Many of us have the suspicion that we have a separate stomach specifically for the ingestion of dessert. No matter how much we have gorged ourselves on scrumptious savoury fare, we are still tempted to finish with a mouth-watering morsel. I am very happy to report that the presence of a ‘dessert stomach’ is actually a scientific fact, and it’s all because of something called sensory-specific satiety. Dr. Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University in the U.S., has been studying this phenomenon since the 1980s. Simply put, the more we eat of something, the less we enjoy it and we have the perception that we are full. However, we have only lost our appetite for that particular food and the offer of something different is far more appealing. The theory is, this is an evolutionary tactic to ensure a healthy, varied diet. My extensive research to date has certainly supported this premise but I think it will be ongoing indefinitely.
There is something comforting about a sticky pudding or slice of warm cake to finish a meal, perhaps it reminds us of a simpler time when we were cocooned in the family home.
There is one word we all associate with dessert – chocolate. The health benefits of chocolate have been proven beyond doubt; antioxidants lower cholesterol, flavanols lower blood pressure and help reduce memory loss and (best of all) it contains phenylethylamine, a natural antidepressant. Of course, the amazing taste and versatility make for wondrous opportunities.
Tarts are thought to have evolved from medieval pie making. I have had a penchant for custard tarts for as long as I can remember but am always happy to indulge in anything encased in pastry.
When it is difficult to choose from the array of enticing offerings on the dessert menu, what better option than a taste of everything?
I’ve never been a fan of buffet style dining but I can make an exception when it comes to dessert.
On the odd occasion where we are not sure whether we should have ordered dessert, the colourful presentation on the plate before us soon piques our interest.
Some are nothing short of spectacular.
I do wonder what kitchen disaster led to the concept of deconstructed pumpkin pie,
and the brilliant mind that came up with the idea of dessert pizza.
I think it is important to scan the dessert menu before deciding on savoury options and there is one tempter I can never pass up – crème brûlée. The first recorded recipe was in a French cookbook, ‘Le Cuisinier Royal Et Bourgeois’, written in 1691 by François Massialot, a chef in the kitchen of the Duke of Orléans. Back then, a red hot iron poker was used to caramelize the sugar on top. I have sampled this divine dessert across the globe and have yet to be disappointed. My research must continue.
I don’t know who uttered these words of wisdom but I wholeheartedly agree,
“No matter how much I eat, there is always room for dessert. Dessert doesn’t go to the stomach. Dessert goes to the heart.”