FoCo Joe: Six Sweet Starts to Any Meal

By Joseph Kind, The Dartmouth Staff | 2/21/14 6:00am

This week, FoCo placed these tasty chocolate bites on a table right in the middle of the dining area and I thought “Wow! What an interesting idea!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ambled over to the dessert section and wanted a small bite of something that looked good, but didn’t get anything because of a big dinner, a lazy day or some combination of hesitance or uneasiness. Then again there are also plenty of instances where I walk into FoCo and realize that I’m not actually all that hungry – my stomach just isn’t jumping up and down for anything substantial. For times like those, I’ve found that making a quick fix dessert to start with can do just the trick.

Go ahead and try a little something special for those days when dessert is meant to come both first and last.

1) Jell-O may be a simple idea, but it is a logical one. It has almost no calories, and I definitely do not feel full after eating it. It can also be a good starter to split with a friend or two over a cup of tea.

2) Fruit is another simple yet powerful idea – it is sweet, healthy and filling! Usually many of my friends and I turn to the fruit section at the end of a meal. As a starter, however, pairing fruit with yogurt won’t ruin the rest of your meal and will also leave your stomach wanting more.

3) Some might consider a chocolate cookie to be an aggressive start to the meal, but sometimes you gotta mix it up and surprise your taste buds! Centering your meal on dessert can also be a good way to narrow down your preferences, a la backward induction (thanks, Economics!) – it has potential to lead to the most proper equilibrium. If a whole cookie is too much, simply cut one in half!

4) A DIY chocolate chip peanut butter cookie is a real kickstarter to any meal. Just garnish half a warm chocolate chip cookie with a large dollop of peanut butter.

5) A soft serve root beer float can be a light dessert if the proportions are kept moderate, and can really brighten up your meal when eaten first! Easy to make and even easier to eat, soft serve with root beer (or any carbonated beverage, really) can prepare your stomach for new food, clear the airways and start the meal with a bang — or a burp.

6) While cereal is not necessarily a dessert, it can certainly be a sweeter start to your meal. Exercise portion control and eat it out of a cup for best results. Cereal and granola are also both easy to spruce up with spreads, fruit or toppings from the ice cream bar. Cereal with chocolate milk never hurt, did it?

Joseph Kind, The Dartmouth Staff