In Sweets, Tim Richardson takes us on a magical confectionery tour, letting his personal passion fuel the narrative of candy's rich and unusual history. Beginning with a description of the biology of sweetness itself, Richardson navigates the ancient history of sweets, the incredible range and diversity of candies worldwide, the bizarre figures and practices of the confectionery industry, and the connection between food and sex. He goes on to explore the role of sweets in myth and folklore and, finally, offers a personal philosophy of continual sweet-eating based on the writings of Epicurus. "For anyone with a sweet tooth, Sweets is manna...This history of candy is full of delights."New York Times Book Review "Sweets is an informative, entertaining grab-bag of personal opinion, anecdote and culinary history." Los Angeles Times
The grandson of a toffee maker and the son of a dentist, candy fanatic Richardson considers his book "the first-ever world history of sweets." Although that may be a dubious claim, his work is indeed jam-packed with quirky tidbits concerning Cadbury eggs, candy canes, Caramellos, caramel creams, Charleston Chews, chewing gum, Chewy Mentos, Chupa Chups, chocolate bars, conversation hearts and countless other confections. And while the prospect of an entire book about candy might make any sugar-loving reader feel like, well, a kid in a candy store, Richardson's lengthy account is at times tedious and suffers throughout from too much personal commentary (e.g., a list of his own "top ten sweets" and his idea for a new candy, the bizarre-sounding "ice cream chew"). The London-based journalist skews his study toward European sweets; although he does mention such American classics as M&Ms and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, he spends a considerable amount of time describing "Rock" ("a stick of peppermint-flavoured candy, coated in a lurid pink colour, with letters running through it"), Y&S and other candy that may be unfamiliar to American readers (the book was originally published in the U.K.). He also offers thought-provoking analyses of international candy preferences ("Taiwan is crazy for fruit jelly sweets") and thoroughly examines candy history, tracing its journey from East to West. Richardson hits the mark on occasion, such as when he comments on the importance of candy ("Sweets are the memorials of our innocence"), but his constant personal asides might make readers' stomachs ache. B&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Bloomsbury Publishing USA
November 04, 2003
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