Perhaps the first Europeans to fall in love with sugar were British and French crusaders who went east to wrest the Holy Land from the infidel.
They came home full of visions and stories and memories of sugar.
Marzipan was the rage, ground almonds and sugar sculpted into outlandish concoctions that demonstrated the wealth of the state.
A 15th-century writer described an entire marzipan mosque commissioned by a caliph. The Arabs perfected sugar refinement and turned it into an industry. The heat of the fields, the flash of the scythes, the smoke of the boiling rooms, the crush of the mills.
At religious ceremonies priests sipped sugar water from coconut shells, a beverage since replaced in sacred ceremonies with cans of Coke.
“We knew we had to do something,” Kirkpatrick principal Suz Anne Walton told me.
That was seven years ago, when administrators first recognized the magnitude of the problem.
Clarksdale, a storied delta town that gave us the golden age of the Delta blues, its cotton fields and flatlands rolling to the river, its Victorian mansions still beautiful, is at the center of a colossal American health crisis.
When Arab armies conquered the region, they carried away the knowledge and love of sugar.
It was like throwing paint at a fan: first here, then there, sugar turning up wherever Allah was worshipped.