Wise Women Friday: Ernestine Ulster

Can I have a Piece of Chocolate Cake !Image by tassiesim via Flickr

Words of Wisdom from Ernestine Ulster:

Eat dessert first. Life is uncertain.

Confession: I have no idea who Ernestine Ulster is or was. I googled her and got nothing. However, she is credited with this well known saying, which my friend Margaret Vandevert used to say every night as we lined up in our college dining hall. Knowing my way around the dessert cart as well as I do, I embraced it immediately and made it my own.

I like all your basic dessert-food groups: ice cream, pie, cookies, fudge, cake. I prefer homemade (my mom is a great baker and I'm no so bad myself), but in a pinch I will go for some good quality store bought. I am one of those bad, bad people who associate food with comfort. It's wrong of me, I know. It leads me to bad choices, I know. But in my heart of hearts, I do believe that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

I have several rules about dessert. I will share them with you now.

1. Whenever possible, dessert should include at least a passing nod to chocolate.
2. It is appropriate to sample your husband's dessert. He does not need to like this.
3. Never, ever, ever, ever eat dessert that has been claimed by someone else. It doesn't matter if that piece of cake has been sitting in the refrigerator for a week; if it belongs to someone else, you must act as if it doesn't exist.

That being said, I hope you'll read my latest short (and I mean short) story at the flash fiction site Rose City Sisters. It just went up today and is called "Sweet Revenge." Let me know what you think, and let me know if you have any dessert rules that you think are worth fighting for.
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Desiree said...

Oh my. What an appropriate juxtaposition.

Lynne said...

I laughed so hard when I read your story! But, I have to disagree with rule number one. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, it gets all the attention. It's like the Marcia Brady of desserts. I like it, but if I have to choose, it's all about vanilla!

Shell Sherree said...

Oh Margaret ~ where do I start? With chocolate cake, of course! I love Ernestine's philosophy and I concur with your dessert rules. After all, anything that tastes nearly as good before baking as after must be beneficial. As for your story, this caused me to fan myself somewhat: "One might even say that the sweetness rested on the tongue like a kiss, with just the smallest, slightest, most subtly delicious salty aftertaste." I'll never look at icing {our equivalent of your 'frosting'} the same way again... wonderful, Margaret!

Vanda said...

I love your story, especially the food porn part.

Dessert has a special place in my heart and stomach too.

Leks said...

Hi,just a greeting and to bring it to your atention,I think your older post coments are loaded with spam so....good luck!

Cafe Pasadena said...

I googled Ernestine as well but I did get something! It referred me to a Marg Finnegan. So, she's the source of all this.

MamaJosephine said...

Your story made me laugh so hard I woke up my husband! And now I want chocolate cake. The only cake in the house is an Ice-Cream cake that is supposed to be for my 6 year old's birthday party.....

... daisy... said...

ahahahahahahhaahahahahahah... I am still laughing! Great story!!! ahahahaha...
Dessert? My very favourite is the Austrian "Sacher Torte". I do not have a "rule" for desserts as I eat them full stop! :-D
Ms Ulster was a very wise woman indeed!
Have a splendid weekend! :-)

Italo said...


Choices said...

Good thought! Eat desert first? Why not eat if just for a meal and skip the rest?

altadenahiker said...

Per yahoo:
Well, her name is Ernestine Ulmer, but she only said one other thing in life (apparently): It begins when you sink in his arms; it ends with your arms in his sink.

No wonder she's remembered for the one you quoted.

Your story was Su-weet!

pasadenaadjacent said...

I like deserts that fall into the red category. Strawberry, cherry, watermelon.

If I had a hamster, I would name her Ernestine.

Margaret said...

Dez: You know, I hadn't really thought about it but it is an appropriate juxtaposition.

Lynne: That's a brilliant simile. Leave it to a middle child to think of it. Too funny.

Shell: Thank you very much.

Vanda: Thank you very much.

Leks: Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to figure out how to deal with that.

CP: AH and Jean figured it out for me. Somehow I got her name wrong. I'm so embarrassed.

MamaJ: Remember rule number three!

Daisy: Maybe you're right. Maybe no rules is better.

Italo: Thanks.

AH: Thanks for the clarification. Jean emailed me and told me that too. So I've googled her again. Now I know that she was born in 1925, but I still wish I knew more. She sounds pretty sassy.

PA: You are breaking my heart. Those are fruits, and in my sad little life fruits never count as dessert.

Laila Of Course! said...

Aww, thanks for your sweet comment!! Ahaha, I do need to try non-diapery pants. Hopefully sometime soon.

And I LOVED this story. love love it.

pasadenaadjacent said...

No no no no

I was thinking more on the line of Hostess "Snowballs", Good Humor "Strawberry Short Cake" and Jolly Rancher "Water Melon Sticks"

My palate is no more sophisticated then a ten year olds

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Poor Bob, eating worms into eternity........... :). Yummy looking cake. The Finnegan name is part of my family ancestry, I refer to them as the Fighting Finnegans :).

kanmuri said...

Love those three rules :) My husband used not to like sweet things (most Japanese men don't) so it was easy to steal his share. However, ever since he's come back from his bilateral training with the american army (on an american base in Japan)he loves sweets. It's harder to steal...

gaelikaa said...

There's a goddess in India whose season is coming up really soon and I love this one because we get to eat some really great desserts at that time lol - I'll divulge more nearer the appropriate date.