Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Infantilization of our Taste Buds

There's a lot I like about my employer, but its contributions to America's declining health ought to be scuttled. An email arrived at work calling for dessert and holiday treat recipes for the company magazine's December issue. I replied that I'd like to submit instructions for an appetizer tray sans sugary treats. "There are folks who need to limit their sugar intake, as well as those of us who'd rather avoid the stomach aches, blood sugar crashes and holiday weight gain." The marketing director liked the idea and wants to get approval for it. Today, a recipe for pate; tomorrow, how to properly roast a turkey. Someday, mince meat pie might involve meat again.

Why not submit a recipe for a low-carb dessert instead of pushing for savory appetizers? Maybe my sinus infection has changed my taste for the better. Between the sweet Umcka tablets for congestion, the elderberry syrup, and honey for my throat, I'd almost rather put up with my symptoms than gag down one more spoonful of sugar. And while I know there are mature, responsible people who love sweets (my father for one), for whatever reason, starchy, sugary treats suddenly strike me as food for slumber parties and Halloween, not dinner for a grown-up lady. I don't want to think about sweets long enough to copy a  recipe for one.

Besides, is there anything holiday-like about sweets and treats anymore? At work, there are two bowls of candy at the front desk. There's a cupboard full of pretzels, crackers, chips and sweets, popsicles in the freezer, a soda fountain, birthday cake every month, enough bananas to feed a barn full of bonobos and apples enough for a herd of appaloosas. And I hear that American schools feed their students junk food all day long. Is there any hour of any day anymore that isn't time for sweets? A tray of pate, sashimi, olives, dip, deviled eggs, vegetables and artisanal cheeses would be a treat of real food and a break from a steady diet of flour and sugar.

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