Here’s an oxymoron for Dickinson fans: fastidious gourmand.
I sat down to write a post concerning this past Thanksgiving, and when I thought about how I refused Andy’s Rum Cake the first phrase that came to mind as a descriptor of me in terms of my eating habits was… fastidious gourmand.
But that’s an oxymoron: how can I be a hard to please, indiscriminate eater?
No, the truth is that I didn’t accept Andy’s Rum Cake because I don’t like desserts. Appetizers I’m, eh, neutral about, I can go one way or another, but desserts I simply don’t like.
Funny that the teacher who taught me the mnemonic device to remember the spelling – and therefore the pronunciation and meaning – of desert versus dessert would never have chosen to teach me this mnemony had she known I was going to grow up to be… a fastidious gourmand.
She asked the class of elementary school students, Which do you want more of, a desert or dessert? And all the students at their desks enthusiastically replied, Dessert! Then she said, That’s why dessert has two esses.
But this wasn’t enough for me to understand, I remember that very clearly. The teacher had to append, You don’t just want one dessert, you want two, but no one in their right mind wants two deserts.
In this way, the letter S became equal to one dessert, and dessert has two esses, and two esses means two desserts, and two desserts are better than one desert because a desert only has one dessert. Get it?
I can say that if I am to be true to this equation (S = dessert) and true to myself, a fastidious gourmand, I have to switch things around a bit and begin spelling desert dessert, which means that I am going to have to begin pronouncing desert dessert and vice versa.
That’s not to say I live in or around a desert, nor would I voluntarily choose to live in or around a desert, but I would much sooner choose the desert over dessert. Kind of screwy, right?
But you have to understand that my skewed preferences shouldn’t in any way influence yours, nor will they. Me not liking dessert will have no affect on you. In other words, you are going to love Andy’s Rum Cake Recipe, which I can say now, after hearing people from all walks of life give him kudos following every bite they take of his baked goodness, is making me want to become less fastidious and more of a gourmand. Keep it locked on TOE.