Reading the IMBB 24 "Make It In 30 Minutes" entries hosted by Too Many Chefs , it struck me that a lot of the participants were sure to include a dessert in their meal. When I was ruminating over what to make it never even entered my mind that I should make a dessert, because I'm not a dessert person.
Don't get me wrong...I love sweet things. But I rarely serve a dessert at home with everyday meals, unless it's just some fruit or a small scoop or sorbet or something. When I go out to eat, unless it's a special occasion or a special restaurant I'm perfectly happy to skip dessert.
One main reason is that after the main course, or even more an appetizer or soup plus main, I'm usually too full to really enjoy the dessert. So it's a compromise - skip the appetizer and/or have a small main, and make room for dessert, or concentrate on the savory parts of the menu. Usually, I'd much rather do the latter.
My favorite way to have a dessert is as its own course. Mid-afternoon is perfect for this. In England there's that wonderful meal called tea (though 'tea' can mean an early dinner too), and in Japan there is oyatsu, a snack usually eaten around 3pm. A piece of cake or pie, or a bombastic sundae, and a soothing cup of tea midway between lunch and dinner is my idea of pure bliss. And my favorite time to have ice cream is about 2 hours after dinner, curled up on the sofa. I'm not sure if this preference is cultural (in my mother's household, dominated by Japanese style cooking wherever we lived, we rarely had dessert after dinner), or just the way I am. And I really wish that more fine restaurants would allow us to eat just dessert at off-hours too.
Are you a dessert person? Is dessert an essential part of a meal?