The Stubbornness of Sugar

Once upon a time, there was a cake baked over centuries; its ingredients fusing in the heat to form a moist, rich, lush vanilla cake. It wasn’t perfect, but it tasted delicious to anyone with a taste for vanilla. To anyone with taste, really.

One day however, some people without a taste for vanilla came along and decided that the cake did not taste right. A somewhat privileged bunch, they demanded that all the cake’s brown sugar be extracted and replaced with white sugar.

Those who originally baked the cake were confused. The brown sugar had been mixed in with all the other ingredients a very long time ago. It formed part of the cake, and was infused throughout it. There was no real way to extract it.

The people without a taste for vanilla would not listen though. The cake obviously had something wrong with it, they figured. Otherwise it would taste like chocolate cake.


Eventually, they cut out a slice of the cake – somehow convincing themselves that this slice contained all (or enough of) the brown sugar – and they replaced it with a big wedge of chocolate cake.

At first, the chocolate wedge looked a little awkward. It was somewhat shorter than the rest of the cake and – although it slotted relatively neatly into the cake – its diameter was a little too wide.

Neither did it address the continued existence of brown sugar in the cake.

Nevertheless, the people without a taste for vanilla were happy. They were convinced that – while it was certainly not as good as a complete chocolate cake – the vanilla cake was now better than whatever it had been before.

After awhile, the people without a taste for vanilla left. And over time, the people with a taste for vanilla acquired a taste for chocolate. They tried to cut the wedge’s diameter a little and raise it (with additional chocolate slices) to the same height as the rest of the vanilla cake, so that it was all at least well-shaped.

As more time passed, they developed a distaste for the vanilla part of the cake, consuming more and more of the chocolate part, importing more and more replacement chocolate wedges. Some said that the vanilla cake with the chocolate wedge tasted more chocolate than chocolate cake and tried exporting it to the people without a taste for vanilla. They convinced themselves that they had made marble cake. Others described it as vanilla cake with chocolate layers.

While such cakes certainly (can) exist, these suggestions are sadly laughable to anyone with eyes to see.

Because – deny it though we might – the people do not have marble cake. Or vanilla cake with chocolate layers.

We have a vanilla cake with a (somewhat random) chocolate wedge in it
And the brown sugar is still very much in the cake
Affecting its taste far more than we care to admit.

Whether we like it or not.

Let the wise listen

3 thoughts on “The Stubbornness of Sugar

  1. Nice un’… hahahaha… I still like the cake.. the taste of vanilla, the taste of chocolate. My tummy is now demanding… Yummy..


  2. This is very profound.
    It is such a truthful reflection of how humans behave, particularly at the part where a group decided that vanilla cake was “wrong” because it did not taste like chocolate cake.
    Indeed, we have made a mess of our bakeries, and now do not completely understand what we believe. It’s a ridiculous mixture. We are following professed chocolate cake makers whose ingredients include vanilla, and who can apparently turn into serpents.
    It does beg a few questions, though. For example, don’t the chocolate cake makers believe that their recipe was the genesis of the world (of bakery), and, as such, the original? And that due to migration and spread (of bakers) around the world, the recipe has been wrongfully altered, and thus must be set right? Perhaps, that explains their doctrine. Although I must confess you have aptly shown the obvious disconnect between their doctrine and action. It’s a constant problem. If the aim is to make a cake a chocolate cake, fixing a wedge of chocolate cake into a vanilla cake is not the solution.

    Sigh. It’s a complex mess. Shall we say…Hell’s Kitchen.


    1. What’s funny is that the chocolate makers actually took the original recipe from some Arabs and then added a lil’ sumthin sumthin to make it chocolate in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

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