Let’s face it: roast beef and potatoes are all well and good, but for many of us, when it comes to gustatory delight, we’re all about dessert. Whether it’s a homemade strawberry shortcake in summer or a chef’s complex medley of sweets, dessert is the perfect finale to a meal. Most of us have a favorite, even those who seldom indulge. After all, sweet is one of the basic flavors—and one we seem hardwired to love.
Yet, as Jeri Quinzio reveals, while everyone has a taste for sweetness, not every culture enjoys a dessert course at the end of the meal. And desserts as we know them—the light sponge cakes of The Great British Baking Show, the ice creams, the steamed plum puddings—are neither as old nor as ubiquitous as many of us believe. Tracing the history of desserts and the way they, and the course itself, have evolved over time, Quinzio begins before dessert was a separate course—when sweets and savories were mixed on the table—and concludes in the present, when homey desserts are enjoying a revival, and as molecular gastronomists are creating desserts an alchemist would envy.
An indulgent, mouth-wateringly illustrated read featuring recipes; texts from chefs, writers, and diarists; and extracts (not the vanilla or almond variety) from cookbooks, menus, newspapers, and magazines, Dessert is a delectable happy ending for anyone with a curious mind—and an incorrigible sweet tooth.