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Just desserts

Dish: The Triangle's most complete restaurant guide

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It used to be that when parents wanted to punish their children, the first thing to go was dessert. Why? Because it was a treat, something special, the reward at the end of a meal. Nowadays, most of us are so self-flagellating--over our health, our weight, money, time, whatever--that we rarely have dessert at all. Or, worse, we sneak it.

Relax. Enjoy. This edition of Dish, The Independent's semi-annual food and restaurant guide, is dedicated to pleasures both simple and a little more complicated. Writer Maria Mangano shares some insights into what makes master dessert chef (and James Beard award winner) Karen Barker such a great baker, and offers some recipes, formal and a little less so. Regular food columnist Sharon Kebschull Barrett tells us how to make elegant desserts with just what we have around the house (or ought to). Wine columnist Arturo Ciompi gives us a quick guide to dessert wines--some even that, he says, might change our lives. And, just so we don't get too sugar-crazed, David Auerbach tells us the not-so-sweet story of the rise of sweeteners both as a world commodity and in our diets.

Armed with that information, maybe we can cut some unneeded sugar from our diets--and make more room for dessert.
--Richard Hart

Sweet success
For chef/owner Karen Barker and her staff at Magnolia Grill, creating desserts is a labor of love. By Maria Mangano

Simple desserts made fancy
With a few flourishes, you can make old standards look and taste elegant. By Sharon Kebschull Barrett

The joy of sweetness
Dessert wines may be the most misunderstood wines of all. But tasting is all it takes to appreciate them. By Arturo Ciompi

Not so sweet history
Sweeteners used to be rare condiments. Now they're a commodity, and we eat 147 pounds a year, each. By David Auerbach

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