Sugar Takes The Biscuit


This is an update on my challenge to overcome excruciating discomfort when throwing away food.

My kids are doing a cake decorating class.

I’ve gained 3 pounds.

There need not be a correlation between these two facts.

But there is.

Increasingly, I leave the boys to do their cake homework themselves.

I’ll drive them to the store for ingredients and bring my kitchen up to a hygienic standard once they’ve left it in a state their eleven year-old selves consider perfectly acceptable but I do not.

But everything in-between is down to them.

I am not actually involved in the preparation of any cake or frosting except to answer questions and locate hard-to-find utensils.

So why have I gained three pounds you may ask? It is not an illogical question.

I’ll tell you.

One reason is it appears I haven’t passed my ‘have-to-lick-the-bowl/beaters/spoon-clean-or-I-might-die’ genes down to my progeny.

All that lovely, gooey, leftover batter stays in the bowl and if I chance upon it, I’m a gonna.

The dire consequences of this class get worse when you consider cake decorating inevitably produces large quantities of baked cake.

And frosting.

The class started out using the frosting that comes in a tub. Stuff I have, in the past, eaten happily from said tub on a bad day.

But I have now evolved a more sophisticated taste for their divine buttercream comprised entirely of shortening, butter and powdered sugar.

And therein lies the problem.

Kid-baked cakes, sublime frosting, a mother whose sugar worship leaves her willpower in crumbs, and an inability to toss any of it combine to make an unbeatable mixture.

Because I can’t let it go to waste, it goes on my waist.

I’m thinking 3lbs is pretty good in the circumstances…

So what is my solution to this Land of Candy that makes Katy Perry look like the altar girl her mother wishes she was?

I’ll tell you that, too.

As we have frosting cake in far greater quantities than we need or desire, I have, naturally, turned to Dr. Phil.

Generally, I don’t have a lot of time for Dr. Phil, not appreciating his confrontational style, limited diagnosis borne of even greater limited intelligence and sticking plaster remedies so beloved of his kind of TV.

But I did read something in his weight loss book many years ago that I’ve found valuable.

(By the way, I don’t know what business Dr. Phil has writing a book on weight loss. He, it seems to me, needs to read his own book and take his own advice. He does not play football anymore.)

His advice was to put danger food out the way.

This really does work.

I have drawers in my bedroom, high shelves in my closet and our freezer in the garage.

Devoted to high-caloric, treat food.

I don’t go there. I don’t see it. I can’t reach it.

I don’t eat it.

(Before we go on, lest you think this Dr. Phil’s book is quite brilliant, I want to point out he had some terrible advice in it, too. Throw away your fat clothes was one such gem. That’s always been a bad idea in my experience and offends my sense of thrift. You might will need them again.)

Most people go to their freezer in the garage and find huge amounts of meat bought in bulk or perhaps frozen vegetables.

At least, in my imagination they do.

In ours, we have five cakes, 3 plum pies, 6 pots of homemade lemon curd, three tubs of frosting, a dozen cupcakes, 2 huge sheet cakes we are holding for someone else (I hope,) 2 dozen mince pies, a sticky toffee pudding, 3 banana cakes and some ice.

Oh, and a few hotdogs.

I’m embarrassed to tell you what I have in two drawers in my bedroom but suffice to say, they are full of English chocolate, English biscuits and Girl Scout cookies.


Cakes lovingly made and decorated by our boys with homemade frosting, a need to use an over-abundance of fresh fruit before it goes to waste, a weak moment in the grocery store, goods on sale, gifts, Halloween, this stuff comes into our house far quicker than we can eat it or give it away.

It will be Easter soon and I may just start getting panic attacks.

Where will all this chocolate go, pray?

So while I seem to have conquered the ability to throw out relatively healthy food, sugar in all its guises is still defeating me.

And I have no answer.

Do you?


What do you do? Do you eat it? Stop it coming into the house in the first place (if so, how) or are you able to throw it away (again, how?) Give it away (where?) Please let me know in the comments!

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Danielle April 8, 2011 at 5:47 am

Three pounds is nothing! You’re doing GREAT if all you’re doing is licking the batter once in a while, but I can TOTALLY understand how even the little things might mess with your mind.

And I like the Dr.Phil mantra you’re using. Here are a couple other quotes that might help you:
1. Eat for what you’re about to do.
2. If it’s sweet, I overeat.

So if you’re going to have a treat maybe you can place it strategically around a time when you’ll be pretty active.
And the second quote just helps me because desserts are like “trigger foods” which make me just want more and more. So if I realize that before digging in, I’ll stop myself.

