That’s pretty easy actually because she is predictable.
Every single day she takes a tea break, a lunch break, and an afternoon break which is not called a tea break, even though she drinks her very black and sugary tea in a tin mug. Thats when I have the house to myself.
Lucky for me the room I like to raid has a perfect view to her khaya so I can keep an eye on her movements while I get busy wth my business. I like to scratch around in the top shelves of the pantry. Because that’s where Ma has hidden away all the sugar.
When you think about sugar, the first thing that probably comes to mind is it’s sweetness, but there’s much more to it.
Inside the boxes high up on the top shelf that I must climb to using my best rock climbing skills, body taunt, arms stretched, fingers gripping, barefoot, toes splayed, are small twists of paper clasping sugars of all colours and flavours and textures.
Each twist opens to let loose a cloud of exotic smells from far off lands, I imagine.
There’s a dark sticky molasses sugar made from boiling down the sugarcanes that grow like weeds around here,
a bitter yellowish honeycomb, thick and golden, crystallised into gum.
There is a twist of stevia, whose fine powdery bitterness overrides it’s sweetness and sends tingles down my spine.
Quite often there’s a small twist of xylitol, birch wood sap sugar, sent all the way from Yurrup, I like to imagine a snowy forest of slim white-barked trees.
There’s turbinado, a soft fine grained earthy caramel that clumps,
and the fragrant light brown sugar from the coconuts of Madagascar.
Sometimes, if I’m lucky I’ll find a white sugar, refined and processed, pure sweetness without the residue of its origin, and I’ll lick and stick a wet finger in and back into my mouth, and crunch on the grain.
I make sure I steal small bits from each twist, even though there are some I prefer over others.
Ma notices and gets mad, but I always blame The Maid. I don’t feel guilty about that at all because I’m pretty sure she has her own sugar stealing going on.
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