Dessert — It really does fill in all the cracks

Dessert — It really does fill in all the cracks

I was walking around at a street fair last summer and stopped to look at the fat cupcakes displayed in glass shelves at a tiny booth. I pointed to a chocolate one and told the baker I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into its goodness.

“Dessert fills in all the cracks,” she said with a smile. And I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head. It’s still rolling around in there today.

Desserts are the gift at the end of a long day — a hot, moist brownie when you simply deserve one or, better yet, something we can eat without any emotion attached at all. As bodies walking around that need energy to live, sticking a fork into a piece of chocolate cake or slice of pie should be a sacred act performed without guilt.

Desserts followed most sit-down dinners at my childhood table. Whether it was frozen strawberries with sliced bananas served in what I called the white bubble bowl or homemade applesauce with the meal, there was always something sweet to take the edge off the chicken and mashed potatoes sitting in our bellies. Mom’s Yorktowne-patterned Pfaltzgraff plates marched merrily around the table to hold the incredible creations she made. I slurped up the frozen strawberries with pleasure that she had grown in her very own garden.

I unfortunately grew up in a society that placed worth on certain body types by spreading the words “thin is in” all around, and I would feel guilty after downing warm cookies cooling on newspapers spread out on the counter top. My belly would ache as I beat myself up over that one extra cookie. It took a long time to rid myself of that impending feeling of doom and let myself enjoy food as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Denying oneself pleasure is the same as putting yourself in a prison of your own making. A large salad has no more worth than a slice of cherry cheesecake.

Easter Sunday is this weekend, and I cannot think of it without thinking of desserts. I say thank you Jesus for all the beautiful ingredients you created so we could collectively make them into desserts to enjoy. Thanks for all the other stuff too.

I envision sparkling vintage bowls filled with jiggly Jell-O concoctions, preferably of the 7-Up Salad kind. If you haven’t heard of it, look at any 3B Garden Club cookbook from the last 60 years. Jell-O salads are food for the gods without question.

There will be tortes with delicious cream cheese and nut layers, maybe chocolate or lemon to top it off. Softly whipped real cream will nestle softly for the finish. I know there’ll be bars galore filled with chocolate chips and rice krispies too, and there’s been talk on the text thread of the most important dessert of all — Jell-O eggs. If you know, you know.

It looks like our Easter menu will be a bit different this year. We wanted something we love but also something we don’t have to work hard in the kitchen for. My sisters and I decided on a menu we love most — haystacks. I’ve been given the most precious task of making the guacamole, which really means George is going to make it. They know he makes the best guacamole in the world, which means I’m free to make my luscious chocolate torte. I’m contemplating getting Mom’s deviled egg dish out of storage and making a different version of them, something spicy.

But the torte, that precious dessert, I think I’ll do a homemade pudding for it instead of out of a box. Time to up my game and take every single bite to the next level. Desserts man, they really do fill in all the cracks.

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