Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yogurt Parfaits

When I was little I wasn't allowed to have sugar. And so I obsessed about it. 

During the first few years of my life, my mother made recordings of me talking at various ages, using her 1980's plastic tape recorder. Several of the tracks are of me telling stories about candy, a little lady in particular who, when she went out shopping, only bought candy and it was always red.

This was my ultimate fantasy. A pantry full of cherry flavored suckers and candy bars. But at my house sweets were for ultra special occasions, like angel food cake for a birthday, and for several years I thought that rice cakes were indeed cake and that a sundae was plain yogurt layered with honey and wheat germ. A parfait my mother called it, served elegantly in a wine glass.

Every now and then my father would slip me a candy bar followed by, "now don't tell your mother", but I always did. How could I hide my exuberance over such divine confections!

I am still obsessed with sweets, so is my mother, but I have to say that yogurt parfaits are still among one of my favorite snacks. For breakfast, an afternoon snack or after dinner, rather than satisfy a gnarly sweet tooth, they divert it to something better.

Sunday morning we had one cup of yogurt left, one banana, a couple tablespoons of shredded coconut at the bottom of the bag, some leftover canned apricots in the fridge and some toasted pecan bits left from the night before. Not very impressive on their own but gently layered in a glass and served with a cup of coffee and some popovers, which only require eggs, milk, flour and butter, we had a splendid Sunday brunch.

Next time I'll even break out the wine glasses.

Elizabeth is blowing out her candles, but I'm sizing up my first slice.


  1. Erica is focused. And not on the candles.

    A delightful story, about a delightful treat. My mom used to make me yogurt parfaits with wheat germ as well. She says she convinced me to eat them by casting the wheat germ as "Dad's special treat," and I had to "promise not to tell" that I'd been allowed a taste.

    Oh, how mothers scheme ...

  2. I really enjoyed your post and it has me thinking...I'm a sugar lover as well, but have managed to "trick" myself with splenda, fruit juice and any way to have my preverbal cake and keep away the pounds. However, at the brink of having a family I wonder if my plan of "fake" sweets will only create a tiny sugar addict. Or does have sugar around and not a forbidden treat create harmony?

  3. A very good point. I think my husband has the best relationship with sugar of anyone I know, and I think it comes from the fact that his mother never really kept sweets in the house. Dessert didn't naturally follow dinner, it was something you had to go out for, but it wasn't forbidden. It's one thing to go out for an ice cream cone now and then, but another thing to keep five tubs of various flavored ice cream in the freezer. I always think the real thing is better than diet treats too, as they are mostly chemicals. When I stayed with a French family one summer, at the end of every meal the kids would set out every kind of yogurt they had in the fridge (full fat mostly), you picked your favorite one, and that was dessert. I like that idea, and still think that greek yogurt with honey and walnuts is the perfect ending to a meal. Thanks for your comment!