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No Dessert? But It's Fun!

Note: Learn more about the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program here or at

When my book group meets every month, we start off with a potluck, and we always eat very well despite certain food restrictions (cow’s dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian). We rotate main dishes based on who’s hosting, but other dishes are up for grabs last-minute, and one that usually gets taken first is dessert.

At our last meeting, one of the women asked wistfully, “Can we rotate dessert like we do main dishes? I don’t get to check e-mail as often as some people, so I never get to make it.”

We quickly agreed to that, but it made me realize that most of us do enjoy making desserts, sometimes much more than we like making the main dishes. I started wondering why that is and then realized it’s because desserts are fun!

This is true in a couple of ways. As Dr. May likes to point out in the Am I Hungry? program, some foods have what we need to stay strong and healthy, and other foods are just for fun. Desserts generally fall into that category, and they can certainly be fun to eat.

But they’re also fun to make. You can do things with cakes and pastries that you simply can’t with vegetables and grains and fruit (or if you can, it’s probably much more challenging). For instance, at one of our earlier book group meetings that was also partly a baby shower, one woman made a cake with some amazing baby decorations involving fondant. I also have a friend who has been making elaborate cakes for her son’s birthday - this past year was a dinosaur. And while the food at weddings may be of interest, what everyone really pays attention to is the cake.

I also think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and both movie versions), and realize that if you tried to adapt that to savory foods, it simply wouldn’t work, or at least not so well, nor would it be as appealing if left out for a couple of days.

Not that I need dessert all the time, but every now and again is nice, and even more, it’s important for me to remember that it is fun, and to enjoy it fully, from the making to the presentation to the eating. Now I just need to wait for my next turn at book group.

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