Sweets to the Sweet

August 2nd, 2010

First of all, I have to mention that my paternal grandmother used to say that–“Sweets to the sweet”–whenever she offered me or my siblings candy, and I still remember how amused and horrified I was when my older sister (an English major) told me that when the queen says it in Hamlet, she’s scattering flowers on Ophelia’s GRAVE.  So maybe it’s not the best thing to say when you’re handing out peppermints.

But that’s not the point here.  The point here is that I’ve been thinking and I’ve decided that females crave sugar more than men do.  I’m not a scientist.  Or an anthropologist.  Or a dietician.  I’m just a keen observer of human nature.  Well, not all that keen.  Really not keen at all.  More of a lazy glancer.

Still, basing my conclusions on an admittedly fairly small sample size of two families (the one I grew up in and the one I grew big with), I’d have to say I’m one hundred percent right about this.  Girls want dessert all the time.  Boys can take or leave it.

I grew up in a family with three other girls and one boy.  The four sisters couldn’t get through the day without thinking about brownies.  Basically, those thoughts could be boiled down to: “Do we have any brownies left in the house and, if not, could we bake some?”  They didn’t have to be brownies, of course.  I’m using the word “brownie” as shorthand for “any sweet thing that has lots of chocolate in it.”  Chocolate chip cookies count.  So do these things called fudgie-oatmeal squares that were fudgie and had oatmeal in them.  If I want to conjure up the image of two of my sisters during their teen years, I instantly picture them in our kitchen, bending over an 8 inch square pan, pushing the layers of the fudgie-oatmeal squares into place with their fingers.

If your first thought on looking at this is, "I have to go into the kitchen and bake a batch of brownies," I'm guessing you have two X chromosomes.

My brother meanwhile was happy to eat dessert but he could skip it without regret, an attitude that has always made me want to kill him since his waistline has basically hovered between 28 and 29 inches for his entire adult life.  He did admit once that he had put on a couple of pounds so he cut out junk food and lost the weight within the week.  (See, don’t you want to kill him, too?)  He never bothered to learn to bake.  He didn’t need to.  His sisters were a never-ending source of dessert and when he stopped living with us, he simply stopped eating brownies.  His life was fine without sugar.

Okay, so that’s one family.  I myself have three boys and one girl.  Guess who is on an never-ending campaign to increase the ratio of sugar to any other substance in her diet?  (Oops–that “her” was a give-away, wasn’t it?)

My daughter sees the main course as basically a negotiating chip: “I ate all the lasagna you put on my plate AND some salad, so can I have a sour punch straw, a brownie, and a scotchmallow for dessert?”   And she’s become the brownie-baker of the family, ready to whip up a batch when the need is too great to resist.

My older boys have learned to cook, too: one makes quesadillas, grilled cheese, and nachos (he clearly has a grease and cheese craving) and the other makes elaborate gourmet meals for himself.  Neither of them bakes.  BECAUSE THEY DON’T CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT DESSERT.

And in case that isn’t proof enough, we recently had another female join our household, my 22 year old niece.  The other night she looked around the kitchen, sighed, and said, “We need brownies.”

I rest my case.

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