My husband and I don’t have kids, and we’re both semi-fanatical about nutrition and fitness… a situation which may sound ideal, but has its own share of pros and cons.

Your posts are fantastic. 🙂


Alison Golden April 8, 2011 at 8:48 am

Thanks, Dani. I like that second mantra: If it’s sweet, I overeat. I’ve only recently discovered the idea of trigger food (as a concept – I discovered it as a behavior *years* ago 🙂 and that is so true.


SuzRocks April 8, 2011 at 7:43 am

My only defense against unhealthy food is not buying it. If it’s in my house, I’m going to want to eat it. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or sometimes I’ll hide it, so I forget about it. Of course, do I ever really forget about it.

Then when I do buy it, and then eat a hefty portion, I throw it out. But then sometimes I’ll want to go back in the trash and get it, if it’s salvageable and still in the package. Yes, I am aware of the pathetic-ness of this.

I love that you have drawers full of chocolate and biscuits in your bedroom!
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Alison Golden April 8, 2011 at 8:53 am

That’s great you can toss it. I’m not so sure about the retrieving it from the trash though, Suz. I’d say we’ve evolved to about the same level. I can’t toss, you toss and retrieve. Now we sound like a pair of dogs. Okay, I’m going to stop now…;-)


April 8, 2011 at 8:50 am

Oh sweets are my weakness too. I also can’t have them around or will want to eat them. I can’t imagine having all that in my freezer! And now I want cake. 😉
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Alison Golden April 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

Oh dear, Brenna. I’m so sorry I did that to you. I know how it feels, you see. 🙂


Margaret Almon April 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I took a cake decorating class, and I had to drop out. It was definitely not for me. Baking is really just a method of ingesting frosting and batter and dough as I cook. . .I like Judith Beck’s attitude that we are not garbage cans–eating food that we need to throw out is treating our body as a garbage disposal. That image has helped me throw out sweet things that I would otherwise eat!
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Alison Golden April 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Same here with the baking. I have learned though that if I have to do it, if I do it in the morning the earlier the better, I am unlikely to eat it. I just don’t like sugar in the morning – I guess my blood sugar is in good shape. Late afternoon – which is the more usual time to bake in this house – is a disaster though and as you say, just a way to ingest yummy dough.


Lisa Liguori
April 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm

You know my thoughts.. toss it all! Or at the very least, give it away. I for one, can not have cake in the house and not eat it. One of us has got to go!


Alison Golden April 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Do you eat it even if it’s not started? I have this weird thing going on where if it’s not been opened or a slice taken out, I can stare at it for months and months. But the moment that package is opened or someone takes a bite, it’s a free for all where I’m concerned. I have noooooo idea what that’s about. Some deep memory probably ingrained into the dark recesses of my brain but there it is. I’m sure someone highly trained could have a field day with that one.


Mary E. Ulrich
April 9, 2011 at 5:24 am

Alison, you make me laugh and laugh. I want pictures of the “Twin Chefs” (sounds like a tv show to me) and I’m now starving for buttercream icing on a decadent cake. “Food Glorious Food…”

ps. don’t throw away your fat clothes.

Can the teacher of the cake class give some healthy lowfat recipes they can learn?
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Alison Golden April 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm

‘The Twin Chefs in Hell’s Kitchen’ makes a very apt statement, Mary. And yes, I think next time I’m going to ask our teacher if she could offer a class entitled ‘Easy Bake Healthy Meals You Can Make So Mom Doesn’t Have To.’ 🙂


Gwynne May 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

Next time, that’ll be the course. I promise. *crossed fingers behind my back*


bluecottonmemory April 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Really now! You should have said, “I have to taste what they make – or they’d be devestated.” My son made brownies last night. He was so forlorn that I had to try them. I love that you have Lemon Curd in your freezer. I love lemon curd. My boys don’t:( It almost sounds like you have a Charles Dickens feasting filled freezer!

In May I have to make 60 cupcakes and 60 cookies (dress shaped) for my nieces shower! I don’t think I’ll want sweets for awhile after that:( Of course, I’ll have to wake up from my sugar coma sometime.


Alison Golden April 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Actually, Dickens is one of my favorite authors so maybe I’ve entered into his world just a bit too often. I could certainly have one of those feasts with what’s in my freezer, in fact I do on high days and holidays. And in-between, I’m very, very good. With the odd exception of Sunday afternoons prior to Monday cake class. 🙂


Glynis Jolly
April 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm

You DO have a problem. You don’t want your kids to stop learning and yet their learning is increasing your waist. If your kids weren’t in this class, I say you should be able to give it all away and make rules for grocery shopping so that the sugary stuff isn’t around.

