Would you like sugar with that?

Last updated 09:56 07/12/2012

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I wear black a lot. It's not a fashion statement, more for an easy life. Everything goes with black. Black goes with black.

It makes for quick decisions in the mornings, especially in the days when I was at the gym or the pool early and packed the work clothes in the gear bag in a hurry, and the habit has continued.

This creates a problem on muffin days, though.

I'm partial to a good muffin, and muffin days have become increasingly regular during the past month or two as the work pressure has piled on.

Most cafes put icing sugar on their muffins. So when I get back to my desk, open the little brown bag and break out the food, I always get icing sugar all over the place. Not sometimes. Always.

Doesn't matter how careful I am, the stuff drifts and falls all over me and my desk. Especially on my pants.

You'd think I'd learn and eat away from the desk, but I'm into that really bad habit of eating while I work. Bad for the digestion, bad for crumbs in the keyboard and bad for icing sugar on the clothes. Maybe I can make that a New Year's resolution. Nah.

I bought a muffin this week that didn't have icing sugar on it. Unusual. It was banana and chocolate chip. I had one last week from the same place that had icing sugar on it. Maybe they just forgot this time. It was great.

I started writing this as I started eating and I haven't had to wipe the "snow" off my pants legs once.

Why do people put icing sugar on sweet stuff? There's usually more than enough sugar in the raw ingredients to keep the sweetness rating right up, so why cover the finished product with a good coating of more of the same?

It's called a dusting of sugar, but it's usually a lot more than that. A dusting is what collects on the shelves after a week of not dusting. The white coating on most of the muffins I buy would equate to three months of not dusting.

It's just for decoration and, like most decorative things, it's an unnecessary add-on.

I've done it to hide burnt spots on things I've overbaked, but it never fooled anyone.

As a buyer, I have failed in my duty to raise the point with any of my suppliers. What's the point? One comment wouldn't make them change their decorating habits, and they are unlikely to put one aside without the white coating on the off-chance I might be in that day.

Here's a suggestion: how about not dusting any until the time of sale and asking, "Would you like icing sugar on that?". They ask if I want them heated, or with butter so it's just one more step.

And there's my helpful tip of the day for the food industry (he said, subconsciously wiping his hands down his pants legs).

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- The Marlborough Express

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