For the Week of April 30, 2007

Well it’s that magic time of year again, the Kentucky Derby. I know absolutely nothing about horses, but if you live in Louisville, you have no choice but to join the party. That means plenty of local buffet table specialties like Benedictine, pimento cheese sandwiches and bowls of burgoo. Copious mint juleps are obviously a tradition at Derby time (unless you find fresh mint growing in a ditch somewhere, you can’t buy it within 100 miles of here come race day), but straight bourbon, with or without ice, is also acceptable.

Of course what Derby buffet table would be complete without a selection of fussy desserts? And for my money few desserts sit as comfortably at the intersection of “fussy” and “buffet table” as strawberry shortcake. Colorful and inviting (especially when the berries are good…and right now they’re great), it retains its homey elegance in individually plated portions, and makes for a rich yet light follow-up to all that fatty buffet food.

Since it’s Derby, I was thinking that I’d get a little extra fussy with it this year. However I realize that there are lots of strawberry shortcake purists out there. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

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