Baked Alaska-For-Two at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, across the table from Mr. Wonderful in an inch-wide tie.
The lights were low, the velvets and brocades of the room muting the soft murmur of conversation at romantic tables lost in the candlelight, and I was wearing my pale blue peau d’ange cocktail dress with the matching bolero and a corsage of pink glamellias.
Dessert was brought out high above the shoulder of the waiter, presented with a flourish, and ignited to applause from several tables around. In a center depression in the lofty, golden-tipped meringue, half an eggshell cuddled a sugar cube soaked in lemon extract, and the perfume was amazingly exotic. The little blue flame blazed for a moment, then the waiter deftly divided the cake onto two plates, poured a pool of raspberry sauce, and discreetly disappeared into the twilight.
It was golden meringue and vanilla ice cream and a slightly dry cake layer, but it took its cue from the ambiance of romance in the air, and was a memorable feast, borne forward for years as a special moment etched in time. Lovely evening, but he was not to be my Mr. Wonderful---I met HIM later, and he was well worth waiting for.
But for the moment---that captured-in-a-bubble niche in time which seemed to hover over real life like a floating cloud---it was impressed upon me: a decadent dome containing the chocolate of eons, a Waterford pitcher of poured peach blossoms, an eight-hour lunch at the French Laundry, eaten with a runcible spoon from Careme’s own service---those are NEVER going to equal that Baked Alaska.
Anyone remember a particularly wonderful dessert or any other special dish that stands out in memory? Grandma's cobbler, Mom's special way with chocolate cake or hot cocoa, your own first efforts at baking a cake or cookies---all memories most welcome. I love the history of cooking almost as much as the cooking itself, especially personal histories, with meaning to the one remembering.