Growing up in a poor family didn't give me many chances to cater to my sweet tooth. I am a chocoholic from early childhood when I drank mug after mug of hot cocoa on a cold rainy school day while drying off in front of a fire.
Occasionally my mother would scrap enough change together to give each of her children a nickel and we would walk down to the corner grocery store to fill a bag with our choices for the day. As much as I loved chocolate, I knew even at 4 or 5 years old that sweet tarts and bubble gum at 3 or 4 pieces for 1 penny would last longer than 1 Hershey's kiss for that same penny.
But those candy trips didn't happen often so my sweet tooth had to be satisfied with whatever my parents could cook up at home.
My father spent many years as a cook for offshore oil drilling rigs and he was better suited for preparing meals for 100 people instead of the 6 in his family. But occasionally he would decide to make homemade lollipops for us kids. If I think about it now, it probably wasn't too hard a task to mix the few ingredients together and pour it onto sticks lying on sheets of wax paper but to me, it was like someone had dropped me smack dab in the middle of Willy Wonka's factory. Oh the anticipation of waiting to be told I was able to grab my own sucker. To finally clutch that lollipop and be able to bite into that crunchy sweetness was well worth the wait.
But it is my mother's donuts that I remember most growing up. Mother's attempt to provide a special treat for her children came with good intentions but it was the execution that always seemed to be lacking. Preparing the dough didn't take long but when it came to the actual frying of the donuts, Mother had to use the only thing available to her. That was usually old bacon grease or old oil used to fry chicken or fish and then stored in a metal can on top of the stove. Let's just say those donuts came out of the pan with an unusual flavor added to what should have been a sweet treat and not even a hearty dunking in sugar afterwards could quite mask the aftertaste.
There was no complaining allowed in our house where food was concerned since it tended to be a rare commodity so I always said thank you and made the most of a sticky situation. But you can bet to this day if I'm going to indulge my sweet tooth by buying a donut, it WON'T be the fried kind!