I am a food book nerd. Don't put it past me to read recipe books at night in bed, let alone be reading several different books, all about food, at the same time. It's enough to give you heart burn.
So rather than just speed read my way through piles of foodie books, I figured there are a few ravenous readers out there looking for something to sink their teeth into, and that's where the book reviews come in. I won't sugar coat what I think about books; You're getting the whole truth! The first book I'm sharing with you is Sweets: A History of Candy by Tim Richardson. A book written by a man whose grandfather worked for a fudge company and whose father was a dentist. I can feel the internal dilemma from here.
Sweets is a lengthy (nearly 400 pages) history of confection as a whole with detailed chapters on topics like chocolate, medieval feasts, and candy companies. It has a fascinating introduction on the Internationale Susswaren Messe (ISM) which is a giant candy expo, featuring the latest and greatest in the market. With the magical kid in a candy shop appeal I flew through the first chapter of the book...only to come to a screeching head in hands, mouth open, possibly drooling snooze fest called chapter two.
Here's where I have to warn you, this book can only be handled in small bits, or as all Registered Dietitians would say, in moderation. By chapter two, the author's dilemma of dentist meets fudge worker, is apparent in the struggle to find the balance between writing with emotion and strict historical writing. The majority of the chapters are very thorough historical accounts with lots of direct quoting of 'ye-olde-passages', making for a slow and overly detailed read. There are, however some serious gems in each chapter which are titled "Lucky Dip": short passages on specific sweets like Baklava or Turkish Delight. Several of the "Lucky Dip" sections have personal ties with the author's memories and it shows. I would have prefered the book either be made entirely of these sections, or shortened by about 200 pages.
Sweets is going to be a great read for you if you have:
- Major patience.
- A hankering for history textbook meets sugar facts.
- Or, you are okay with reading other books between chapters for a break.
- Americans are sweeter than their Canadian counterparts when it comes to their eating habits. Two studies released by The NPD Group today revealed Americans will increase their consumption of sweet snacks and desserts three times more than Canadians during the next 10 years.