We ate late lunches in Baltimore — large meals at 3 o’clock in the afternoon that left us still full at dinner time. On Easter, by the time evening rolled around, we didn’t want a full meal. So instead of eating dinner, we had desserts and drinks instead.
Well, I had dessert.
We ate and drank at the B&O Brasserie, a place which delighted me because of the trains on the sign and the nostalgia of the B&O Railroad in Monopoly. For deseert, I saw things on the menu I knew my husband would like — mocha creme brulee, a chocolate torte — but what I wanted was the banana pudding. I’ve been having unusual dessert attractions lately, often wanting peanut butter or banana desserts when I’ve never cared much about those in the past.
The cocktails and the cheddar stout fondue with fresh potato chips had been amazing, so I was excited for my dessert. I anticipated a similar level of deliciousness.
When it arrived, I knew I made the right choice. Our server placed a small Ball jar filled with layers of fudge and caramel sauces, smooth pudding made from fresh bananas, glossy white marshmallow creme, and three slender wafers as long as my finger and flecked with vanilla.
The pudding was phenomenal. Even better than I imagined it would be. The marshmallow creme was pristine and perfect: gooey and soft, but breaking at the exact time you wanted it to so that you didn’t have to fight to get it onto your spoon, and you didn’t have to worry about drizzling it across the table (or your chin).
The banana pudding was at the bottom of my husband’s list of desserts he would have chosen. Banana pudding made him think of the pans on buffet or elementary school potluck tables: layers of browning banana disks, Jello pudding, and boxed ‘Nilla wafers.
When he tasted the B&O pudding, his eyebrows rose up. He took another small spoonful.
“I have to give it to you,” he said. “That’s really good.”
I nodded and “Mmmhmmm”ed, dipping in for another spoonful.
“I love the little jar,” I said. “It works for this. It reminds me of a dessert I ordered in New Orleans that was not as successful. A deconstructed pecan pie, served in a jar like this.”
My husband dipped a delicate cookie in the marshmallow creme.
“Everything else at the restaurant had been amazing,” I said. “And we were in the South, where I know they can do pecan pie.”
He spooned smooth banana and caramel into his mouth.
“But it came in a jar like this, and it just didn’t work. The pecan layer on top was like a scab. It was impossible to crack with my spoon. Once I did, pieces fell out of the jar, and the pie filling leaked over the side each time I tried to dip my spoon in. The goo was too sticky, too. It was really hard to eat.”
I sunk my spoon easily into the soft pudding.
“On top of that, there was no crust! There were these little attempts at crust pieces, tiny garnishes on the plate, but it just wasn’t right. The pie needs to bind with the crust — the crust can’t be separate.”
“You can’t have pecan pie without crust,” I continued. “WTF is up with that?”
My husband placed his spoon on the table and savored his final helping of pudding. “The thing with that is that banana pudding can be improved on,” he said. He pointed at the jar. “This is a major improvement.”
“Pecan pie, however, is already perfect,” he said. “Why mess with it? You can’t improve on perfection.”
For the month of April, I will publish a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Trying to get back into the writing habit.