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Location: PDX, United States

Friday, October 31, 2008


When I was a kid, my mom made her own bread, mayonnaise and yogurt. My family didn’t eat processed food, any vegetables that weren’t from our own garden, and we definitely weren’t allowed to eat dessert, other than on our birthdays or holidays. Maybe it’s because I didn’t eat much sugar growing up that I eat almost none now, although my sister claims it was the lack of sugar that created her sweet tooth.

I haven’t had a birthday cake in maybe fifteen years. Sometimes I enjoy ice cream, but I almost always have to throw the cartons I buy out before they are empty because I realize they are a year old. I enjoy making desert, though, and sometimes give pies and cakes away that I never even taste.

Maybe it’s because I know I can eat sugar if I want to that I don’t eat much. When I was a kid, and had little control over what I ate, I liked candy as much as any other kid. One Halloween when I was about twelve, I came up with a plan to make my candy last all year long.

I sped trick-or-treated, targeting specific blocks and houses that I remembered to be particularly lucrative. I came home with more candy than I’d ever gathered before, and then began sorting it by type. I then divided the candy into twelve equal piles, and put them in wax paper bags. In retrospect, I wonder if this Halloween pre-dated zip lock bags or if my parents were just being cheap. I labeled each bag for each month of the year, then put them in our extra freezer in the basement, where I thought they would be safe from my family. When I went down to check on my candy a month later, most of it was gone, and I’m not sure if was my siblings or parents who took it.

I’m also not sure why I had more self-discipline as a kid than I do now. I wonder where it went, and if I will ever get it back.

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