Sugar cubes vs. sugar packets

I’m young enough that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sugar cube in a restaurant. However, I’m curious as to why sugar packets do not seem to be sold for home use. About ten years ago, I was getting ready to move into the college dorms, and I was putting together some basic food and snacks for my room–you know, cup ramen, crackers, hot chocolate, tea, etc. Well, to go along with the tea, I wanted some sugar, but not a huge bag that would spill and attract vermin. I thought that those little packets like you see in restaurants would be perfect. Well, while packets of artificial sweetners were easy to come by, packets of sugar were impossible to find at the stores we checked. I ended up buying sugar cubes, which did the trick.

Well, I was just curious. I’m not actively searching for them now, but can a regular, non-restaurant-associated person buy sugar packets, or are you limited to buying cubes?

This post refers to this column.



And, from looking online, I think that the wholesale cost of sugar cubes(not wrapped) is about the same as packets.

I think you need to find a better grocery store – I haven’t had any problems finding packets for sale. Lots of businesses need them for coffee stations. I’ve seen them at OfficeMax.

Sugar is available in 1 lb. boxes, or even canisters, and does not attract vermin as long as it is stored properly. Those containers are actually more secure and less messy than sugar cubes.

You paid a lot more, for a little convenience. Individual packets are worse, requiring disposal of far more trash.

Aha! Well, perhaps if we’d had the internet back then, I’d have found them :). I’d never even heard of the World Wide Web until I actually got to college and I clicked on this program on the lab computer called “Mosaic”, wondering, “Hmmm, what’s that for?”

Ten years ago, decent offices had coffee-cart service. It’s only recently that executives have become so desperate for money to pay for their trophy wives’ breast enlargement surgery that self-service coffee has resulted in putting things like sugar packets into office-supply stores.

For home use, of course, there is no point in the things.

Sugar cubes, of course, are more expensive. You get a li’l pile of sugar and try to get it to stay in a cube, you can see how it’s labor-intensive.

Is that like the labor-intensive job of filling salt shakers, Dex?

Trying to get the grains to go in those little holes on top?

On a similar topic, I recall from childhood trips to Europe that European restraunts always seemed to have cube sugar rather than bag sugar. Is this still true, or have they also turned to the dark side?

When I first went to Europe, a year after Cecil wrote this column, sugar cubes were predominant in Germany, Austria, France and England. The QE2, which we took over, didn’t have sugar cubes - they had cute sugar rectangular solids.

I remember the rectangular prisms as being far more common than genuine cubes except for the home market, but they were still called “cubes”.