I have been gradually removing all the sugary holiday treats from the house: cookies, candy, chocolates and cakes.

The newsroom is a good place to relocate such foods as they tend to disappear rather quickly.

Traditionally, this has been so.

Anyone with leftover Christmas, Valentine, Easter or Halloween goodies need only drop them on the round table in the middle of the newsroom to be assured they will not be wasted.

There’s something about an impending deadline that brings out the sugar cravings in a good writer or editor.

If I had to guess why, the reason would have something to do with adrenaline. The closer the deadline, the more furiously we work. The more important the news, the more sugar we consume. It seems to feed the fire.

That goes for salt also.

Potato chips and nuts are good fodder for a late-breaking story, as is coffee.

In the old days, cigarettes were part of that mix. I remember when the newsroom was blue with cigarette smoke, ashtrays overflowing on desks and editors running around with cigarettes dangling from their lips. Some editors kept bottles of liquor in their desk drawers, too, but that was a better-kept secret.

That was years ago, of course.

While we news junkies have mended our ways when it comes to smoking in newsrooms, even the most health-conscious journalists will succumb to a prettily frosted cookie, homemade fudge, leftover apple pie or contributed box of Russell Stover candies.

We have this thing about birthdays, too. Everyone gets a birthday cake, usually an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

In that respect, it’s fortunate that many of our birthdays fall during the spring and summer months.

This is how dedicated we are to securing cakes for our birthdays:

One day I got a desperate call from a photographer who typically collects the cake from Dairy Queen. But on this particular hot summer day, he had driven his motorcycle to work.

He tried to transport the cake from Dairy Queen to the office on said motorcycle, and while en route, the plastic cover blew off the cake, which landed squarely on his face and shirt. He pulled over and rushed, cake in hand, into the first building he could find, which was a medical supply company. He asked if they had a refrigerator, to which they replied that they did, and he deposited the mangled cake there until I arrived to rescue both him and it.

As I drove into the parking lot, I could see two men behind the glass doors, laughing, as our photographer plucked the cake from the fridge and bolted through the doors, whipped cream frosting smeared on his cheeks and clothes.

By the time we got back to the office, the cake was a disaster, but tasted good nevertheless.

As the holidays begin to fade away, sweets have been appearing on that newsroom table.

Yesterday, it was frosted chocolate Christmas tree cakes with candy cane trunks. Today it was a large plate of gourmet chocolate chip and mint cookies, as well as white chocolate truffle candies — all of which disappeared in less than two hours.

I was pretty health conscious, food-wise, through much of 2015, having a sweet treat once a week or so, if that, and then the holidays arrived, laying waste to all my good intentions.

But as each new year is forgiving, allowing us to repair our transgressions, we may mend our ways in 2016 — at least until the next holiday rolls around.

Until then, I’m going to try to do what that nice fellow on public television said the other night about foods we should and should not eat. He advised we shop the perimeter of the grocery store, ignoring the processed food in the middle, and eat a plant-based diet.

While I could argue that sugar cane is plant-based, I’ll just vow to resist the temptation.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 28 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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