Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America’s Favorite Pleasure
Sweetest Day, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Graduations, Weddings, Birthdays all are celebrated with candy. Candy is so ubiquitous that it lurks in our vending machines, ready for purchase any time one needs to satisfy the cravings of a sweet tooth. It is used to celebrate friendship, love, or job well done. It is so much a part of not only our diet, but also our culture that it is difficult to imagine life without the sweet decadent candy.
Part personal memoir and part history of candy, this book traces the origins and development of candy – both chocolate and non-chocolate – primarily in the United States. It starts with the Native American Indians who needed the sugary treats as a means of nourishment and survival to the early twenty first century where it is intertwined with American popular culture (imagine Halloween without candy).
The historical narrative is chronological, easy to read and filled with factoids that would delight readers interested in historical trivia. The historical narrative sometimes digresses to vignettes of incidents from the author’s life. While how connected these incidents are to the overall narrative is questionable, these events do relate (at least peripherally) to candy. The text is adorned, rather than enhanced, by greyscale pictures. These pictures would benefit from a description, photo editing (some are low resolution, and others need to be rotated), and color. In one instance, the same low-res image is duplicated. Some of the websites in the reference are now dead links. This review is based on an advanced reading copy, not the released publication. The centerpiece of this book – the historical narrative – makes the book, despite its flaws, a worthwhile read.