Dedicated joy: On sugar, cold & cravings

No, I don't mean eating gluten. Abstaining from gluten is an absolute--we needn't mention it again.

I'm talking about sugar.

You may notice the sidebar's admonition cane sugar never. Occasionally I do eat sugar. There are a few things I literally never voluntarily ingest. I never eat hydrogenated oils for example. But generally unnatural oils are in processed foods which I have no craving for or enjoyment in eating.

Sugar is different--it's sugar. It's the cultural proxy for love (see: most terms of affection, Godiva advertisements, Tori Amos, et al) and it's in many foodstuffs I find appealing. Now with the increasing number of gluten-free products on the market it's easier to find sugary treats and to make them at home. Mostly I don't, though. The desire arises in the presence of the sugary things and so I avoid looking at them. I walk past the cases on my way to the real food toward the back of the co-op. I distract myself with full-leaf tea and fancy barley-free miso.

When caught before the gluten-free chocolate sugar-dusted insulin bombs, I have a kind internal voice only heard in grocery stores. Here's what she sounds like: Oh yeah Honey. Sweetie, you want to eat that pretty yummy, don't you? It's okay to want that. Wow that is really really pretty. I wonder how they made that. But, Darling, it's only going to taste good while you're eating it and you're probably going to feel cranky or shaky afterward. It's pretty expensive and it's not going to make you strong, is it? Let's go get some cheese, huh? Or some dark dark dark chocolate. How about pecans? You know you love pecans. C'mon, Baby, just turn around and go get some pecans...Wow! Way to go! Check it out, you are the best. How many pecans are we getting?

I treat my desire like a toddler (remove and distract). That's how I usually operate.

Usually I'm not in Maine.

When I go to Maine though I make a conscious decision and I go to Wildflours in Brunswick where I exalt in front of the counter of delectables. Wildflours is a lovely, dedicated, gluten-free emporium, a destination for the celiacs of Northern New England. People drive for hundreds of miles for their fresh-baked pastries and muffins. The first time I returned to Maine after they opened, I walked into Wildflours and began to weep.

Suddenly I felt the years of grief for every pastry shop and bakery suffusing sugary perfumes into the cobbled streets of Salamanca and Barcelona, for my conviction that I can never go back to Paris & its forbidden pain chocolat, all the intoxicating baked offerings I smiled at and handed to someone else. Finally a place that was mine, filled with fresh delicious sugar love for me, for celiacs. I remember the same depth of emotion when I first entered the enormous glorious Gothic library of my all-women's college: they built this for me, for us! They didn't make it for my father and now they let me come here.

Wildflours' fresh pastries bear none of those infuriating labels made on shared machinery used to make wheat products. I love that the word for true gluten-free bakeries is dedicated. It sounds like devotion and I feel the love--and I eat the sugar.

Friday before last, I procured:

Two blueberry muffins
One cranberry walnut muffin
Two sesame bagels
One Twinkle

A Twinkle is Wildflours' homemade cream-filled gluten-free pastry modeled on, but far far exceeding, the Twinkie. One Twinkle must contain a hundred and fifty grams of sugar. Lightly crunchy on the outside, soft and cream-filled on the inside, I ate it blissfully.

That night, I cut a muffin in half and fried it in butter like my beloved Texan taught me in college.

Saturday morning I toasted a bagel, covered it in butter and melted slabs of Humbolt Fog on it.

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