The word “dessert” comes from the French verb “desservir”, which means “to remove from the table”. This is what was served after the table was cleared of the foods that were on it for the savory part of the meal. Many hosts and housewives still insist that salt, pepper and any seasonings should be removed from the table before the appearance of dessert.
Dessert in French is “desserte” (with the letter “e” at the end) – a table or cart for serving.
Desserts are usually eaten either with the hands, or with a fork or a spoon. There are very few drinkable desserts.
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Dessert in North America and Great Britain is traditionally accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea. In Italy or France, coffee is rarely served after a meal with dessert.
For people in the English-speaking world, old desserts like pies are considered comfort food, especially home-made ones.
Desserts in food trade
Desserts sold in supermarkets are constantly increasing in price, but instead of tasting better because of the higher prices, they are becoming more and more “chemical” and artificial, and therefore many people simply skip them. Why pay increasingly for something that tastes worse and worse?
Real bakeries that specialize exclusively in making desserts are hard to find these days. Because supermarket bakeries have displaced most of these “craft” establishments.
The rhythm of our life is also not conducive to making homemade desserts. A mother who does not work and stays at home is a rarity these days, so she does not have time to prepare dessert.
Indeed, in supermarket bakeries, the share of dessert sales (as of 2009-2010) is decreasing, although sales of other bakery products such as bread etc. are increasing.
The average American supermarket bakery sells about $2,700 worth of cakes (including mousse cakes, cheesecakes, etc.) per week.
Serving In the United Kingdom, the grocery dessert market was worth £1.5 billion in 2008. 70% of desserts sold in 2009 were chilled products – products sold from a refrigerated unit. Why frozen foods began to grow in popularity is because many home-baked foods were cheaper, tastier, and less chemical-laden than those offered by supermarkets. Desserts like bagels or cookies etc. have also started to become more popular as they are also cheaper and do not require constant refrigeration. Frozen cheesecakes are a top seller in American supermarkets.
Dessert in a restaurant
Desserts increase the profits of restaurants and can be among the most profitable items on the menu.
Desserts with fruit were popular on restaurant menus in the early 2000s, although chocolate remained the number 1 ingredient people were looking for. In some British restaurants, the dessert cart is still on wheels.
This helps increase sales – people’s eyes can sell for you what the words on the menu couldn’t. Some American restaurants are also re-examining the concept of the dessert cart.
Dessert bars began to become popular around the early 2000s in major American cities such as Boston, Chicago, and New York. They’re open late at night for the after theater or cinema crowd, and even serve wines as a dessert.
There are many low-fat, low-calorie, low-sugar desserts available today.
Fat plays an important role in desserts, creating texture and moisture, as well as providing flavor. Fats are usually solid fats such as lard, butter, or shortening.
To replace them in recipes, you need trial and error. Some say that even if you do, desserts aren’t good enough to be worth the trouble: they just prefer to treat themselves to a small amount of perfect dessert sometimes. However, those without sugar are good for diabetics.
Dessert story notes
In the late 1300s, a French writer we now refer to as “Le Ménagier” made perhaps the first mention of a dessert at the end of a meal.
With the advent of affordable white refined sugar, deserts really became affordable for everyone.
In the 1800s and 1900s, dessert was often considered the highlight of a meal. Sweet foods that could be snacked on during the day were not as common as they became later. At dinner parties, many women made sure that desserts appeared on the table because desserts were bound to be the things that people noticed and talked about.
Dessert at the end of the meal was also perceived as a sign of prosperity and proper housekeeping.
With the giant glut of cheap, sugary deserts that hit supermarkets in the last few decades of the 1990s, eating something sweet at the end of a meal became less special. Some families have begun to forgo dessert altogether for dietary and “health” reasons.
Government and other health authorities currently do not recommend daily desserts unless they are fruits that promote a healthy lifestyle.
Dessert remains traditional at some festive meals, such as birthdays and Christmas.
You will always find many dessert recipes on our website.
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