Sugar, Sugar

sugar 0120

I have an announcement, all you doubting Sam-I-ams: I don’t know about green eggs and ham, but I do like petit fours. I do like them. I haven’t tried them with a fox, although they came in a box.

Yes, Lynn took pity on me, or tired of my whining, or something. Not enough pity to make them from scratch, but enough that she ordered a box of snickerdoodle-flavored petit fours from Swiss Colony.

The first thing I discovered, upon opening my box of tiny deliciousness, is something I already intellectualized but didn’t give real-life platform to: all these companies photograph their wares in a way that makes everything look larger than life. Petit fours, which I’m going to take the internet’s word for it is French for “small oven,” are very small indeed. About quarter-sized in width, and if you stand the quarter on end, probably height as well. Maybe a little taller, to fit in all those layers.

As we discussed at breakfast on Sunday, when people were trying to justify how many of Lynn’s mini-muffins they were popping into their mouths, “cute” food ought to have a higher ratio of consumption than ordinary-sized food. (Lynn stood alone in her assertion that she would rather have a regular-sized muffin.)

But that was the second thing I discovered about petit fours: for all their tiny size, they pack a wallop in the sugar department.

Once upon a time, way back during the spring of my freshman year at Gunnison High School, I was on a bus headed out of town to a track meet. As we motored past the cemetery, about three miles east of town, at 6 a.m., I decided I was hungry and rummaged through my lunch bag to see what might appeal.

I settled on my Twinkie, which was probably supposed to be my lunchtime dessert, but I was hungry right then. My track coach, one seat in front of me on the bus, turned around and saw me stuffing a Twinkie into my mouth. “Garbage Gut!” he hollered, and that appellation followed me through high school, even though I didn’t compete in track after that freshman year.

Sadly, the days when I could eat a Twinkie as a post-breakfast snack are long gone. Even sadder, a baker arrived in my life after I cut way down on my sugar consumption. So instead of eating a literal half of a 9 x 13 cake, I now have to limit myself to one piece — and even that pushes my daily sugar allowance.

As do petit fours. I can have two. Not four(s). Two of the smallest, cutest food available. ‘Tis a cruel, cruel world.

Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like I’ve had dessert, especially if Na Ki’o and Oz are on hand to help me eat it. And Na Ki’o and Oz are always on hand where dessert is concerned.

So while I am liking my petit fours, I just put half the box in the freezer so they don’t get too stale. Or, as Lynn put it, “more stale than they already are.” (I haven’t actually noticed this yet; perhaps they are packed with preservatives.)

But this does bring me to my third observation, which is not very kind to petit fours: they taste a lot like Little Debbie snack cakes, which are much bigger at about the same sugar content — and far less expensive. The frosting seems exactly the same.

But I don’t eat Little Debbies anymore, or Twinkies for that matter, because the sugar cost is too high. Which brings me to the real problem of the holidays: way too much sugar, and not enough allowance to consume it.

If we go back to my high school, or even college, years, I was a master champion consumer of sugar. Garbage Gut, remember? But somewhere in my 20s I started having a lot of digestive issues, and lost weight I didn’t have to lose.

[In the “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” vein, I gobbled candy bar after cookie after cake, and still graduated college weighing about 120 pounds.]

Elimination diets didn’t work, until I cut way back on the sugar. Then, with some assistance from supplements, I not only stabilized my weight but added 40 pounds. “Garbage Gut” was relegated to the past.

This has not stopped me from coveting sweets, nor from people offering them to me. Fortunately, saying “no” to chocolate is now easy, which cuts way down on the options out there, but we have a pantry full of sugar in candy form, some of it years old, that I feel like I might eat, slowly, one piece at a time, any ol’ day now.

And here is what it has come to: yesterday Lynn, who was in a baking mood, wanted to know if I needed cookies. And I said no. I said no! I thought I should clear out some of the holiday sugar backlog first (my week’s worth of petit fours, for instance), but what, exactly, was I thinking? No! What has become of me?

My track coach would be so disappointed. I don’t know what Sam-I-Am would think; after all, his point mostly seemed to be that you should try things. And not just believe everyone who says they love you but deny you the exquisite deliciousness of snickerdoodle petit fours.



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