A Sweet Tooth As Old As Civilization Itself

Who does not love sugar? There is hardly a child who can resist its sweet temptation. Not many adults can resist either – and why not? After all, it certainly does make a lot of things taste more palatable. At the end of day, it is really not our fault. It is how we are built. Most of us have a natural propensity towards sweet things and like things that taste that way. Granted, my Mum drank her coffee black, but I could never understand that. I am good for at least a couple of spoonfuls with every cup, but that is just me. Could we really survive as a society without sugar? Perhaps, yes,  but there would probably be a few riots in the streets. Sugar, honey and even artificial sweeteners are deeply embedded in our way of life and daily habits.

Sugar is such a commodity that great fortunes have been built on owning plantations of sugarcane. Although salt was used as a form of payment for Roman soldiers at the height of the Roman Empire (which is where the word salary comes from), there is no record of anyone being paid for their wages in sugar. Does that mean that we would rather season our food instead of making it sweet? Perhaps we should not use ancient history as a basis for evaluating the relative value of the two basic substances.

Want to Make a Cake?

Many people find that baking can be an extremely relaxing way to spend a few hours. You certainly cannot argue with the results, as long as everything comes out according to plan. Cakes and pies can also make excellent gifts for neighbours or friends, as it adds a personal touch to the present, rather than being something bought in a store. Although it might sound like a daunting challenge to the uninitiated, baking can be a fairly simple process. By going to a site such as MakeBake, one can not only pick up all the supplies that they need, but also learn a lot of handy tips and tricks to make their baking experience a pleasure and a success.

Where Are You from, Friend?

Unlike many modern foods, it is not exactly clear where the use of sugar originated. It is thought to have perhaps been “discovered” in some of the Polynesian islands, over 5,000 years ago. It spread shortly thereafter to the Indian subcontinent and lay dormant to the rest the world for a few thousand years. One can only imagine the fun that the natives had once they had discovered how to harvest sugarcane. No wonder they were not in any hurry to spread the good news! Things really got going once the Persian Emperor Darius invaded India and discovered the natives happily sweetening their food with their sugarcane product. The Persians had a long experience using bees to make honey, but this new method looked a lot simpler and more effective.

Through a series of conquests, including those of Alexander the Great, sugar made its way to Greece and then Rome. It was highly sought after and still extremely rare. When the Arabs invaded Spain, they took sugarcane back with them. But it was Christopher Columbus himself who really got the ball rolling, when he brought some Spanish sugarcane to the New World. It flourished like no place else on earth and the development of sugarcane plantations in the American continents was set into motion. One spoon or two?


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