Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sugar, Sugar

 I'm happy to say that I grew up in the golden age of sugar.

Oh now, despite all those rumors you've heard about the sixties, we weren't allowed to run totally hog wild. My mom supervised our sweet treats with an eagle eye, and eventually a lock and key. There were plenty of admonishments about ruining our supper or destroying our teeth.

But like most American kids of the day, I grew up on Kool-aid, cookies, and best of all, sweetened breakfast cereal.

Without question, our morning meals centered on sugar. These were the glory days for Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and my favorite, the unapologetically-named Super Sugar Crisp. My brothers and I raced through boxes of these coveted treats in record time, which is why they were only an occasional splurge. Most of the time, our family budget forced us to made do with more sensible unsugared selections: Wheat Chex, Cheerios, Grape Nuts and Rice Krispies.

But still, we were allowed - even invited - to heap on teaspoon after glorious teaspoon of white sugar.

My brothers and I would bring all the cereal boxes to the table and use them to build walls around our bowls. Huddled down inside our little alcoves (we were non-morning people even then), we poured out our favorite grains and then silently passed the milk and sugar around for each to use.

Sometime during my middle school years, my mom bought a proper 1970s sugar bowl - white ceramic with a cork lid and woven rattan handle. I loved it and admired the way it elevated my morning breakfast routine.

Years went by.

High school.
My professional phase.

And then I was bringing my own little girls around to the same breakfast table, and they were dumping teaspoons of the sparkling white stuff onto their own bowls of cereal.

I bit back my post-millennial hang-ups about sugar and let them indulge.

The sugar bowl began to show signs of life.
The rattan handle frayed, then split, then broke altogether.
We trimmed off the broken remnants and pronounced the dish still useful, but it was never the same.

My mom bought a new sugar bowl with a matching milk pitcher, and life moved on.
The old sugar bowl was sent away to live a quiet life in the back of a kitchen cabinet.

Which is exactly where I found it last month.

I brought it home.
I fashioned a new handle.
I filled it up with sugar.

And now, my mother's sugar bowl and I have entered a new golden age together.

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