I awoke on day one of Amanda’s Weekend Alone to find there was no sugar in the house.
This wasn’t a surprise – we’d run out two days before, and Nina Simone’s “I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl” has been on a constant loop in my head ever since. On the first morning we ran out, I put honey along with the usual milk into our tea, which seemed to give me the shits. The following morning I used brown sugar, which was a bit better. But let’s face it: nothing beats plain old sugar. (In my case this means organic evaporated cane juice, but you get the idea).
I recently had a conversation with a woman who has had to make dramatic changes to her diet for health reasons. As she was listing off all of the things she’d had to give up, I thought about whether I would be able to release certain things from my dietary repertoire – things like gluten (I love bread!), dairy (I love cheese! And butter!), and sugar.
Meh, I thought. Sugar wouldn’t be a big deal.
I’ve never had a sweet tooth. Well, except when I was pregnant. While carrying my son I had a strawberry milkshake from Center Street Deli as often as I possibly could. When my daughter was in there, I’d eat those small Dove chocolates out of the bag like they were popcorn. Under normal circumstances however, only occasionally, and if all of the hormonal stars are aligned and I’m just about to start or finish my period, I’ll maybe want a bite sized Snickers.
I can do without the donuts, the cupcakes, the ice cream. Halloween and Easter candy sits on the highest shelf in my pantry until it is eventually forgotten, then thrown away upon later discovery. Give me a bag of tortilla chips and a bowl full of salsa, though, and step back. Toast with butter is my BFF. And Do.No. Touch. My. Salt. Shaker.
Morning tea is a very important part of my day. The first thing I do upon rolling out of bed is put on the kettle, then go about the business of waking children, frying eggs, and washing dishes. Among all of this I get out two good sized mugs, carry them over to the wood-topped rolling cart by the stove, tap a teaspoon of sugar into them, add some milk, a bag of tea each, and finally, boiling hot water.
What will I do with no sugar? my mind asked, trying to stay calm. I wrote it on the grocery list, above bread, eggs, butter and milk. I remembered the conversation with a friend about all she’d had to give up, how hard it had been, but how great she now felt. Maybe I can take this as an opportunity to give up sugar, I thought. I felt a linen-weight kerchief of calm settle over me at the thought of being less dependent on something so coveted by so many.
Then I snapped out of it.
I went to the store. And with my toast with butter, I enjoyed my cup of tea.