Field Follies: A Tasty Experience

Field Follies

A Tasty Experience

BY ANDREW BRISCHKE

The conclusion of the AZSRM Summer General Membership meeting was one of the highlights of the AZSRM Summer Meeting for me. Sure, the dessert served at the end was the main reason for this, but not for the reason you may suspect . . . 

Each member that stuck it out in the rain until the end was treated to a slice of pecan pie. I didn’t even have any (honestly!). It wasn’t because there wasn’t enough; there was plenty. It wasn’t because it wasn’t any good; from all reports it was delectable. It wasn’t even because I was too full; I can always hammer down some more food. The pecan pie was a highlight of the summer meeting for me because it brought back one of the best memories and desserts I’ve ever had in my life. It was the dessert that effectively forced me into retirement from eating dessert. It would be like getting a hole-in-one and then immediately throwing my clubs into a lake. It wouldn’t get any better than that. Absolute perfection.

Now I can’t really fault people for taking one look at me and reaching the conclusion that I have enjoyed a few too many desserts in my time. In full disclosure, before I retired I only ate a few desserts: ice cream, pumpkin pie, strawberry/rhubarb pie, and cheesecake. Worse than that, I only enjoyed these select desserts when other people made or brought them. But this last dessert forced an insurmountable chasm between it and all other desserts that I didn’t have a choice other than retirement.

We had just finished lunch at NRCWAY (Natural Resource Conservation Workshop for Arizona Youth) and were waiting for registration to begin. A staff member walked in to the dining hall holding a travel pie carrier. He said that he had brought some leftover dessert for us to try that he had just made. To be fair, I was hesitant at first. He had a low percentage of hitting my dessert sweet spot. But then he opened up the case to reveal a cheesecake. Not any old, typical cheesecake: a raspberry/rhubarb cheesecake. I’m a sucker for anything raspberry and rhubarb – and to combine it with cheesecake?! My excitement was growing. The ball had just landed on the green and it was rolling toward the hole. Then, I took my first bite . . . 

The Big Bang just went off in my mouth. Worlds collided. My knees buckled. And I was sitting down. I wept. Really, I did. Openly, in front of the entire NRCWAY staff. I wasn’t prepared for this explosion of delight. It took the rest of the NRCWAY staff a while to notice my tears. (I can only speculate they were experiencing the same feelings.) Soon they started to laugh at me. This made me laugh-while crying. I didn’t know these emotions were possible. But there I was in a heap of tears and laughter all from a dessert. From the perfect dessert. I had tasted my hole-in-one, and I retired.

Originally found in the Society for Range Management: Arizona Section Newsletter, September 2014 issue. Reprinted with permission.