Again, I am reading from a book:
Since sugar seems to satisfy a particular desire (it also seems, in so doing, to awaken that desire yet anew), one needs to understand just what makes demand work: how and why it increases under what conditions. One cannot simply assume that everyone has an infinite desire for sweetness, any more than one can assume the same about a desire for comfort or wealth or power." (S.P.)
It might have been nice to make a thinly veiled symbolic exploration of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty as the four essential tastes. But I cannot adequately do this for one taste, let alone four, since even the one subject keeps bloating itself with ticklish factoids and legitimate allure. Contrary to Mintz's claim, I would say assuming that people like sugar is a perfectly safe assumption to make; a necessary step in his argument, even. I like it very much, even more than the taste should allow. I'd hate to think that I am responsible for Mintz's qualifiers, simply by not being able to get a handle on my opinions.
Instead of a quality, I do see it as shifting among and between people, and as generally inconsistent on my own palate, yet remaining something I always prefer, in varying guises.