In case my last post gave you the impression that I only eat “healthy” food, let me set the record straight. I have a voracious sweet tooth!
So did my grandmother. And so do my mother and daughter. As I’m writing this, I’m chewing on a Bit-O-Honey, one of my favorite childhood candy treats. I’m certain I developed a sweet tooth from my Grandma Amelia. She fixed me healthy meals but they were always followed by dessert and candy.
Whenever I visited her, I went straight to the white porcelain candy dish on her end table to see what sweets lay inside. Her taste ran towards “junk” candy that she purchased at Woolworth’s: large gum drops, sugar coated orange slices and lemon drops. She also kept a tin of hard candy in her dining room closet. When we went to the movies on Saturday afternoon, our ritual was to first stop at the penny candy store across the street.
My grandma gave me a dime. To an eight-year old that seemed like a fortune. It took about fifteen minutes to select my favorite goodies. I pointed to the display case, and the elderly, wheezing lady who owned the store would patiently fill my paper bag with penny candy: envelopes of Lik-M-Aid (packs of tart powder), red wax lips, candy buttons, Mexican hats, Walnettos, red licorice whips, Kits taffy, Nik-L-Nips (wax bottles filled with a sweet syrup) and spearmint leaves. Then we crossed the street to the Four-Star theater to watch “Spanky and The Little Rascals,” while I savored each piece of candy.
My mom was never a fan of penny candy. She favors dark chocolate and always has her candy dish filled with a selection of See’s candy. When my grandparents visited our house, my grandma would try to sneak a piece of candy from the glass dish. We could always hear the top clink as she placed it back on the dish.
In my last post, I described the four-generation healthy tofu stir-fry dinner that my mom, daughter, two granddaughters and I prepared together. After our “healthy” dinner, I was craving something sweet, but it wasn’t “dessert night.” So we loaded our car and drove home. Ninety minutes later my husband and I stood foraging through my mom’s candy dish, filling our mouths with dark chocolate mallos and chews. My mom laughed hysterically explaining that she would have bet anything we’d want some sweets after all those “healthy” veggies. She was right. We each left with a handful of chocolates to eat on the rest of the drive home!
What I have learned from my grandmother and mother is to eat everything – but in moderation. That way I can have a healthy meal and also have dessert. It worked for my grandma who lived to age 93. My mom’s still going strong at 86 and I’m hoping I’ve inherited their “healthy” genes.