Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sugar Is My Frenemy?

"Hello, my friend, Sugar," I said out loud as I opened the box of delights from Social Bakehouse Cafe formerly Celebrity Cafe. My husband just laughed at me. We got 5 cupcakes, 3 petit fours, 1 sun-shaped sugar cookie, and 1 chocolate chip cookie.  (Thank you Groupon for the 1/2 price offer because I would never buy that much at full price.)  We got the treats to celebrate my son's 16th birthday. He gets his big chocolate cake later when we celebrate with the rest of the family members. The cream cheese petit fours are the best. The cream cheese does not add a flavor but actually makes the cake more moist and melty. (Yes, I know "melty" is not a word.) Side note on Social Bakehouse: the man in the front house is pretentious and acts as if he's bored to death. Don't let him deter you from trying the petit fours.

I love, love sugary confections!! I get excited looking at the beautiful and delicate creations whether on TV or through display cases. I even take pictures of desserts because they are like tiny pieces of art. Desserts are to be admired and appreciated and most importantly...they are to be eaten.

I've been in a relationship with sugar since I was a toddler. Before I was 3 years I remember chewing on sugar cane that grew in our backyard in the Philippines and eating condensed milk out of the can. I was hardcore. In 3rd grade I was already pouring through Better Homes and Garden looking for cookie recipes and bringing my sweets to school for extra credit. (Yes, there once was a time when this was possible.) When my older sister went to work swirling cotton candy onto cones I remember being jealous of her. Never mind that she was working outside in 100 degree weather. In my teens I worked at a sandwich shoppe and The Cookie Company and eventually became a cake decorator for about 3 years at a grocery store. I had to quit decorating because I developed carpal tunnel. Therefore I went to work in an office believing that my wrists were safer in that environment, but typing didn't do any wonders for my wrists either.

At the age of 23 my relationship with sugar took a turn because my metabolism fell like a landslide.  My dear friend that I had leaned on throughout the years had become my enemy. Sugar decided it wanted to stick with me...literally. It decided my hips and thighs were a good place to stay and solidified back into the form of rock candy (think bumpy texture).


From then on I could no longer freely eat sweets and worst yet, just looking at them made me gain weight. I was in a predicament. How could I being a natural born baker not make desserts? There is a desire in me that I cannot squelch - I like making delectable goodies and I read cookbooks for pleasure.

It seems I am always in a mental battle with the desire to bake and the desire to be thin again. The battle lines have been drawn. Neither force is weak. A truce does not look like it's on the horizon soon. The solution seems easy. Just bake and not eat. But how can I not taste my own product? You know the saying "never trust a skinny chef." (I guess Giada De Laurentiis is the exception to the rule.) Being healthy is important but my spirit is just as important.

So is sugar my friend or my foe?
There's another saying "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."
I suppose I will try to find a healthy balance between the two.  Wish me luck!

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