It’s not often we get a hilarious look into an author’s favorite British desserts and their colorful names. Enjoy!
My Favorite Dessert
Ooooh! I am so going to cheat on this one, because I have MANY favorite desserts. In fact, I could probably write my biography about desserts alone. I am quite certain that my love of desserts can be traced back to the school cafeteria at Clifton High School in Bristol, England, where I was student for ten years, from the age of five to fifteen. These were tumultuous years in some respects, where I learned to find approval from by peers through being hysterically funny (at least in my own mind), and where my young and impressionable brain was a sponge for any bit of new information that came its way (I did not appreciate this as I had yet to experience the memory sucking power of menopause forty-five years later). I, however, was only interested in being fed by the school lunch lady, and more specifically, experiencing the joys of the English dessert menu.
The school cafeteria was a fascinating world of dense, starchy sweetness covered in piles of yellow custard at a time in my life where there were no such things as calories, diabetes, muffin tops or gluten free anything. It was heaven! I remember shaking with excitement as I passed quickly by the broccoli and headed for the sweet treat of the day. I didn’t care if I had anyone to sit with, or if I had failed my math test that morning, so long as there was a warm Jam Roly Poly waiting for me at the end of the lunch line. If I was assigned to the last lunch period it was even better as I could go back for seconds!
England schools offered such culinary delights as Treacle Pudding, Spotted Dick (trust me, it’s good), Steamed Jam Pudding, Eccles Cakes, warm donuts drenched in custard, slices of Victoria Sponge cake and Battenberg cake. Occasionally, I was vastly disappointed upon finding Jelly (Jello to the Americans) and would literally spend the rest of the day in mourning until I could go home and raid the biscuit tin (cookie jar). I remember special occasions like Christmas, that were commemorated by Christmas cake covered in hard white icing and Christmas pudding covered in Brandy, set on fire and then served with the best kept secret England has – Clotted Cream. Clotted Cream was the Xanax of my childhood, the medicine that could fix any ailment, and the most versatile treat ever invented. You could literally put it on anything – scones, bread, puddings, cakes, ice cream, by itself on a spoon, and I did all those, lavishly, and often. Clotted cream was the gift cows gave us in exchange for farting on our planet. Where have those days gone?
If there is a heaven, when my last breath leaves my body, I fully expect to find myself standing in the lunch line at an English private school saying, “Custard, Custard, wherefore art thou, custard?” as my dessert plate runneth over.
For more information about Claire Eckard and her latest book, Bentley and the Magic Sticks, visit my earlier post Book Review + Giveaway: Bentley and the Magic Sticks!