You could try a negative image of yourself every time you walk into the kitchen. It doesn’t always work though.
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Alison Golden April 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

I do, don’t I? I don’t want to throw away their wonderful work but I don’t want to eat it either. Cake crafted by eleven year-old boys in a science classroom is not really the type of thing I think other people would like to be presented with either. I think it may be a case of doing with the cake what I do with the artwork. I wait a loooooooooooooooong time, save a very few wonderful pieces and toss the rest.


April 12, 2011 at 11:07 am


I feel for ya! I am a sugar freak! It just can’t come into the house. I have to be craving it and then must drive to the store (or ride my bike) to go get it.

-Donate it to the school’s teacher’s lounge. My friend took a cake decor class years ago and all the cakes just happen to appear in the teacher’s lounge every week. 30 teachers will eat it.

-Donate it to Bunco groups, Boy Scout groups, neighbors, kids’ friends, baseball coach, which ever large group you can find to donate it.

That’s all I’ve got.

Have an awesome day!

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Alison Golden April 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

Allie! You are a genius. I just remembered after one Boy Scout meeting, the den mother scraping splodges of cake onto a big plate. It was the leftovers of a sheet cake after 50 boys had had a go at it. I asked her what she was going to do with it. She said she was going to give it to her husband to take to work the next day. I was incredulous. I asked her if she really thought his co-workers would eat this pile of mush formerly known as cake. Her reply – absolutely, they’re police officers! Maybe there lies my answer….


April 13, 2011 at 7:11 am

it has to be said – licking the icing/batter from the bowl is far, far better than any cake could ever be. I always think it’s a shame to cook the cake afterwards – why not eat it all in batter form?
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Alison Golden April 20, 2011 at 9:18 am

I tend to agree, Polly. 🙂


Melody Granger
April 16, 2011 at 8:36 am

Alison, I will lick the batter from the bowl. On the rare occasion that a cake is baked. My girls do enjoy baking & eating them, so I try to buy cake mixes every once in a while (once or twice a year…. 😉 )

My fridge, my freezer, my cabinets have no sweets in them. Not because we don’t eat them occasionally, but because we just aren’t sweet eaters. No pies, no desserts, no cookies.

Not that we don’t enjoy them! Growing up we didn’t have sweets lingering around or stock up on them. I don’t think it was for any particular reason… or maybe my mother didn’t want to be around 6 hyper kids!

My husband is diabetic so that could be part of the reason I don’t have more sweets around. He gets sugar-free ice cream & we’ll buy the regular ice cream… sometimes.

Wow, it’s really crazy now that I think about it… we don’t crave sweets, even though we do enjoy them here and there!

So, I have no advice for you, other than keep the classic & favorites of your different sized clothes. Let the rest go so you’ll have a reason to go shopping for those trendy pieces to wear with what you kept!
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Alison Golden April 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Oooh, I wish I were like you. Just tonight, I was filling eggs for an Easter egg hunt tomorrow and I’ve got so much candy left, I’m totally kitted out for Halloween!


Gwynne May 29, 2011 at 11:27 am

I’m kind of the opposite, Alison, which might be why I can do what I do! I *don’t* keep sweets in the house other than whatever I’m making at the time. It is very rare that were is anything around unless it’s been given to me as a gift. That way, in order to eat something sweet I *have* to make it, which usually means that I am too lazy to do so and end up going to bed without dessert.

Stopping purchasing chocolate and biscuits was probably my #1 weight loss tactic that worked. Easy to say, VERY difficult to do. But once the “No” happens at the register, it carries over to the weak-willed evenings. I’ll put an extra teaspoon of sugar into my PG Tips in the evening if I need a sweet lift. (And this from the girl who used to buy a lump of german chocolate cake EVERY time she went to Safeway..)

Good luck – though I understand your pain, I’ll never regret helping your boys along the path to being great bakers and cooks – they both have quite a gift and brava to you for encouraging them. And teaching them that it’s okay to lick the beaters. 🙂


Alison Golden May 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Gwynne, we ate some of Oliver’s volcano cake yesterday and had an unexpected side product go along with it. Eating it spawned some lovely memories of planning the cake, making it, cleaning up and decorating it in your class. It was quite lovely. And that’s more important than three pounds any day. Thank you for your lovely class 🙂


Alison Golden May 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I do hope the 8th grade people who have the 2 sheet cakes in our freezer don’t forget about them though! 😉


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