The dinner side of my stomach is full.
But the dessert side is empty.
Of the many, many (and I mean countless) funny things my nieces and nephews say, this one is taking rank as the most often repeated. It’s just so funny, because it’s so spot-on true.
You eat, and at a point you just cannot, will not take even one more bite of the sandwich/coosa/kibbeh/hushweh/whateveritis.
And yet at the thought of dessert, the whole situation changes. There’s plenty of room for a bite (or in my case, a whole plate) of something sweet.
There is probably something very wrong with me (okay, there is) that as an aunt, I can’t wait to get dessert into the kids. I do focus on the food, but then there’s a point, the moment I’ve been waiting for all through dinner, where I want and I need to say: want something sweet? Perhaps it’s selfish, because of course nobody should eat alone. My dad said so all the time.
I recently asked my nephew if he had room for dessert. No, not really, he said. I tried to hide my disappointment. You suuuuure? I asked. You sure the dessert part of your stomach isn’t a little empty? I mean, I know the dinner side is full, but the dessert side might need a little something.
No, he said. Not really.
I waited a reasonable amount of time, then pulled out the caramel sauce I’d been experimenting with and sliced up some apples. Come on in here!, I shouted to the house. John came padding in. He didn’t look in the mood for dessert at all, so I asked him would he taste-test this caramel I’m working on for my blog.
You MADE that? His eyes got big. So did mine.
Go ahead, take a dip, I said. I assured him this would be nothing at all like the failed attempt at caramel apples we had under my own tutelage last year; we remember it often (I’ve given up the ghost on that one and just buy them; our local candy shop makes them far better than I can).
He dipped, with just a light coating of caramel on his apple. About half as much as I scoop up on my own. He takes a big bite and says hey, that’s really good. I puff up with pride of his palate when he notes there’s a flavor in there he’s tasted somewhere else.
I hold the bottle of orange blossom water under his nose. NO, he’s certain it’s not that at all.
I ask how he likes the caramel and he says it’s great. He likes how thick it is, and the salt. They’re gonna love it, he assures me. Then he pads back to the other room and I see he’s eaten just that one bite of apple with caramel, and nothing more.
I guess he meant it when he said no to dessert, darn it. Kids these days (can you see me? I’m shaking my head at the futility of it all). They just need to take a lesson from their Uncle Dan, who I watched down half the jar of caramel with just a couple of slices of apple in the time it took John to taste test one bite. Now that children, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout, the dessert side empty.
Find exceptional orange blossom water at Maureen Abood Market!
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾-1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon orange blossom water
- In a 3- or 4 quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water. (The pot seems too large for this but it’s needed to contain the bubbling when the cream is added later)
- Without stirring agin, heat the sugar and water to boiling over medium high heat. Watch closely until the mixture becomes deep amber, about 12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and spit.
- Return to the heat, whisking until the cream is fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, salt, and orange blossom water. Taste and add more salt if needed.