Monday, January 16

Oranges for Dessert

Many years ago when I was naive, lacked understanding and knowledge of the amount of work required to complete certain types of work, I had just finished eating a meal at my Aunt Arta and Uncle Kelvin's house.  Arta does not just serve a meal, she coordinates a feast.  Be in Indian food, turkey dinner, a concoction of salads (couscous, greens, etc), or other assortments of themed delights, she is a host of the culinary arts.  At the end of dinner I asked where dessert was (re-read post's first sentence now).  Arta looked at me and said there was none.  I laughed then said of course there was dessert, there was always dessert.  Arta stood up, walked to her fridge, moved her body about, then returned to the table and plunked an unpeeled orange down in front of every person at the table.  I laughed again (re-read first sentence of post again).  I asked her a second time where the REAL dessert was.  She laughed and told me that the orange was dessert, sat down, began to peel her orange.  I remember being confused because at my house growing up we always had dessert and here, in this house, there was none?  How odd.

Over the years, as I have matured, I have come to know that my mother is a baker of delightful goodies and others are cookers of delightful savoury things (caveat: my mother can cook sweet and savoury in all its delights, but she shines while desserting).  Not everyone eats dessert.  Arta is not a dessert person.  I am.  Many jokes and teasings have been made over the years by both of us about dessert, oranges and the like.

Fast-forward to 2012 as I read for my thesis.  I am working within a framework called Serious Leisure Perspective, a series of concepts developed over 40 years by a University of Calgary based sociologist, Robert Stebbins (or as my recent quantitative sociology statistics professor put it this last term, "Old Bobby Stebbins?!  He is a well-known leisure researcher?!?  Really?!?"  Yep, very much so).  Reams and reams of researchers have built on his work about serious leisure and in the 2010's more is being completed.

As I am reading one of his many books titled, Serious Leisure: A Perspective For Our Time, I come across this as a book summary:

"Let us think, for a moment, of the serious leisure perspective as resembling a serving of Bananas Foster.  Serious Leisure [the banana] is the central ingredient in this confection, which however, is greatly enhanced with the complementary ingredients of rum, salt butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, banana liqueur, and vanilla ice cream...All this prepared to perfection in a flambĂ© pan, where the rum serves as fuel for the fire that cooks the bananas, themselves bathed, as they are, in a sauce prepared from the aforementioned ingredients.  In metaphor or in real life, the bananas alone (serious leisure) are insufficient to constitute this dessert.  Rather it needs for its completion and perfection the other ingredients...for an optimal leisure lifestyle.  Such a lifestyle is Bananas Foster, exquisitely prepared.  Serious leisure is enhanced and blended with judicious amounts of appealing [forms of] leisure...Bananas Foster, sans bananas, is just not Bananas Foster.  Every New Orleanian knows that."

As I taunt my Aunt Arta once again about oranges for dessert sans toppings, perhaps I have not grown up that much at all.  Then again, next time we are in the same city perhaps we shall share in the making of Bananas Foster, a New Orleanian dessert I have never tried.

Bananas Foster care of Joy of Desserts and More! blog:

Picture and recipe from Joy of Desserts and More! blog
Bananas Foster   
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
8 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup banana liqueur
9 ounces dark rum

She melted the butter in a skillet, (you could also use a chafing dish), then added the brown sugar. Stir until it melts. Then in went the bananas to saute for about 3 minutes on each side. She sprinkled cinnamon and poured the alcohol over the bananas. Once the alcohol is warm (you can't light cold alcohol), carefully light it with a match or lighter. Gently tilt the flaming sauce to baste the bananas until the flames die out when all the alcohol has burned off. Serve hot immediately, over ice cream.


  1. Oh how I love to read what you write.
    I loved this post:)

  2. I ate Bananas Foster on a Celebrity cruise last year. So delicious and what a surprise to have it for breakfast with ice cream.