And that's exactly why they're so important.
Because while sweets--and I'm talking about all sorts here, from confections to ice cream to pies, cakes, and cookies--aren't necessary to stay alive, they make living so much nicer.
They're a daily celebration of the small moments in life: taking a moment to pause over coffee with a pain au chocolat or doughnut in the morning.
They're an overture of friendship: who brings a bundle of kale to a new neighbor? No way, you bring muffins or cookies. (And if you are the type of person to bring kale, I would like to say that I respect you, but do not understand you.)
They're how we connect and re-connect: be it milk and cookies after school or pie and coffee with a long-lost friend, food is how we connect as humans, and often it's the sweet stuff that brings us together.
They're what memories and stories are made of: who doesn't have fond memories of grandma's cherry pie cooling on the counter, or the famous chocolate chip cookies a neighbor made?
They're comforting: there's a reason why Cathy turns to chocolate in her cartoon strip, or why it's a cliche for the recently-broken-up person turns to pints of Ben and Jerry's. There is something comforting about sweets. This can turn into unhealthy territory, granted, but it's impossible to deny that sweets can soothe the troubled mind, even if for a short time.
They're the showpiece at the center of life's big moments: after all, what would a birthday or wedding be without a cake?
They're an affordable luxury: while one might not always be able to buy something at Tiffany or Cartier, but most people can afford at least a single macaron at Pierre Herme or Laduree (of course, airfare being what it is, you could do this at a French bakery in your town, even), and feel like a million bucks after the experience of browsing, choosing, and then eating this precious treat.
...and they are so much more. Sweets are indulgence, they are sweetness, they are love. That is to say--not the stuff that keeps us alive, but certainly the stuff that makes life lovelier and more interesting.
While this wasn't meant necessarily as a book pitch, I would like to say that this idea of The Importance of Sweetness In Everyday Life is a large motivation behind my entire website and recently-released book and book tour. It is why I decided to conduct my book tour at bakeries rather than bookstores: so that I could share sweetness--literally--with everyone who is kind enough to show up to one of my events, whether or not they buy the book (no pressure, I promise. OK, maybe a little pressure). That having been said, I hope I will see you on one of my upcoming East Coast book tour dates--find all the dates here, and below:
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November 7-8: Boston
- Monday, November 7: Sweet Cupcakes, Downtown location, (11 School Street) 5-7 pm
- Tuesday, November 8: Eat Cake, Newburyport, 3pm
November 9-11: New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn)
November 12: Philadelphia
- Saturday, November 12: Bredenbeck's Bakery, Chestnut Hill, 1pm
November 14: Baltimore, MD
November 15: Washington DC
- Baked & Wired at 7pm
November 16-17 New Jersey (cities tba)
November 18-19: Chicago
- November 18: Angel Food Bakery, 3pm
- November 19: Bleeding Heart Bakery, 1955 west belmont ave, 11-3 pm.
December 12-15: Los Angeles
- December 13: Yummy Cupcakes of Burbank, 12-2 p.m.
- December 14: Vanilla Sunshine Cupcakery, Claremont, CA 4-6pm
- December 15: Village Bakery Cafe (time TBA)