There are a few things that I can tell I directly inherited from my mother’s father. My grandfather, who instilled in me a lifelong love for cribbage and a tendency to whistle Red River Valley, also gave me his serious sweet tooth. While I tend to swing more in the tart sour candy territory, I will never turn down a cookie…or cupcake, milkshake or well, anything else. And neither will he. In fact, my stepdad often jokes that if you turn down dessert after dinner saying “I’ll have some later,” there is no guarantee that there will be any left by the time Papa is done.
He even keeps a stash of candy in his dresser drawer so that if the cookie jar in the kitchen ever runs low, he knows the next sugar fix is secure. And even though he hasn’t been able to see for years, he can identify numerous packages of sweets from the shape of the box alone. It’s uncanny — he is practically a chocolate whisperer.
The temperature has been hovering around 90 degrees (and then some) for the past few days and I absolutely love it. Yes, it is hot. Yes, it makes my bike commute borderline painful. Yes, I can step out into the sun and basically wilt into a puddle of sweat within minutes and yes, I still love it.
But even though I adore the heat, I can definitely appreciate a few things that offer some cool relief — a cold shower, an even colder beer and, of course, an icy refreshing dessert. And while I have been absolutely digging Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt this summer, there is nothing quite like homemade when it comes to frozen treats. And, coincidentally, my husband recently brought home a brand-new ice cream machine that needed to be broken in.
Our first creation was a little different than the usual ones he makes at work (think foie gras ice cream and nutterbutter gelato). I wanted something lighter and slightly healthier, so I convinced him to make a frozen yogurt instead.
Everyone should have a signature dish. Back in college, my friend Oliver Lucky and I were infamous for attending potlucks, where other people showed up with something homemade, bearing a bag of tortilla chips and jar of salsa. And yes, I mean one bag and jar between the two of us. Hey, we were poor and living in the dorms — those were things we could buy at the on-campus convenience store with our food cards.
It’s a good thing that we’ve grown up since then. Not that there’s anything wrong with chips and salsa, but being known for making a bad-ass rum cake is a whole lot more fun.
My obsession with this dessert started on my first Caribbean cruise. I was with my husband, my friend Jenna and her husband. We would stumble off of the ship on our port days and be immediately greeted by several liquor stores, all providing complimentary rum and rum cake samples. Sure it was eight in the morning, but there was no way in hell we were going to turn down free booze!