When my sisters and I were younglings, the oldies rationed our intake of lollies and chocolates. This made sugary treats an effective bribe in most situations. If I didn't fidget in the barber's chair, my reward was a packet of cinnamon-hot Big Red chewing gum. For attending mass on Sunday, the standard payment was a chewy White Knight bar (did I dream it, or did these once contain cardboard stand-up figures of ancient warriors?). That was later revised - in my opinion, downgraded - to a cream-filled Freddo or Caramello Koala. When Mum was in hospital having sister #2, and again with #3, I distinctly remember sis #1 and I being packed off to Grandma's house with whole blocks of Cadbury each (spearmint flavour for me, strawberry for her), on the condition that we behaved ourselves. For us, it was riches beyond imagining - golden tickets to the Wonka factory. Of course, those weren't the only times we had chocs and lols. There was no shortage of teeth-rotters at birthday parties, Easter and Christmas, for instance. But we weren't kids who visited the school canteen or corner shop on a regular basis, and we had zero say in what went into the supermarket trolley. I'm sure I whinged endlessly and chucked countless tanties about this state of affairs. The reality is I was eating healthier than a lot of my classmates, while being taught to appreciate the special nature of the confectionery I did receive. (What Cookie Monster now calls "sometimes foods".) Eventually, my parents introduced a stoppered lolly jar, kept on the top shelf of the pantry, that they stocked with a changing mixture: bananas, barley sugar, boiled sweets, bon bons, bullets, butterscotch, Clinkers, chocolate eclairs, Columbines, Fantales, "foam" lollies, Freckles, green and red frogs, Jaffas, jelly babies, jelly beans (the aniseed black ones were left for my father), jersey caramels, jubes, milk bottles, Minties, mint leaves, musk sticks, licorice allsorts, pineapples, raspberries, sherbet lemons, Sherbies, snakes, strawberries'n'cream, Violet Crumble cubes... If we finished "every skerrick" of our dinner (which always included multiple vegies and usually some sort of fruity dessert), we were allowed 2-3 items from the glass jar, based on their relative sizes. For at least one Lent, the four of us siblings ostensibly "gave up sweets"...except we merely transferred the daily allotment into receptacles of our own, ready to be feasted on when the 40 days were done. We must have gloated over these glycemic hoards too often, though, and in doing so caught Dad's attention. He pointed out that we weren't really sacrificing anything and outlawed the practice. Even that recollection is sweet. I smile to think about how much of what we did as children, whether we were aware of it or not, was focused on achieving the maximum sugar hit.