, they played it safe, gave up and looked totally disinterested. The judges picked up on that, right away. Thank goodness. Sloppy Joes, Chili, Smelt fries, “like apple pie” and avocado fries? Sausages.To win? They sound like kids eating at camp.

Oh, but the judges fear Marina and they are in awe of her….except they didn’t hear her say “I am using one ball or two, I can do whatever I want, I don’t care what they say, I don’t have to listen to them.” Something to be afraid of, right? Maybe when it got back to them that “she likes to kill food and spank them too” they started listening.

OOOH, there was a twist to the game. They had 2 hours to prepare a meal that had to have beer as a component in it. Wow, 2 whole hours. But, guess what? After an hour, and an immature cursing frat boy rivalry “they had to make a complimentary dish” for the next hour. “Dude, stop trash talking in my kitchen, Chef Waxman says to Jeff and Lee while Louise whines “everybody is overlooking me.”Oh dear God will this never end?

When they are waiting in the chef “green room”  they talk about good stars and bad stars on aprons (yellow and red)  Marina’s eight pressure cookers and general chit-chat about who is worse than the other. BTW, The Judges let Sarah go from the challenge which I think was to her good fortune. I’m betting on her.

By the way Ludow seems to have lost his mind screaming maniacally “everybody stop, use the lemons, use the lemons, everybody stop.” My husband says that he thinks Ludow should be medicated and I concur. The show ends with the required speech of how disappointed the judges were and it was not up to their standards and they didn’t like any dish at all. Anthony Bourdain finishes by saying  “celebrate responsibly and next time make us believers again.”

Celebrate what?

PS (Did I really have to see the white out image of Ludow’s “hairy ass”?) Thanks, Bourdain, I could have lived without it.

The Taste, Teaser

The best taste

The best taste (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First blog: Nigella vs Jacquelyn

Second Blog: ( Below ) Aren’t You A Sweetie Pie?  Everything Sweet Except For Anthony Bourdain!!

Read it below:

https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/the-taste-aren…-a-sweetie-pie/

Can’t wait to watch and BLOG about my favorite topic and show “The Taste”

Tonight.

Wait for Blog number 3. In the meantime, I’m salivating.

What will the contestants cook tonight? I don’t care,

I’m addicted to food.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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“The Taste” 2 (Aren’t You A Sweetie Pie?)

English: Marcus Samuelsson doing a lecture at ...

English: Marcus Samuelsson doing a lecture at Google in NYC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I never do follow-up blogs on here, but somehow the show “The Taste” just begs to be written about, don’t you think? It’s a great food show but somehow it’s also like a comical farce. Do you believe the characters? Love them but surely they must also be picked for their entertainment value as well as their culinary skills. Right?

The judges, are the most entertaining: Ludow running around, literally running around yelling and screaming at everybody. How can that not be comical? Anthony Bourdain brooding, muttering “I hate dessert” like a five-year old. Nigella Lawson just standing there doing absolutely nothing, the “yellow” star of the day goes to Marcus Samuelsson. Not for the winning dish either but for his calmness and class and just the right amount of instruction. KUDOS, Chef Mark and Team.

I do agree with the other contestants that just because *(sorry, I don’t remember her name) dessert was unusual and unique she should not have won. I never heard anyone say they “loved it.” I heard nothing about the exquisite flavors or different textures, all I saw: scrambled eggs with sugar sauce. Come on guys, really? That was the BEST taste for you or just one that was different?

Anthony Bourdain’s utter dislike for desserts and sweets is legendary, why have that challenge when he is so biased? Would you have a tea drinker judge a coffee contest?  It doesn’t make sense. Why even put it on the show?  If you KNOW one of the judges will hate anything creamy, sugary or sweet why have that challenge at all? It’s a no brainer.

I think that this was a waste of an episode it really should not have been aired, and the special guest star chef, perky* Miss Sunshine? Wow!  Is she always like that? She must be eating a ton of sugar and I get that because I am a HUGE dessert person. I GET desserts, it’s genetically programmed from my German mother and Viennese Dad.

While I was sorry to see *Ms. Food Truck go home because I did think she had have a spark and a passion about cooking I think they kept the right person. Damn that zest and if we have learned anything from that show and for life it is this: Trust your gut instincts. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. You can use that every single day of your life, many times over. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Pretend I’m Oprah and listen.

