Just Desserts

sugarAmerica’s got a serious sweet tooth. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes over one hundred and fifty pounds of sugar each year. Most of this sugar intake is from foods and drinks; many people would be surprised at what favorite food items include sugar—from soft drinks and crackers, to bread and even sauces, much of what we eat today contains sugar in some form. Before sugar cultivation began in the Caribbean and South America in the 16th and 17th centuries, sugar was an extremely rare and expensive item in Europe. Merchants imported the precious item from the Middle East and Mediterranean islands where it was warm enough to grow sugarcane. Until sugar became more widely available, it was rarely used as a sweetener; cooks typically sweetened food with fruit or honey. As sugar became more accessible however, people found new ways to incorporate sugar into their food; dessert recipes in American cookbooks became more common as sugar became a commonplace kitchen item.

Search for dessert recipes online and you’ll find hundreds of different types of desserts with endless variations to satisfy a sweet tooth. Although sugary desserts are practically a staple of modern American life, some desserts are go-to favorites. Cheesecake, cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and carrot cake are some of the most popular desserts. Apple pie is a particular favorite because of its patriotic associations. Apple pie is not an American creation, but the classic apple pie à la Mode, pie topped with vanilla ice cream, originated in New York City at the end of the nineteenth century. Whatever dessert you favor, the prevalence of sugar is responsible for the plethora of sweet treats enjoyed today.

Enjoy a delicious dessert at a local restaurant this week. Find great restaurants in your area by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory containing listing for thousands of businesses across the United States. Real Local Pages is useful for finding a wide variety of businesses, from restaurants to roofing contractors. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your location to begin searching. Choose a search term from the popular categories list to search for businesses, or, use the search box on the main page. The results page will display listings that match your search terms and each business listing includes the address and phone number of the location.