Below is an excerpt from a column that appeared on It’s a Southern Thing (SouthernThing.com). To go directly to the full column, click here.
Not long ago, I mentioned the word “trifle” in a column. As in, the dessert kind of trifle. I don’t get to have it often but it is definitely a favorite of mine. A reader, however, had never heard of it. He wrote: “I’ve never heard of trifle as a food, only as something of no value. Maybe that is why the food is named that.”
But no. Trifle is not trifling. Trifle is actually a Really Big Deal. It’s like putting every dessert you ever loved in your mouth at one time. It is also a beautiful, layered dessert that is as suitable for the most elegant luncheons as for a church potluck. Every Southern kitchen should have a trifle serving dish, stored right beside the deviled egg platter.
A trifle dish is typically bowl-shaped with a pedestal and it should be clear so people can see the colorful layers of fruit, cake and pudding – and then drool until the blessing is over.
Most of us know “trifle” can mean an object of little value, like a doodad or geegaw, or to treat someone without seriousness or respect (ie. Don’t trifle with Aunt Ella Dean. She’ll jerk a knot in your tail). To go directly to the full column, click here.