Sunday, July 22, 2007

Foods That Should Be In Fashion -- Episode I

There are a lot of foods that are in fashion for reasons good (and for reasons inscructable) but I am more interested in foods that should be in fashion. That is, there is no good reason that we should not roll out of bed on any given day and realistically be able to look forward to having some chance of eating this food but because of the whims of fashion -- we won't. I am going to write on and off about my list of these foods (this is a type of resisting eating them therapy for me).

English cuisine is largely noted for not being notable but it has produced one (well there are others -- but this note is about one) excellent dessert -- the trifle.

For those of you who have not had the experience a trifle is a multi-lyered dessert which contains some form of sponge cake, custard, cream, fruit or jam and just the right amount of alcohol -- preferably a sherry or some such beast. There is no fixed rule on the details and a great deal of creativity can go into introducing variations and improvements of one sort or another (I like to make sure that the cake is lemon flavoured myself to get that enhancement in almost every flavour that comes from having a real citrus note). I am also becoming persuaded (and this is a major deviationfrom childhood) that jam is to be preferred to fruit -- although if you work in enough layers you can easily have both.

This is a holdiay dessert. It is best served at Christmastime amidst a table of other cakes and cookies with the trifle in the centre sitting in a glass bowl with vertical sides. It is a dessert (if you do it right) that shows well without requiring the fussing that nicely decorated cakes do and will not require individual serving inorder to maintain esthetic order -- anyone can dig right in with a large serving spoon.

The late Alan Davidson describes it as a relative of the english dessert called the fool and likely a descendant of syllabub (now there is the best name for a dessert -- wine suspended in cream and sugar). For me it is the dessert of childhood holidays.

Make a trifle this christmas (invite the neighborhood kids).

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