Humour: food for the soul

Spotted Dick dessert served at our Cedar Springs PARC Retirement Residence

They say laughter is the best medicine, no matter your age or stage. That concept is clearly not lost on this retirement community. During a recent visit to Cedar Springs PARC (one of our retirement residences on the north shore), Chef Joseph posed this question to me: “Do you know what’s on the menu for dessert tonight?”

Immediately, my brain conceived of all sorts of decadent temptations…. Tiramisu… chocolate mousse…. Crème Brule… Key Lime Pie?

I have gorged on Chef Joseph’s creations in the past, and I was sure whatever he’d planned would be nothing less than decadent and sumptuous. But you can imagine my surprise when he told us deadpan: “Spotted Dick”.

Ummmmmmmmmmmm, Spotted Dick? Really? Yes, really.

His passive expression seemed to imply this was a perfectly acceptable and typical answer, before trotting off to leave myself and my colleagues wide-eyed and sputtering.

Moments later, Joseph returned to the table with a grin threatening the corners of his lips, and extended a printed dinner menu to us. There it was in black and white; ‘Tonight’s Dessert:  Spotted Dick with Vanilla Custard’ with this description:

Spotted Dick is a pudding popular in Britain, containing dried fruit (usually currants or raisins) commonly served with custard. ‘Spotted’ refers to the dried fruit (which resemble spots) and ‘dick’ may be a contraction or corruption of the word ‘pudding’ or possibly a corruption of the word ‘dough’ or ‘dog’, as Spotted Dog is another name for the same dish with the use of plums rather than currants.

Our laughter subsided eventually, and that’s when I caught site of a lovely, elegant resident I had been speaking with earlier. I went to ask her how lunch had been. Before I could filter, I found myself blurting out: “Guess what you’re having for dessert tonight?”

“What?” she asked, undoubtedly imagining the very decadent desserts I had conceived of earlier.

My answer brought an immediate sparkle to her eyes and she erupted in a hearty laugh. I described the origins of Spotted Dick to her, but all she said with a wry smile was: “I do believe you’re blushing!”

I smiled back at her in a conspiratorial fashion, threw her a wink, and said “No, I think you are!” We laughed together as we said our goodbyes, and she made her way, smiling, towards the elevator.

Mission accomplished, Chef Joseph. Mission accomplished.

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