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What do you do when someone you’ve loved dearly suddenly turns on you and tries to hurt you? Yes, I’m talking about sugar.
Sugar cookies, cinnamon sugar. Dipped in sugar. The memories are warm and oh, so sweet. I see visions of Grandma and cookie cutters and big, shiny pies.
Now we’re told that sugar is not only not good for teeth or waistlines, it’s also addicting and damaging. Horrors! Sugar, how could you!
And here come the holidays, based on—you guessed it—sugar. “Hi, here’s a lovely tin of carrot sticks I made as a special gift for you.” Hmm. What a difficult trade.
Those who are addicted will not be able to have just a little sugar. Those who had forsaken sugar for sugar substitutes may crave even more sweetness than those who said, “Oh, the heck with it. Pass the sugar.” Artificial sweeteners are too sweet. (I always thought they tasted artificial, but I’m a purist.)
The only hope I can lend is that many recipes actually taste better without so MUCH sugar. For example, I cut the sugar requirement in my pumpkin pie recipe down to a third of a cup and raised the cinnamon a bit, and people rave about my pie. Why? You can taste the pumpkin! We’ve become so seduced by sugar that we forgot the ingredients we were sweetening are actually tasty. You may have to taste less or unsweetened more than once before the flavor grows on you, but if the gloom-peddlers are right, the effort is worthwhile. And after a while, dishes that are too, too sweet aren’t treats any longer. They’re kind of sickening.
Go ahead. Try cutting the sugar way, way down. Is there another flavor that would make you forget your first love? Maybe cinnamon or allspice or nutmeg? How about adding nuts? How about dates or raisins or currants? The goal is deliciousness, and you don’t have to watch the shows where chefs are forced to make dinner with marshmallow paste and anchovies to know there’s more than one way to work a recipe.