Among the tenets on the forums, one I note quite frequently when people are trying to cut costs for their reception, is a go-to suggestion of having “cake and punch”. If you search it in the forums, the phrase comes up probably hundreds of times. Then I think about my own FI and, if he were going to a reception that had nothing but this, they may as well provide nothing at all. He just really avoids the stuff. Same goes for anyone who’s Paleo, Primal, Zone- or diabetic.
My FI is rather anti-sugar (with the exception of fruits, and even then, in moderation). Here are some links that support that idea:
For a sugar addict with metabolic syndrome where everything’s thrown outta whack, the second that sugar hits their tongue, just like an alcoholic, it is really, really, hard to stop at “just one small piece” like other people can (and not everyone gets this- reminds me of Louis CK’s hilarious “Just have the donut” bit).
There may be no “moderation” in this case. One portion starts the battle all over again. So some just swear it off.
I know there are many, many dietary issues out there that can crop up- dairy, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, vegan, etc.- at a reception. But when it comes to sugar, it seems that it’s a “demon” for more people than the aforementioned, and I’m getting the sense that a larger part of the population is literally addicted to it (and artificial sweeteners are no better) than we really are aware of. I don’t know if that’s brain chemistry or because it’s so, so cheap (because it’s government subsidized) and therefore widely available that we get stuck in a cycle of overconsumption. I know when I try to curb it, it feels like withdrawal- the cravings are just insane when I first start abstaining and take time to taper. There is a lot of talk about how the stuff is borderline toxic and should actually be regulated like tobacco and alcohol. The proposed NYC soda ban- who would’ve imagined that ten years ago?
Don’t get me wrong, for better or for worse, I personally am not ready to give up wedding cake altogether. Not because I think that’s a good choice, but ‘cause I’m a sucker for it. But I wonder what other creative solutions might crop up as an alternative to “cake and punch”. That there is like a diabetic/sugar addict’s worst enemy. Diabetes is a real problem in this country. Even some kids have it.
We always say that even at a pig roast you should have a vegetarian option- and I think as the dialogue over sugar continues, we could easily see more people avoiding added sugar for health reasons than there are people avoiding meat. Already in the UK, I’m seeing wedding cakes being passed over in favor of stacked “wedding cheese” wheels (google it- they’re gorgeous).
I wonder if there might be a shift to a setup of fruit, vegetables, and cheese instead of the cake, and fresh-squeezed lemon sparkling water instead of the punch. Or at least have those things as options. It probably increases costs- esp. in low-income neighborhoods, a grocery store cake is cheaper than cheese and fresh, presentable produce to feed the same amount of people- but if more and more start eschewing sugar, until healthier stuff is subsidized, what can you do?
Granted, FI runs with a lot of Paleo people who have pretty much rejected sugar (and I think some actually don’t feel too good after consuming an average portion of it, having largely abstained for so long), but if we only put out “cake and punch”, it would be similar to serving just a pasta dinner when a good chunk of people have sworn off gluten due to its side effects.
It may all sound exaggerated but, if you read the articles, the parallels between added sugar and opiates are kind of astounding.
As we learn more about nutrition and the divide grows wider between those who partake in and those who avoid sugar and gluten (another growing point of contention)- basically right now, two cheap staples in the American diet- if you couldn’t afford the variety of choices necessary to accommodate your guests…what’s the lesser of two evils? The reviled (on these boards, anyway) pot luck, so everyone has something to put in their mouths, or putting out the inexpensive “cake and punch", though your non-added-sugar-eating guests (and I think as awareness increases, the numbers are going to increase on that)will basically have nothing to consume that won't potentially make them feel ill later?
Do you think added sugar consumption will just never die out, even if it’s proven to be linked to illness, because it’s just too darn tasty and engrained in our culture? Or do you think that foods lacking any nutritional value (that a bite of could send some folks down the slippery slope like a drug does) will slide towards being taboo like tobacco sort of is (or at least, less culturally relevant) and if so, what will old party staples get replaced with?