Last year, I wrote “Halloween treats and ahimsa” about why I chose raisins, not candy, for trick-or-treaters. This year, undaunted, I again stocked up on Sun-Maid.
My boyfriend is convinced that any normal kid will consider raisins a letdown, even mock-worthy. Perhaps, but aren’t they at least healthier? I’ve blogged before about my resolution to eat less sugar and about my subsequent decision to eliminate all refined sugar from my diet (thanks, Steve Nash).
I currently eat almost no sugar other than the fructose in fruit. I have other edible indulgences: Real cheese. Crusty bread. Pasta. Pizza. Almonds, cashews, and the pantheon of nuts. And I might savor a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and an occasional muffin or scone. But the taste of “sweet” has become stunningly less desirable, even undesirable.
While humans are born with a predilection for sweetness, our desire for sugar can explode if we consume processed food. If we’re used to sugary sodas and candy, anything less sweet seems inadequate.
And yet, and yet… I was not ruined by my childhood candy passion. It was a phase. A happy one! In a recent New York Times article “Is Candy Evil or Just Misunderstood?” (October 26, 2010), Julia Moskin writes about Samira Kawash and her Candy Professor blog. Kawash, a professor emerita at Rutgers and quite the candy historian, explores Americans’ love-hate relationship with candy. People consume sugary “energy” bars and Gatorade, while labeling candy as bad.
“At least candy is honest about what it is,” she said. “It has always been a processed food, eaten for pleasure, with no particular nutritional benefit.” Today, she said, every aisle in the supermarket contains highly manipulated products that have those qualities.
Last night, bags of Hershey’s snuck into the house (not my purchases). Oh, well. I myself wouldn’t have been swayed by raisins when I was on the receiving end of trick or treat!
My childhood trick-or-treat ranking
- REESE’S peanut butter cups
- Peanut M&M’S
- Nestle Kit Kat
- Hershey’s Miniatures: Krackel
- Junior Mints
Non-chocolate honorable mention
- Smarties (Ce De Candy)
- Jolly Rancher: watermelon