cover image Sweet Invention: 
A History of Dessert

Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert

Michael Krondl. Chicago Review, $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-55652-954-2

A food historian and former chef, Krondl (The Taste of Conquest), combines copious research and skilled narrative in this delightful journey through the history of dessert. “When you talk about dessert you step away from analyzing basic human needs to a conversation about culture,” Krondl writes. He begins his narrative in India, “because of its national obsession with dessert.” Krondl then explores the habits and sweet predilections of the Middle East, Italy, France, Austria, and the U.S. Along this sugar-studded route, readers learn how at one time in France sugar was mainly used to season fish and was used as an additive to foods intended for invalids; why Paris confectioners tried rescuing Marie Antoinette from the guillotine; and why Austrians are the “maestros of cake.” For those who want to indulge in more backstory, Krondl provides entertaining footnotes, a few recipes, and an extensive bibliography for further investigation. (Oct.)