Dessert in the United States

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Initially, Americans aped the British model. They could, for example, look to Maria Eliza Rundell’s widely reprinted A New System of Domestic Cookery (1807) for what was appropriate for a second course—mainly birds, game and shellfish, vegetables, fruit tarts, stewed apples, cheesecakes, and “all the finer sorts of Puddings, Mince Pies, &c.” The book was apparently not intended for “people of quality,” since it makes no mention of dessert. Robert Robert’s The House Servant’s Directory (1827) clearly aimed higher up the social scale. His dessert is served very much in the French manner: following two courses (served à la française) and a cheese course, the table is completely cleared before resetting for a sweet course of cake or possibly ice cream or blancmange. See blancmange and cake.