We had a morning ritual when I was growing up. I would get up and make coffee for my mom on the stovetop. Although Café con Leche (coffee with milk)is extremely popular in Puerto Rican households, my mom would drink her first morning cup of coffee black. I never understood how she could do that. My stomach does not allow me to do that. However, she was practicing some odd form of harm reduction in that what she really desired was her Little Debbie Donut cake or her honeybun. Coffee was her need. If she didn’t have a cup of coffee by 9am she would experience a major headache. Coffee opened up her veins. Sugar gave her happiness.
When I put together a group of foods together for her celestial birthday celebration, the majority of the foods are sweets. Her fondness for sweets definitely passed down to both my sister and I. we both could just sit down with a bowl of candy and experience a sense of happiness. Every time I pass little Debbie cakes in the supermarket aisle I get wistful. I have a long sweet conflicted history with sugar.
While my mother loved cakes, buns and pies, I was more of a straight up candy girl. I loved Now and Laters. I loved lemonheads and grape heads. I loved hard candies and soft candies alike. Although, I did get a massive sugar rush from biting into hard candy. As I grew older my sugar fixation became slightly more sophisticated. I became fixated with bread pudding. In Puerto Rican cuisine there is a longstanding bread pudding tradition. However, I it is a bit thick and dry. I became obsessed with moist, bourbon soaked bread pudding. The best bread pudding I ever had was at this beautiful water side restaurant in Capitola by the Sea in California. Bread pudding with a grand sauce is the nectar of the gods. Every restaurant in the sauce tempts me with bread pudding gooeyness and joy. At some point with my continued deep south business trips, I developed a keen appreciation for great key lime pie. Such pie reminded me of my youthful candy fixation. Oddly, I have yet to travel to the Florida Keys despite all my jaunts down to Florida.
When I became pregnant, I stopped eating candy cold turkey. I stopped all sweets. I knew that Hispanic women have higher rates of gestational diabetes. I was nauseous day in and day out. I didn’t want to get diabetes either. Furthermore, as I am a very superstitious Puerto Rican with deep-seated folkloric beliefs, I stopped eating sweets because I wanted a boy. And a son I got! A few days after I gave birth, I enjoyed a nice Coke Zero and ate a piece of pie. That was the start of a new sugar round obsession where I even wrote an ode to cherry heads.
Oddly, my son does not like sweets very much and that worried me. His pre-kindergarten teacher pulled me aside to alert me to the fact that he didn’t like cupcakes. Apparently, that became an issue at the school birthday parties of his friends. His lack of cupcake fondness caused him to just lick a cupcake and then put it back on the tray. I guess I need to work on his cupcake manners. I have since tried to get him to like different sweets. He does not care for pie. He does not care for cake. He does not care for brownies. Yet we readily bake sweets together. He likes making them. He makes them for me with love. Can I say there is nothing sweeter than baby brownie love? He attends a cooking class after school and his creations are adorable although inedible. He is after all only still five years old.
I am currently working on decreasing my sugar and carb consumption. I am healthy. I want to remain healthy or at least grow older with less complications. I will not lie. I still like sugar and still treat myself to an occasional crème brulee or oreo cookie. Further, I do enjoy a good girlie cocktail on the road. Here is to my wonderful cucumber lavender Mojito I got to enjoy in St Louis and here is to my mom’s honey buns. Sugar it up in the grand old sky!
Inspired by the daily prompt of: pour some sugar on me.
365 Days of thank you