Before the English arrived, and for some time after, there were no honeybees in North America, therefore no honey to speak of; for a sweetener, Indians in the north had relied on maple sugar instead.
Who now would think of sweetness as a “noble” quality? At some point during the nineteenth century, a hint of insincerity began to trail the word through literature, and in our time it’s usually shadowed by either irony or sentimentality. Overuse probably helped to cheapen the word’s power on the tongue, but I think the advent of cheap sugar in Europe, and perhaps especially cane sugar produced by slaves, is what did the most to discount sweetness, both as an experience and as a metaphor. (The final insult came with the invention of synthetic sweeteners.) Both the experience and the metaphor...
Between bites Isaac gazed up at me in amazement (he was on my lap, and I was delivering the ambrosial forkfuls to his gaping mouth) as if to exclaim, “Your world contains this? From this day forward I shall dedicate my life to it.” (Which he basically has done.)