There it is—your new diet. Seriously.
You know you want it. Did you know: Science wants you to want it? That’s right: People in white lab coats with very serious expressions want you to eat dessert first. For the very reason Mother said: “It will spoil your appetite.”
Of course, you’ll eat less. But also: It can be good for you. Nutritionally and–dare we say it?—romantically. Let the experts explain:
At Imperial College London, researchers studied the effect of glucose—your brain’s favorite energy food—on your appetite. (OK, they conducted their experiments on rats, but don’t take it personally.) Their findings:
“A brain protein called glucokinase keeps track of how much glucose is eaten. If intake is too low, the brain tells the body to find more starchy and sugary food.”
And the binge is on.
Despite the fact that you’re keeping your glucokinase happy, perhaps you still feel weird about dining in reverse. Don’t be: Front Street District chefs agree—people do it all the time. Whether it’s a parfait shooter before the concert at Infinity Hall or a Scotch and Cap’n Crunch cocktail at Nix’s, it’s perfectly normal to start things off sweet.
And a backwards meal on a first date?
“That really makes things interesting,” says Infinity Bistro Executive Chef David Gilmore as he sprinkles a graham cracker rim atop key lime panna cotta with a candied lime garnish. “Throw a curveball instead of what’s expected! Have the best thing first. You set the evening up for success.”
Nix’s Chef Luis Gaston sees it this way: “You eat first with your eyes.” Dessert presentation is like your introduction to a knockout date. “It’s so pretty, you don’t want to touch it. You think, ‘Wow, I just want to preserve that forever.’ Then everyone takes pictures and posts them on social media.”
He recommends the soft, warm, fluffy zeppoles for starters: round Italian doughnuts made with ricotta cheese, surrounded by raspberry, chocolate, caramel and vanilla dipping sauces—just right for sharing.
So you’ll be all sweetened up for a savory Roasted Pan-Seared Breast of Chicken with Bacon and Bourbon-glazed Brussel Sprouts. You might even have room to finish off with Lobster Tater Tots with sweet crab, lobster, cheddar cheese and lemon aioli.
Next door at Infinity Hall, Chef David suggests Guava Cheesecake Bites for openers, balanced by a citrus-infused Caprese Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad, then capped with a juicy Ribeye and Mashed Potatoes with a Red Wine Sauce.
Tell us you’re too full for that. But let’s not forget that you’re doing this because it’s—ugh—good for you.
Cue the nutrition nerds: If you start your meal with dessert, you’ll not only fill up faster and eat less—the fat in your treat helps you better absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.
Of course, the whole reason you get dressed up and pick a nice restaurant is to absorb more A, D, E and K. So, instead of giving the waitstaff the wave-off after a hearty meal, have your meal backwards.
Now, full disclosure: No one is saying you should eat an entire dessert first. It’s more like certain places in South India, where the meal traditionally begins with just a wee taste of something sweet. Take a few bites. Savor them.
Then eat your vegetables or you won’t get the rest of it.
One way to make sure you eat the right amount of dessert up front? Share it with someone you love. Someone you love to see filled with Vitamins A, D, E and K.