Do you believe it’s possible to have a “sweet tooth?”

My grandmother who lived with us part of the time when I was a child was a wonderful cook — as grandmothers usually are. She loved desserts, and always claimed that our family had a “sweet tooth.”

In a recent article I read that a sweet tooth was thought to be made, not born. However, this article went on to say scientists did research with all ages, ethnic groups, nationalities, twins, slender and overweight people.

Surprisingly to them, they found human beings are born with a fondness for things that taste sweet. Because I was on a “sweets binge,” I decided I needed to try cutting down on them. I decided to give up all refined sugar of any type for two weeks with no exceptions — it wasn’t Lent, either.

I am proud, but surprised, to tell you I did it, and the result was astounding. Though I had promised myself a special treat (a Brides’ Cake Cupcake from the Small Cakes bakery if I did it. When I sped to the bakery at the exact hour my test period ended, I found that I could only take a few bites.)

Since then, I really do not have the craving for sugary items and usually only want a taste of someone else’s dessert at a restaurant. Now, this is not to say I have cut them out altogether. Do not get between me and any kind of cookie!

Guess what the recipes are today. You guessed it — sweet goodies.

These recipes are ones you might have seen before, but are, I think, worth repeating. About a year ago, Longview lost one of our finest cooks, and a delightful person. I had known Linda Graham for over forty years, but really got to know her in the past 9 years at Creative Images.

Her “station” was next to my hairdresser/confidant/advice-giver, Mark Eberhart. Though I have many of her recipes, this pineapple pie is my favorite and the choice of many people who knew her. The pie can be made low-sugar, also.

Linda Graham’s Pineapple Pie1 shortbread crust (use a graham cracker crust if you cannot find shortbread)

1 small package instant vanilla pudding

8 ounces sour cream

1 can (14 ounces) crushed pineapple, including juice

8 ounces frozen whipped topping (like Cook Whip)

Mix dry pudding mix, sour cream and pineapple. Stir in slightly thawed frozen whipped topping.

Spoon into crust, and chill for several hours before serving.

If I had made the following recipe before my “sugar-free fast” I would have failed within the first 10 minutes. I usually make a batch or two of these during the wonderful Texas Shakespeare Festival which is just on the horizon. Start thinking about tickets. The Festival runs the month of July, and is truly one of the best things East Texas has to offer.

Lemon Cream Squares1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind (zest)

2/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup uncooked oatmeal

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix milk, lemon juice and zest, and set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Stir in oatmeal, and dry ingredients which have been mixed. Mix until crumbly. Spread half of mixture in a 7- by 11-inch pan which has been sprayed with Pam. Pat down lightly. Spread lemon mixture over the oatmeal base. Cover with remaining oatmeal mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist and has written three self-published cookbooks. Her column appears in the News-Journal’s Taste section each Wednesday. Write her at or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.