Recently I was talking to my mom on the phone and she said “How much time do you have left on this thing anyway? Two months?”
And it hit me- she’s right. We’ve been on No Sugar for ten months now… which means we’re, uh… we’re… five-sixths of the way done!
It does make me glad to know we’ve made it this far, and that, despite several dreams I’ve had to the contrary, I haven’t suddenly forgotten the project and ordered a hot fudge sundae, only to suddenly, panic-stricken, remember- gasp! The Project!- half-way through eating it. (Yes, I’ve really had those dreams. Sometimes they’re petit fours. I don’t know why. I’m like, “Petit fours? Really?”) I’m also glad, of course, because some days No Sugar can be a certified pain in the tookas.
Looking back lo those many months ago when we first started out though, I can discern in myself a bit of the wide-eyed zealot, which I think you kind of have to be in order to attempt a project of this magnitude, and truthfully, obnoxiousness. I had some weird degree of fun in finding the sugar where we least expected it… as if to say: look! See? I’m not crazy! They’re the ones that are crazy!?! See! Ha ha! Why are you all looking at me funny?
Nowadays, I know the drill. I know it so well it can be maddening. I could play parlor tricks with my wealth of fructose knowledge. (“Go ahead, check the ingredient list. It’s there. Yeah, I’ll wait.”) We rarely make rookie mistakes anymore, no longer bring home things we haven’t read the teeny-tiny ingredient-print of closely enough. We know which items on the restaurant menus are safe and which are verboten before we even ask. Our lapses aren’t the exciting “Whoops, I had a chocolate eclair!” variety, but rather the mundane items we know better about: my husband Steve looks the other way while I eat a sandwich roll which undoubtedly was made with some minuscule amount of sugar… and I try not to look askance at him while he leaves the bacon pieces on his restaurant salad. Bless me father for I have sinned… I had impure thoughts about my neighbor’s shrimp cocktail sauce.
Nonetheless, it’s been a year since I’ve had a glass of juice. Or a candy bar. We’ve been to cotton-candy-less circuses and cider-doughnut-less days at the apple orchard. Do I still crave these things? Yeah, but it’s different. The loudspeaker demand in my head has shrunken to a wistful sigh. When we visited the orchard and smelled the cider donuts in the air I deeply inhaled the smell, appreciating the sweet, sad, fall-ness of it. It was lovely. Then Steve said, “Let’s get out of here- that’s torture!”
I can still get excited about the project though, just in different ways. Right now I’m trying to replicate the lemon-sesame seed cookies we get at the health food store from GoRaw, (inspired, in part, by the “What-are-these-covered-in-gold-leaf?” price tag.) I love how excited everyone gets in our house when I make No Sugar desserts: the kids jump up and down and yell “cookies!! cookies!! C-O-O-K-I-E-S!”
When the very first batch came out of the oven my six-year-old Ilsa came to grab not one but two, and I asked her “It’s a new recipe- How do you know you’re going to like them?”
She gave me a look that said she’s pretty sure I couldn’t possibly be that stupid.
“They’re cookies, Mom!” she patiently explained.
I felt bad, then, when she had to come back and spit the cookie into the sink.