The turn of a new year always seems to give rise to bad decisions.

When I was a (much) younger man, that meant things like going to a "rave" under the influence of some mystery substance from a buddy's stash and blowing a whistle all night on the dance floor. You thought Tambourine Man was annoying (if admittedly charming)? Hold my Zima.

As a (much) older man, most of my new year bad decisions come these days in the form of resolutions, those dastardly promises we make ourselves to Be Better than whatever we were on Dec. 31.

More often than not, resolutions involve taming my appetites for, well, basically anything delicious, and therefore unhealthy.

Drink less beer. Drink more water. You know the drill.

This year, my partner and I decided to put the clamp down on our refined sugar intake for at least a couple weeks. I'm not the instigator, but I'm supportive. There's no question our December was ridiculously full of cookies and candies. The pandemic didn't cramp our style, although it did cut down on sharing our goodies.

Writing this seven days into our newly sugar-free life I'm cranky, but it's getting easier. And the information we've looked up on what sugar does to our bodies is certainly inspiring/scary enough to keep me going.

Quitting sugar isn't this year's new year bad decision, though. No, that would be our decision to start binging The Great British Baking Show at the same time.

Timing is everything, and it couldn't be worse for delving into the cultural phenomenon built around amiable Brits creating towering testaments to all things sweet. Two weeks ago, we would have cuddled on the couch with some Christmas cookies, or a bowl of ice cream and breezed through a few Netflix episodes judged by lovable rogue Paul Hollywood and the austere Mary Berry. Now we're churning through seasons with nary a treat in sight except on the screen.

I can admit I've probably drooled, and not just because I've fallen asleep during our viewing. (That's no shot at the show, just at my inability to sit on my couch vertically for longer than five minutes). The show is unfailingly charming; its contestants all seeming extremely friendly and supportive of each other. It's certainly not cutthroat enough to be a product of American television executives, and it's all the better for it.

Has it inspired me to bake? No. Do I understand the apparent British obsession with meringue? Again, no. But it's light, fluffy, predictable entertainment during trying times, and I can't wait to keep watching in a couple weeks with a pint of Cherry Garcia at the ready. ♦

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...