* I apologize for not knowing their names, they were not, as of yet, on Google.

A Food Fantasy And Then Some…

Fritos Logo

Fritos Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I could, I would eat my way through my misery right now. I would start with bags of potato chips, the real kind and not those baked ones that hide anxiously in our cupboards, ashamed to see the light of day. Along side them would be sour cream and onion dip, one entire, big bowl, set right in front of my face and of course, I almost forgot, Fritos too. Fritos were a favorite childhood snack and I believe they would be so comforting to eat now. I’d have a chocolate shake to go with them.

It’s time to switch to pure sugar, trans fat, whatever fat, I really don’t care. My first stop is to get a jelly doughnut or two, and please don’t be skimpy on the jelly either, I just hate that. A lot of sugar on the top, yes ma’am and thank you so much, your smile is making me enjoy this trip even more. Thank you for not judging me. You are so welcome and here is your tip for your kindness. Little things mean a lot.

I hate alcohol so I wouldn’t even bother wasting my calories on that besides, nothing goes better with jelly doughnuts (and I’ve added double stuffed, fudge covered Oreos too) than a tall glass of ice-cold milk. My salivary glands are working overtime, if you must know just dreaming of these delicacies. No hating allowed, this is my fantasy so shut up, oh and by the way, I’ve just won $600 million dollars so whatever you have to say, say it to my accountant and lawyer who will be handling the money flow because we just don’t “do that” anymore.

Will I GIVE you money? You are certainly not shy, now are you? To those, who have stuck with me, been loyal friends, have treated me with kindness, you don’t have to worry. You know who you are. So, if I worked with you forty years ago and all of a sudden you remember that we were friends for one week, don’t bother.

The money is in the bank, my husband and I (I guess we’ll take the kids too) are traveling around the world, First Class, I might add. The Food is fabulous and plentiful. Our own chef is with us. My son, the carnivore has the biggest steak I’ve ever seen and my daughter the vegetarian has macaroni and cheese four different ways, one with imported bread crumbs on top. My husband and I dine on shrimp cocktail and I will have a platter of different little things or as we call it in my house “a smorgasboard” and my husband will also have a steak with french fries, extra crispy, please.

We will have our pastry desserts, chocolate for my daughter and husband and vanilla/fruit tarts for my son and myself.

Uh-Oh.

I miss my dog. Oh dear, even being this rich has problems? Darn. Nothing is perfect.Well, I guess I’ll crawl out of my bed, stop fantasizing and wake up from my self-induced dream. The dream is fading, the food fantasy is gone, I haven’t won the lottery. But, my husband is downstairs in his office, looking for a Computer Job, my college kids are home for their break to visit, I’m worried about my mom and my dog is lying across my feet and my troubles seem simple, well, most of them. I’m a home-body anyway. I’ll start my new book. I guess I can handle that, for now. I don’t have any choice.

Employment Application, 2013

So freaking delicious, from my favorite restau...

So freaking delicious, from my favorite restaurant Le Madeline 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Hiring Manager:

Wanted: Full or Part-time Job involving food, writing or any combination of the two. Traveling with car service a must: ( I have NO sense of direction and that is an understatement)  It is NO joke. It is NOT covered by the ADA but  why isn’t it?  Mode of transportation:  Airlines: Private jet or first class preferable, business class necessary, economy, okay..if I must. Stand by: Been there, done that.

Interests: Food, Special Interest: Dessert, Food TV shows, Favorite all time dessert: Sacher Torte: Original or Fake, German or Austrian or American from Kew Gardens, Queens at the Homestead Gourmet with raspberry jam.I had it every year growing up for my birthday and I miss it. RIP Teddy.

Special Skills: Having traveled (for free) in my childhood I am extremely knowledgeable to rate hotels in addition to their restaurants and room service if you would like me to do that. I do not shy away from extra assignments, in fact, I just offered a very, informative link to the hotel industry. Can someone call ‘The Hilton’s’, please?

Proof of Expertise: Reading my blog, references, and restaurant owners in the area. I wrote a review of “The Flying Pig” for the local newspaper, it is not my fault they closed the restaurant, we still miss it, I assure you. Receipts upon request.

