As a 7-year-old, I decided on my own definition of “sophistication.” It meant high heels, gently flowing dresses, and slightly pursed lips painted pink or red. I’d sneak Mom’s fancy shoes out of the closet, smear on a bit of lipstick, and pull out her old tangerine bridesmaid dress from my toy chest to stumble around my bedroom with my head held high. I wanted to play dress-up like that every day!
When we went to Hawaii later that spring, my grandma told me they would treat us to a sophisticated lunch at the Princeville Hotel. She was referring to the white cloth napkins, thin-stemmed water glasses, and highly priced entrées, but I didn’t care about any of that. I needed to look sophisticated!
Since we spent the morning snorkeling and splashing in the waves at the adjacent beach, Mom allowed me very little time to primp and preen in the hotel restroom. I spilled sand all over the floor as I wriggled out of my swimsuit and pulled a floral dress over my head. I strapped on my clear jellie heels (remember when those were popular back in the ’90s?) but had to leave off the lipstick. I didn’t realize I needed to sneak some while packing my suitcase!
I finally emerged and walked across the lobby to my impatient family with my toes pointing outward because, well, that’s what sophisticated ladies did! At the restaurant, I ordered my first Shirley Temple—a fancy girl’s drink—and wolfed down a grilled cheese sandwich with french fries. Despite my parents’ polite nibbles of their fresh fish fillets, my hungry stomach clearly won the battle against sophistication then!
These pear and caramel bread puddings are very sophisticated, completely unlike my 7-year-old self! The sweet caramel drizzle perfectly compliments the juicy pieces of pear hiding inside each ramekin, and the soft texture ties everything together in one beautiful bite. They look elegant enough for a dinner party—or even our fancy lunch at the Princeville Hotel—so it can stay as our little secret just how simple they are to make!