sugar sugar oh honey honey

Dietary/nutritional helper courtesy of this weekend’s Beach Reading, the September 2010 issue of Real Simple magazine: your guide to sweeteners.  Thanks to some dental drama and a botched root canal and ensuing infection/abscess a few years back, I was forced “off” of sugary anything for quite a long time (it was too painful to consume anyway) and honestly, re-entering Sugar World was just not appealing afterwards.  At this point, I still prefer to enjoy delectable fruity or dark chocolatey concoctions more than the sticky caramel wonders I used to crave.

Sugar in the Raw is my personal choice at home for coffee and making simple syrup for cocktails, iced coffee, fresh lemonade, etc.  I can also report that agave liquid (definitely available at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and possibly your usual large supermarket) is indeed quite tasty.  Honey–not on this Real Simple list–is always a favorite, particularly if you can score some locally–made from your farmer’s market.  Consuming that liquid gold from your local bee buddies is supposedly the best anti-allergy medicine around.  Also, we are approaching Rosh Hashanah, which means HONEY CAKE. Recipe forthcoming, because I am all about shamelessly appropriating the food of any and every religious celebration, although (full disclosure) I cannot make a decent kugel or latke to save my sorry shiksa life.

Where was I?  Right. Sweeteners.  Do you pay particular attention, or not, to them?  How much control do you feel you have over your sweets consumption?  Can we all just agree that high fructose corn syrup is the work of the devil, and proceed from there?  I think that’s one matter we might just be able to (inter)nationally concur upon.  Well, unless we’re in the corn lobby.

On the other hand, as healthily-minded as I try to be in eating and cooking, there is a reason our tongue is only capable of tasting certain types of flavors and SWEET is among them.  It is probably the one taste whose sole purpose is enjoyment in the now, not to entice us to fuel our regular days or provide a bitter green counterpoint to some creamy, savory, protein-rich beans.  Stop, sugar says, and then does a big Oprah-esque, “HELLLO!!!!! SUGAR IS HEEEEEE-REEEE!!”

We just need to find a way to keep this life of the party entertaining and “up”, not that guest who shows up at your house already overserved and proceeds to hug your walls thinking they love your house and want to meet that friendly Casper living inside.  Sugar needs to be light, just so, still loved for the colorful powerhouse it is, but not allowed to run amok and ruin your night.

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