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May 24, 2009 10:33 AM

Does anyone cook for as long as a week without using sugar or sugar substitutes.

I occasionally watch the Food channel, and I've been rather amazed at the amount of sugar that goes into recipes on its programs. I rarely use sugar when I cook. But then I don't make a lot of desserts either. So my question is whether anyone cooks for as long as a week without using sweeteners or at least confining the sweet stuff to minor amounts in dessert?

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  1. I'd say that I often do. If I'm cooking a Vietnamese meal though, many dishes call for a little sugar. During the week, I usually have just some fruit or cheese after the meal, and may or may not make a dessert over the weekend. Coconut cake tomorrow though!

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      I'm with you. Sometimes in Vietnamese I use caramel sauce which I make up and store in the cupboard until needed. It keep for ever and adds an authentic flavor to some dishes where sugar just won't make it. In most western foods it is a great rarity unless baking. I am trying to get back to baking a pullman loaf each weekend and cut out the sugar (DH and I were thinking on the same wave length. I got up this AM and the pullman loaf pan was out) I find too many comnercially produced breads way too sweet. Sometimes a pinch of sugar like a pinch of salt can act as a flavor enhancer, but unless it is baking season I can make a bag of sugar last for months.

    2. I rarely cook with sugar or substitutes, aside from holiday sweets. I've slowly been trying to incorporate sweet things such as honey and molasses into rubs for slow cooking, but I'm sure that this isn't the answer you're looking for. I never add sugar to my tomato sauce (fresh basil is sweet enough), muffins and quick breads don't need them (particularly when filled with bananas, dried fruit, or nuts)...

      Caramelizing vegetables or heating fruit brings out their natural sweetness.

      We really don't eat dessert, aside from ice cream (even that I don't necessarily consume weekly, but with summer here, it's likely to change!).

      Sorry that I can't help you on this; I'm not making an effort to be healthy, I simply don't use much sugar. We have about 3lbs of turbinado sugar, a couple of jars/bottles of honey and maple syrup from local farms, and a half-used bottle of blackstrap molasses which I have used for braising ribs, but those are barely used with my cooking (seasonal, with no particular style, as it varies depending on my mood and what's available).

      1. As long as I'm not baking desserts, muffins, or pastry, I'd say yes, I often go a week or more without using added sugar in anything.

        I sometimes add molasses or brown sugar to a barbecue sauce or something in a tomatoey sauce like stuffed peppers, but those aren't things I make that frequently. Occasionally I'll make a honey mustard for something like gravlax, or I might use a little sugar in coleslaw, but that's also fairly infrequent.

        Some breads that I make need sugar or malted barley syrup or molasses, but not the sourdough I make most often.

        1. I'm with you Father K - I've gone for months without white sugar in the house and not noticed until someone wants it in their tea.

          Of course I don't make a lot of desserts either. We tend to the savory/salty over here. And I think FN is crap (except I like to watch the occasional Iron Chef...)

          Summertime lemonade and cocktails - simple syrup is made the traditional way.
          Scones (2T in the recipe, who am I to dispute)
          And, like MMRuth, SEAsian.

          1. I normally try to stay away from desserts. But I love to bake. So there have been plenty of times when I've gone weeks without using sugar, and then I'll go on a baking binge and use up a 5-pound bag. Sometimes I bring cookies or cake into work so I won't have the stuff around at home.