And, okay, if you want to form good eating habits in your children, this kind of bribing is exactly what you SHOULD NOT DO. Children shouldn't view dinner as The Chore Part and The Fun Part. It is wrong to use food to bribe children. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
And yet, sometimes I do it. Because my kids, when they've had a busy weekend, and are tired, sometimes need a little nudging along. And serving a delicious dessert— that brings them, sniffing hopefully, into the kitchen before dinner— means that I don't have to nag, particularly as they generally only get dessert on Saturdays or Sundays. And not usually both. I am a tyrannical, whimsical, power-mad dictator when it comes to sweets. It's so much fun.
Anyway. There was some caramel swirl ice cream left over, and once Curly and my boy had biked home from school with one of his buddies, waving to the neighbors (yes, we live in Mayberry, in case you wondered. In the less-mentioned section of it with a fecal-fixated crazy neighbor who calls me a whore, and in which my husband, many years ago, was held up at gunpoint in front of our house), I offered them a healthy snack (which, for my kids, meant they opened their lunchboxes and ate their damn lunches). And then, because it was sunny, and my capricious sugar dictator self was in a good mood because of the sun, I offered them caramel swirl ice cream. Shortly after they finished the ice cream, my boy's buddy said something along the lines of "I wish my dad wouldn't come get me. Does your mom make that ice cream very often?" And the power-mad dictator part of me thought: huh. I can buy votes by serving good desserts. Noted for any future child-bribing needs.
If you're wondering, I made french vanilla ice cream from The Perfect Scoop, and layered it with a storebought caramel sauce. I tried to make my own caramel, but was distracted by the book I was reading (not the cookbook) at that critical point when the caramel moves from perfectly, addictively deep and dark to scorched. I chucked it, washed the pan, and went back to reading at the kitchen counter, because that way, I can convince myself that I am about to scrub industriously, because why else would I be reading at the counter?