|Don't we all, Stitch?|
In an article in the New York Times the book SWEET INVENTION: A History of Dessert was reviewed, analyzing where and when exactly our mild obsession with sweets began in human history. Apparently there are quite a few historical and cultural aspects that have contributed to our modern definition of dessert. Here is a brief summary of how the timeline goes:
1. In Medieval times cooks began adding extra sugar into their savory dishes, making all of the courses of a meal much sweeter.
2. Then, in the mid-17th century a separation was established dividing different dishes into 2 categories: sweet and savory. I should mention that during this point in time meals were service à la française, where all the "courses" of a meal were served at once.
But this still doesn't explain the main question: Why are we so obsessed with desserts?! The explanation is actually rather simple. We are genetically predisposed to like sweet flavors because, according to Daniel Lieberman (a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard), "since sugar is a basic form of energy in food, a sweet tooth was adaptive in ancient times, when food was limited." So next time you're craving that chocolate bar sitting in your kitchen cupboard, don't feel guilty for eating it all in one sitting...after all, that sweet tooth that you have isn't just genetic, it's evolutionary!