Zia Hassan

A Date

When I was young, my parents convinced me that I should fast for at least one of the days of Ramadan. The challenge was a good one, and I grew as a result. 

But at the end of the fast, when all I wanted was a Big Mac, my mom gave me a date. I remember thinking it was gross, and then devouring my Big Mac. I never tried dates again.

Until I tried to make a vegan dessert recently and used dates as both a sweetener and a gooey substance to make the crust of the fake cheesecake I was putting together.

I ended up eating a plain date as I was cooking (I was getting hungry). The sweetness blew me away.

It turns out that I had been eating processed sugar for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to be knocked on your feet by a sweet, natural treat.

It was a bit like listening to a CD after years of hearing compressed music.The highs and lows were more noticeable.

Similarly, with the date, the flavor profile and the sweetness was noticeable. When I eat something like a shock tart, I just numb out. The experience is good in that it’s overwhelming. A hurricane when all you need is a gentle rainfall.

Subtly and beauty are hidden in the sweetness of natural foods.