I love birthdays. I love that every year, every person gets an excuse to have their own day. My favorite part of every birthday, though, is the cake. The birthday cakes in my family are typically German chocolate, baked to perfection by my aunt.
Food is a big part of my life. I study nutrition, and I creatively express myself through cooking. When I cook, I try to make balanced dishes, adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to tasty foods that may lack some of the properties necessary to a healthful diet. I know that zucchini is not very widely liked, but it contains fiber and other nutrients and should be included in a balanced diet. In my experience, when zucchini is cooked well and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, it not only gets eaten but really enjoyed.
However, I have found that no matter how much people enjoy a well balanced and executed dinner, there is something about what comes next that makes all thoughts of that delicious dinner slip from the mind: dessert. It takes on many forms, it can be as well-loved chocolate cake or apple pie, and it can be as foreign as baclava, flan, or tiramisu. Regardless of what form it takes, dessert is often the most anticipated and enjoyed meal of the day.
Eating dessert is purely about enjoying eating. Dessert does not claim health benefits. I have never been told that eating cake will reduce my risk of heat disease nor that eating a cookie a day for the rest of my life will protect me from cancer. These disease fighting qualities, however, are ones many people look for in food. My mom, for example, is very strict with her diet; she makes sure that everything she eats is the healthiest version available.
However, on very special occasions, my mom will have a small amount of dessert. These rare occasions seem to happen about as often as a birthday, especially if the person who’s birthday it is happens to be lucky enough to have one of my aunt’s German chocolate cakes. The thing that makes a German chocolate cake different from a any other chocolate cake is the frosting. The German chocolate frosting is a mixture of pecans and coconuts, all cooked together to make a delicious sugary topping. The frosting is what makes a German chocolate cake special; the moist cake baked to perfection is what makes my aunt’s cake special. This cake is enough to make anyone roll their eyes at the idea of fruit for dessert, even my mom. The look on her face says it all, there is no substitute for a melt-in-your-mouth German chocolate cake.
The importance of healthful food is undeniable, as is the power of taste. There is no substitute for fruits and vegetables, but there is a reason that Santa asks for cookies at Christmas and not for berries; there is just no substitute for dessert.