Lora Abernathy: Don’t judge, just pass the sugar

My love for red meat is rivaled only by my passion for sweets.

After eating a slice of homemade cake in the break room, a co-worker walking past my office asked if I had any and if I liked it.

“Does it have sugar in it?” I asked.

“Yes,” she answered, her tone quizzical.

“Then, yes!” I exclaimed, doing my best to impersonate Buddy’s enthusiasm for maple syrup in the film, “Elf.”

My love for sugar began very early in life, going back to kindergarten. My end-of-school treat was a tiny bowl of brown sugar. Mom told me years later there was a brown-sugar-is-healthy-for-kids phase back in the 1980s.

As my obsession with sweets continued as a growing kid, my parents could always tell if I’d run out of my allowance for the week by glancing at the large volume of colorful Nerds, Skittles, Fun-Dip or Jawbreakers wrappers and boxes piling in the trash.

My sweet tooth graduated to adult level when I started working my summer job at the West Virginia Division of Highways in college: I used sugar in my new coffee-drinking habit. I would pour so much sugar into the coffee, you could watch the level rise like a creek during a flood.

Many years later, nothing has changed. I still consume candy as if I had an 8-year-old’s metabolism. A friend recently gave me several bags of jelly beans that had been left over from an event he organized. He thought I was joking when I informed him that I would put away at least one 20-ounce bag by the end of the day. I wasn’t. I did.

On the rare occasions there are no sugary treats in the house, sometimes I pretend I’m 5 again and head straight for that tiny bowl of brown sugar. The way I see it, I’m just matching what any candy I would consume would do for me anyway.

With the holiday season upon us, I become an obnoxious Christmas party guest; not because I say all the wrong things or wear the wrong clothes, but because I barely leave any cookies, cakes or pies for my fellow party-goers.

I start out with good intentions of “just having one,” but that resolve disappears as soon as my brain starts registering delicious.

Food fads come and go, along with warnings and advisories. In fact, in late October, it was announced that red meat could cause cancer. Ten years from now, it will probably be shown to help reduce cancer. Either way, I’m staying true to my love of both. Please pass the sugar.

Salt Magazine