Warning: If you have a visual impairment, use the manuscript transcript version including the Lucy Maud Montgomery’s foot notes and contextual annotation references.

Chapter 25

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“There’s a barrel of it over there,” said Miss Harris, shaking her bangles at it. “It’s the only kind we have.”

“I’ll—I’ll take twenty pounds of it,” said Matthew, with beads of perspiration standing on his forehead.

Matthew had driven half-way home before he was his own man again. It had been a gruesome experience but it served him right, he thought, for committing the heresy of going to a strange store. When he reached home he hid the rake in the tool-house, but the sugar he carried in to Marilla.

“Brown sugar!” exclaimed Marilla. “Whatever possessed you to get so much? You know I never use it except for the hired man’s porridge or black fruit cake. Jerry’s gone and I made my cake long ago. It’s not


"brown sugar!": Contemporary brown sugar is most often made of refined white sugar with molasses added back in.

Historically, however, brown sugar was the sugar derived right from sugarcane, less processed than its white sugar derivative. In the early 19(begin superscript)th(end superscript) century, however, a powerful sugar industry convinced home cooks that the more refined (i.e., more expensive) white sugar was the superior product, even going so far as to release pamphlets with photos of microscopic, harmless (or fictional) microbes and "mites" found in brown sugar. Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book: What to Do and What Not to Do in Cooking (1833) states that, "All brown and moist sugars are low in quality; they contain water and mineral matter, and are sometimes infested by a minute insect" (p. 458). Similar campaigns affected the flour industry as well. Thus, Marilla saves the "coarse" brown stuff for the hired man.