Drop the shame and pick up the sweets menu. You'll be so much happier.
Ordering dessert in a restaurant should never be complicated. No matter how complex the Black Forest chocolate gateau was to bake, telling your waiter you’d like a serving of it should be easy. Yet when we go out to eat and the server asks if anyone cares for dessert, it’s always a game of cat and mouse with everyone looking at each other to determine if it’s all right. "Well, I’ll order dessert if someone else will." And then someone else will say, "Maybe we can get one dessert for the table and share it," which is how people get past the self-imposed shame of wanting dessert.
Let’s be honest though. No matter how good of friends you are with the people you’re eating out with, nobody really wants an apple tart with ice cream and four spoons. It’s awkward and weird and a little bit gross. There’s always that last soggy spoonful because nobody wants to be the one to take the last bite. Finally, someone will say, “Well, if no one else is going to eat this...” and they’ll scoop up what’s already been assaulted by three other spoons. It’s time to embrace our confectionary desires and order dessert freely and with pride.
As a longtime server, I cannot tell you how many customers would preface their dessert order with the caveat, "I’m gonna be bad." Ordering dessert is not bad and wanting it doesn’t require an apology or an explanation. It’s on the menu to be ordered and if you want it, get it. Believe me, no one is judging you for it. Your server sees it as a higher check which probably means a bigger tip and your friends don’t care. Drop the shame and pick up the dessert menu.
"Ordering dessert is not bad and wanting it doesn’t require an apology or an explanation."
You don’t have to share if you don’t want to. I don’t. My husband and friends know this about me and have accepted it. If I order a dessert, or anything really, it’s understood that it’s for me and I might give you a bite, but I’m definitely not giving you 50% of it. Not enough of us are comfortable in restaurants with our love for sweets. When we’re at home, we might be OK with having a ginormous slice of pie, but in a restaurant with the eyes of others upon us, we suddenly pretend this is “too much.” No, it’s not too much. If you can’t finish it, that’s what doggie bags are for.
Decades ago, I was waiting on a 12-top of people who were paying me no mind as I asked the obligatory, “Anyone save room for dessert?” question. One woman said what she wanted while the other 11 people actively ignored me. I asked a second time and again got no response. Irritated, I asked a very loud, forceful third time, “So the only one who wants dessert is the greedy gal over here, is that right?”
I was mortified by the words that came out of my mouth. Suddenly, everyone was paying full attention to me including the woman I had just insulted. The seconds felt like eons as I prepared for the very deserved tongue lashing coming my way. Finally, the woman laughed and said, “That’s right, I like my dessert, bring it on!” After I sincerely apologized from the very bottom of my embarrassed heart, several other people decided to order dessert too. She broke the ice when it came to ice cream.
Going out to eat is a treat and we deserve to top off a nice meal with dessert. If you want to eat dessert and the restaurant wants you to order it, it seems like a win-win situation. And to be clear, the restaurant does want you to order it. I have worked in places that trained the staff to hold the desserts down low when walking through the restaurant so that other customers would see them and want one too. It always worked. The eyes may be bigger than the stomach, but seeing a tiramisu up close and personal is too tempting. And a full-on dessert cart? That's a force no one can beat. Just order it.
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