I don't know when in my life desserts became a major food group. I don't remember very many desserts being served at 3311 Culver St. My folks were tighter than shrink-wrap and money wasn't spent on such frivolities as power mowers, air-conditioners, or desserts.
Maybe twice a year, Mom would make a graham-cracker pudding pie. Once a year, I'd get a birthday cake...until I got to age 6 and Mom concluded that I was too old for extravagances like that.
But I had enough interaction with the outside world to broaden my sugar-filled horizons. I loved church gatherings where entire tables would be covered with pies. Family get-togethers were cool - it was almost as though my aunts were in Olympic competition, and my Aunt Pearl was a gold medalist.
My modus operandi when I know a sumptuous dessert awaits is to rush through the meal proper, deliberately eating small portions to save room for what's coming. Many times, I stomp on Emily Post's grave by racing to the hostess shortly after the prayer has been said and asking for permission to slice the pie. This is while others are still in the process of filling their plates with mashed potatoes and string beans.
Here are some of my favorite desserts, complete with commentary:
1. Apple or cherry cobbler. Of course I love hot cobbler right out of the oven. But in college, I even lusted after the two-day-old cobblers that seemed to be super-glued to the bowls and had to shoe-horned out by an expert (thus giving rise to origin of the word "cobbler").
2. Lemonade pie. My wife can whup up world-class lemonade pie. Perhaps no other dessert juxtaposes taste and texture like this one. The filling feels so wonderful up against the palate that one is tempted not to swallow, but that is precluded by the extraordinary taste...and civility.
3. Blue Bell Ice Cream (in various flavors). Back in my marathoning days, I would spend Saturday mornings running the perimeter of White Rock Lake TWICE. Then I'd hurry home and consume a quarter-gallon of Blue Bell. I considered the morning's two activities an even swap of calories.
4. Banana pudding. Another taste/texture dream. Tastes as good two days later as on day one. It's wonderful with ice cream on top, a little-known nugget of truth.
5. Carrot cake. Carrots are renowned for their nutritional value. This is justification for pounding down on carrot cake. This dessert, however, loses its standing the longer it stands. Luby's is famous for sneaking 2-day-old carrot cake into their dessert selections. It looks fresh. Only when you bend the fork tines do you realize that you've got a refund coming, if not a gift certificate.
I could easily extend this list to 25. But I'd love to hear you expound on your favorites.