On the 4th of January, I started an 8-week program designed to reduce and then eliminate all sugar from life … no refined sugar, honey, maple syrup as a first step and then no sweetness of any kind including fruit as the next …
“I Quit Sugar” …
… which, on typing the title strikes me as grammatical insouciance verging on disrespect … … tangent …
My day-to-day contains very little sugar – I’ve done IQS before and the overarching habits stuck.
But I am super conscious of how I feel in the skin into which I was born as well as that in which I choose to clothe myself. I am also highly aware of my tendency to snack more than I should, to eat less than I should and do both more irregularly that I care to …
… and to overthink all of the above.
A 2-month food routine offered a solution that solved all of the above with brain computation optional.
Breakfast – particularised : Lunch – last night’s dinner : Dinner – detailed.
… unless there is office-requested baking to be done.
Margaret Fulton’s (fail safe) Sour Cream Chocolate cake.
Rich, but not too. Light, but not too. Sweet, but not too.
It was 8pm when the chocolate was melted with a stream of still-steaming water, 8pm when the scent of cacao first wafted into my (super sensitive) olfactory system, 8pm when I was acutely aware of the richness offered by a cocoa, fat, sugar emulsion.
10 minutes later, the KitchenAid was creaming butter with sugar and I realised how much I craved sweetness – not just the taste, but sweetness in life … hugs and kisses and spontaneous laughter; swings in parks and spatula licking.
Spatula-licking gives such satisfaction – such joy. Feeling the still-crystallised sugar on tongue-tip and tasting the creamy, light-as-air sweetness of the whipped beginnings of a cake.
There is something deliciously illicit about the action …
… and the smell and imagined taste enticed my brain like mythical nymphs of the classics.
But I didn’t. No sugar. None. Not a crystal.
The stoic addition of three yolks. The stiff beating of an equal number of whites.
Shoulders tense. Stress rising. Concentration wavering.
I added melted chocolate in a steady stream. Again, the spatula, hugging the sides of the bowl, the final droplets submitting to gravity.
Rising desire … caving to distraction of Kombucha fizz. Skolled.
I added flour … and mixed in the two thirds of sour cream. I folded in the air of egg white and created the perfectly toned batter.
There was little love but an all-consuming desire to taste; to leave an index-finger strip across the mixture. There was little care, but a need to finish before the desire was consummated.
The pillowy-plop of batter dropping onto tin, and the resolute mind of the batter-dropper.
And those last streaks of batter in bowl. The ones crying for a finger to capture or tongue to lick. The ones that I would hope that my Mother would leave; the ones that my grandmother did leave.
The chocolate batter of childhood – made in family kitchens, with shared understandings, complicit spatula sneaking and bowl licking. The innocent joys …
And the chocolate batter of adulthood – made in the quiet, with self-imposed rules, calories. The ‘shoulds’ ruling the ‘wants’.
There is no joy in not licking.