The Suitcase Lady


February 16, 2016, 8:58 pm

I spotted a small, framed quotation in my favorite pastry shop last week…

Technology becomes obsolete, chocolate never.

The sweet truth of this brought a smile to my face, even though I confess to usually favoring a caramel flavored dessert over a chocolate one. My preference for caramel doesn’t imply that I don’t like chocolate. In my opinion, anyone not liking chocolate is highly suspect.

People and all other mammals are hard wired to like certain tastes. It’s all about survival: we spit out the bitter tastes which might poison us and crave the tastes that might nourish us. For plant eaters and omnivores, carbs (glucose or sugar) are essential for nutrition, hence taste buds for sweetness.

Two genes are responsible for discerning sweet tastes. They encode two proteins that combine to form a sensor which detects sugar molecules. In some totally meat eating animals, these genes have mutated to be non functioning.

Cats, both large and small, are hyper carnivores and cannot taste sweets. So when kitty starts begging to lick the remains out of your ice cream dish, she isn’t craving sweetness, but fat. Spotted hyenas, bottlenose dolphins and many seal species also lack the ability to taste sweetness.

Some carnivores, those that sometimes stray from their meat diets, do retain their sweet sensing genes. Dogs know that ice cream is sweet. And every night the Tooley Cafe hosts a band of meat eaters with an incredible penchant for sugar. No burnt batch of cookies or stale piece of cake is ever wasted at our house. The raccoons always eat dessert first.


For those of us with 10,000 taste buds (cats have 470, dogs have 1,700 and cows have 25,000), here is a splendid and easy recipe for Chocolate Fudge Bars.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
5 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs, flour, cocoa and vanilla.
Pour into an 8 inch round or square pan.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Cut into small squares.

Don’t feed to cats.