Good Points: Very amicable, charming, an excellent communicator, doesn’t like alcohol. Does not consider sorbet a dessert, perhaps as a palette cleanser and no weird flavors like octopus or lizard. Prefers cakes over pies, ice cream in addition to the cake never in lieu of the cake. Fresh fruit on request, ha ha ha ha ha. For a special occasion our family went out to a fancy restaurant and our daughter, the vegetarian, ordered blueberries and strawberries for $12 or $15 dollars and we said “no.” She was beyond furious even after I offered to make her some at home. Cookies: any time, all the time, but if you don’t want to make them, that’s fine, go to a bakery instead, Just sayin’…

Bad Points: I confess, favorite comfort food is still Kraft American cheese slices on soft bread (not Wonder bread. Anymore.) with light spreadable “butter and a chocolate related drink, this could include hot chocolate, Yoo-Hoo or chocolate egg creams. Diet Pepsi/Coke/Root Beer acceptable too. There are certain food items and beverages that go together well. Something salty would go with this dish, chips, pretzels, nothing special.

Additional Experience: Watching TV shows with my husband on our couch while eating our dessert not to be confused with Pre-D which immediately follows our meal but is a predecessor of the real “D” (which as you may have figured out is: Dessert. Ice Cream, pastry from French bakeries, even an occasional cupcake will do if we have nothing else. (Okay, maybe a Twinkie) and Baklava, yum, (another post on Baklava is also a blog post.)

Market Reach and Development: I need to be the first person or close enough to TRY NEW PRODUCTS, that is a natural field for me, I spy them on the shelves, I immediately buy them. Case in point: “*Candy Cotton Grapes.” I did not stop until I found them, it took 3 stores but I HAD TO HAVE THEM. I excel at wanting, finding and buying new products, my mother said I’ve been like that since I was 5, haven’t stopped. (see the entry “Cotton Candy Grapes” on my blog.

Cooking Skills: I make a mean chicken soup, I can roast a chicken with lemon and love, my baking skills are superb but limited to Banana Bread with the following options (plain, chocolate chip or chocolate chip and raisin) The latter being my son’s absolute favorite and the one thing he actually brags about (and hoards) from his friends.  I can also bake Pumpkin bread with or without raisins (without for my daughter who doesn’t like the texture of raisins and many other things) Oh, I knew I would forget something an award-winning Pea Soup. (Okay not a real award but it deserves one.) I learned how to make Chopped Chicken Liver when I was ten by a neighbor…

Excellent Writing Skills: To summarize the meals, service, attention to detail and I interact beautifully with all levels of  employees. Note:  I believe that you need to be kind to everyone and yes, it’s hard but at least try. Karma is karma, I’m not perfect, neither are you.

Overall summary: Delightful person with excellent communication skills and a love of food (junky or refined), enthusiastic, funny, silly, and a charming dinner companion. This applicant plays no games, she can’t wear high heels because they hurt her feet, although she would try fancier flats if necessary, she is willing to adapt. She has dancing green eyes and brown curly hair and only wears lipstick which her mother has bugged her about for the last two months. She is thinking about being dragged to one of those fancy stores like Nordstrom (which I used to call Nordstrom’s before my daughter corrected me for the 19th time ( with the ever so charming and obvious eye roll to the sky) for a make-over. Plus, I need new clothing too.

This candidate, I can assure you, will never, ever be late. She will always, unless there is a natural disaster, be early because she had/has  European parents and there WAS no other option. She is honest, she can keep secrets and is always reliable.

Take a chance. At the very least, bring her in for an interview.

Pretty please with rainbow sprinkles on top?

Yours truly,

Me.

PS: If you call my friend Maureen she will tell you that at times I do eat pizza with either grape or strawberry jam on top. I do not deny this one bit. In fact, I am proud of it.

Yellow Magic Madness #32

Many types of baclava

Many types of baclava (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

80-ply dough baklava (which is usually 40-ply)...

80-ply dough baklava (which is usually 40-ply), speciality of Beypazarı district of Ankara,Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know when I get something in my mind (like food) I need to have it fairly quickly. I am in search of baklava, so by the end of this weekend, rest assured, I will have had some. Honey, yellow, sticky and sweet, thin layers of phylo dough. It’s not only my favorite color, yellow, but easily in one of my top five favorite desserts.

God Bless the fine people who made these desserts. I’m drooling.

Photos by Wikipedia