Sweet Tooth: The Bittersweet History of Candy

Kate Hopkins, Author
Kate Hopkins. St. Martin's, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-66810-5
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-250-01119-0
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In this semisweet volume, Hopkins—best known for her book, 99 Drams of Whiskey, and her food blog, The Accidental Hedonist—unwraps candy by exploring its history and detailing her trips to a few sweetmeats meccas. Hopkins jets to Palermo, Italy, where she uncovers a brief history of the torrone (which dates back to a wedding in 1441); Pontefract, England, "home to all things licorice;" and Hershey, Penn., land of the ubiquitous chocolatier. Though Hopkins was once a stand-up comic, her shtick gets old pretty quick—the bulk of her travels is spent wandering around, finding candy, and heading home to chow down. Balancing out her quest for confections are investigations into the bitter side of the industry—Hopkins discusses the candy complex's role in the slave trade, shutting out small businesses, child trafficking, and other social ills. Interspersed throughout are bitesized bits of wit and trivia from "Kate's Candy Bag:" "candy corn was created in the late 1800s as a means to disappoint future generations of children as they went door to door trick or treating;" M&M's were invented for the troops of WWII. Though occasionally fun and informative, Hopkin's pop history—like candy corn—is ultimately disappointing. (May)
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