Living With Sweet Denial

I refuse to believe that in the next few days snow is in the forecast. Yes, I am in the ultimate denial stage. I’ve heard from multiple sources that the temperature is going to drop quickly and that the predicted heavy rain will fall and turn into snow. Yes, SNOW.

I am not going to believe it nor will I think about it.  Instead I am going to live in my world of fantasy for a few minutes, at least, and dream or reminisce about something nice that happened in my past. Let’s see how long I last with this new coping technique…

I once went on a trip to visit my grandparents with my dad in Vienna, Austria. ( Remember we always had free airline tickets.) Do I remember the time I spent with my grandparents? Honestly, no.I remember that my Opa was grumpy but he did love me best and Oma made incredible, moist schnitzel, the best I’ve had in my entire life. Naturally, I remembered food. I also remembered the desserts that my dad and I shared. Both of us had the worst sweet addiction in the world.

I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night but I do remember desserts I have had when I was a teenager. On that trip to Vienna we had a red currant pie that when you took a bite the currants would explode in your mouth. I’ve looked, searching for something similar now for forty years. The other dessert we called “The Swan” filled with vanilla cream, a delicate white meringue, shaped into a swan, covered in aluminum to take home.

Roasted pear creme brulee tart.

Many years later we would look at each other and just say..”remember the swan?” My father is long deceased but when I think of these moments that we shared together they make me feel close to him.  I have not disappointed him in my pursuit of sweets. In fact, I have carried that trait on to my now grown-up children.

My daughter is a chocolate fan, definitely inherited from her dad’s side of the family. It’s chocolate, dark chocolate and nothing else. It could be ice cream or cake but it has to be chocolate, once in a while they will have coffee mixed in but that’s all.

Ah, but my son comes from my side of the family with the love of fruit, custard tarts, crème brûlée and all things vanilla. Sure, we won’t turn down a brownie but our main focus is definitely NOT on chocolate, just the opposite. We like pear tarts and apple crumbles, strawberry fruit tarts with vanilla custard, blueberry pies and for me, anything with coconut or lemon.

Dessert makes a sad day or a bad day happier. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to be a large serving but in our family it does indeed have to exist. My husband and I, since the kids are in college, have a new ritual in the evening: after dinner and cleaning up, working/writing for a while around 8:30 we start to watch television on our bed. Our dog, Lexi is always at our feet. A half hour goes by and instinctively we look at each other and smile.

We know by our stomachs, not a clock, that it is time for dessert. My husband goes down to the kitchen and prepares two small bowls of ice cream, frozen yogurt or a combination, maybe a cookie with it and a few M & M’s. I think we both get the same amount of pleasure from it, I am thrilled with the anticipation and he is thrilled that he is doing something so incredibly kind and I appreciate it. (Not to mention the fact that we are about to have “D” the nickname for dessert in our house.)

We continue watching our show, we eat our desserts slowly (well, I do) and that makes the world a little brighter. Compared to some people it’s not a big deal but for us it’s not only  enough, it’s heavenly sweet.

In memory of my dad.

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Carrot Cake Was NOT Just An 80’s Thing, Was It?

Carrot Cake

Image by Pen Waggener via Flickr

Hubby and I went out to dinner last week and as we looked over the dessert menu (after all, isn’t that the reason I go out to dinner?) I realized that certain important items were missing from the menu. There was no carrot cake, cheesecake. vanilla cake. Or any cake except a dense, all dark-chocolate cake. No pies. Just passion fruit crème brûlée,  a brownie with vanilla ice cream, a root beer float (really? that is a beverage to me) and fresh fruit in season, (LOL) and Nutella in pastry shells. I have a big jar of Nutella at home in the closet and with a teaspoon (or 5 teaspoons) to eat right out of the jar it costs a lot less than the eight dollars THEY were charging. I had just baked brownies for my kids and husband so that was out of the question, vanilla ice cream was safely nestled in the freezer. I had been dreaming of carrot cake, cheese cake, vanilla layer cake, coconut cake but there was nothing.

Carrot cake, to me, is perfection. It is a blend of sweet, salty, crunch and creamy. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting but hey, its frosting and it is vanilla-ish so that works for me. My husband in his loud, convincing voice said: “carrot cake was just an 80’s s thing.”  Excuse me? I don’t think so but he kept telling me that we don’t see it on dessert menus very often and I just assume that we’ve been going to the wrong restaurants.

Was carrot cake a cult thing? Like a flash in the (cake) pan? Do I need to find my leg warmers and leotards and watch “Flashdance” on the, (gulp) oldies station? Look at denim, that’s been around a long time and I doubt that’s going anywhere. I don’t want to think that carrot cake is not available anymore and please don’t suggest I make it because I don’t have the patience or the talent for all the chopping, mixing and whatever 52 steps it takes to create it.  Also, it’s no use saying “don’t order dessert” because that is totally irrational.

If I can’t find it in a restaurant I really don’t want to buy a whole cake. I don’t want a whole cake of any flavor in my house, from a bakery or Costco or the frozen section of my local supermarket. If there is (non-chocolate) cake, I will eat it.   Please, don’t let me buy an entire carrot cake or cheesecake because I am the only one in the family that will eat it and I have given up on portion control or rather portion control has given up on me.  I will have to scour every bakery and grocery store to find a place that serves these delicacies by the slice. I’m just not sure if I can be trusted to only buying one.