Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pudding, Expectations, and a Lesson

I have wanted to try the Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding at the Yard House in Dedham, Massachusetts, for months.  Doesn't that sound like a great dessert?  I have so looked forward to this dessert that I was almost certain it could not possibly live up to expectations.  Well, I am happy to report that it did.  What I loved most about it was that it was a true salted caramel dessert. These days, it seems like everyone is serving some version of a salted caramel dessert, and most of the time, there is barely any salt worth speaking of.  Not so with this dessert, as the salt pleasantly came through loud and clear. The flavors in this pudding were just wonderful.  The butterscotch was robust, and the rich ribbon of caramel running through the pudding added a delicious twist.  You could really taste the salt with the caramel.  All of the flavors were strong, and rather than compete with each other, made for a very tasteful dessert experience. The pudding was served with a dollop of whipped cream and topped with cookie pieces, which appeared to be oreo cookies.  Although the cookies added a nice crunchy texture, this dessert was really about the salt, caramel, and butterscotch, and it was a winner.  

How often is something that we look forward to as good as we hoped it would be?  I have a funny story about expectations.  And humility.  

When my children were very young, I auditioned for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which is the chorus for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Around the second year of my time with the chorus, my children were old enough to start coming to my concerts out at Tanglewood, which is the summer home of the BSO.  My husband would find a nice section on the beautiful Tanglewood lawn, and my family would listen to the music having a picnic, sitting on large blankets.  I was glad they were there, but I kept thinking that they really needed to actually see the concert and watch what was happening.  I was still in the early stages of my singing with the group, completely enthralled with the very idea that I was up on the risers behind the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

For one particular concert, the weather forecast was not optimal, and I discovered that chorus members could reserve seats on the green benches all the way in the back of the Shed (concert hall).  I was excited to have my family within the Shed, watching the chorus and the orchestra and enjoying the magic of what I was doing.   And so, I made sure to reserve seats on the green benches and told my husband where to find the seats.  I could see, from my spot on the stage, the images of my three children and my husband making their way to their seats.  I was pleased!  

After the concert, I found my family, and excitedly asked what they thought of the music.  They said nice things, as they always did.  I specifically asked what they thought about being in the Shed, and actually getting a chance to watch the concert.  I was sure they had loved the whole experience.  

My middle daughter, six years old at the time, looked up at me and said, "Well, it was good, but there's no place to look except the stage.  When we're on the lawn, we can look all around.  We can look at the sky, or at the lawn, or at the other people.  We can look all around.   But when we're in there, there's no other place to look."  

There is nothing like children to keep you humble.  I decided to be less self-impressed from that moment on, and I did not ask my little children to sit on the green benches again.  My family continued to support me at my concerts; my children pretty much grew up on the Tanglewood lawn, immersing themselves in the culture, the beauty, and yes, the music, which they could hear loud and clear from their blankets.  And when I would see, from my spot on the stage, three little figures appear just behind the green benches, to take a quick peek at what was happening on the stage, it melted my heart.  I knew they were not coming up there because they were oh so impressed by the fact that I was singing behind the BSO, or because they wanted to see a world famous orchestra and a great big chorus.  It was because they loved their mom.  

Try a dessert you've been looking forward to!  And have a sweet week!


  1. Love butterscotch, so looking forward to trying it next time I'm in MA. Beautiful story, they are precious children, always were, and love their mom.