Lifestyle & Culture

Kitchen Detail: A Sweet Mess

February 2, 2024

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Earlier this week, Well-Being columnist Mary Carpenter looked at the health aspects of  sugar. Kitchen Detail columnist Nancy Pollard here looks at the political aspect.

By Nancy Pollard

After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years—La Cuisine: The Cook’s Resource, in Alexandria, Virginia—Nancy Pollard now writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues. She and her husband, the Resident Wine Maniac, have recently moved to Italy.

WHILE WE cannot all make war on every ingredient or provenance of every culinary utensil in our kitchens, I still think it’s good to be aware of food policies, both in the US and internationally. This documentary and article pushed me to pledge to purchase only Fair Trade Sugar.

First up is the documentary The Price of  Sugarwhich exposes the inhumane treatment of Haitian sugarcane workers in the Dominican Republic—and the journey of the Spanish priest who has dedicated his life to helping them.

The History of the Price of Sugar in the USA

I’m including this link to a succinct but thorough article from the Harvard Kennedy School Review that will also shake up your thoughts about our sweet obsession.  American consumers are paying an extortionate (think of it as an additional tax) price for sugar because its production is artificially constrained. And protective pricing enriches sugar-producing cartels, which are immune to regulations. This is all good food for thought.

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