A Small Bite of Dessert

A “dessert” is a meal course that usually comes after dinner. While most dessert foods are sweet, some can also be more savory such as a cheese plate, avocado cream or ube ice cream. The word dessert comes from the Old French word, deservir, which means ‘to serve well.”

Often times in the English language, the culinary word dessert is confused with the word desert (note only one “s”), which is a baren piece of land normally with sand as soil. A fun way to remember the spelling difference: you want more dessert, so you want one more “s.”

The first sweet treat is considered to be from when ancient civilizations ate fruit or some nuts rolled in honey. In the Western world, the history of desserts is tied to sugar. Due to sugar’s rarity and high cost, desserts were primarily enjoyed primarily by wealthy aristocrats or as a rare holiday treat by those in the working class.


It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century with the rise of the middle class, the massive sugar plantations in the New World along with the rise in beet sugar, and the mechanization of the sugar industry that the privilege of sweets extended to the general public. As sugar became more affordable and accessible, so did the development and popularity of desserts.

Most cultures have a unique distinction between the main savory course and the sweet course. However, this is not true in some cuisines such Thai dishes like Hor Mok Ma Prow Awn which mixes seafood with coconut and lime or like the American dish waffles and fried chicken.

According to Eat This, Not That! some of the most iconic desserts in the United States include:

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Apple pie
  • Cheesecake
  • Pecan pie
  • Carrot cake
  • Ice cream
  • Boston cream pie
  • Banana pudding
  • Bakes Alaska
  • Buckeyes

According to Floweraura, the ten most popular desserts in the world are:

  • Crème brulee from France

  • Mochi from Japan

  • Apple pie from the United State of America

  • Nanaimo bar from Canada

  • Gulab Jamun from India

  • Pakhlava from Turkey

  • Kardinalschnitten from Austria

  • Dadar Gulung from Indonesia

  • Poffertjes from the Netherlands

  • Kremes from Hungary