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Candy: A century of panic and pleasure

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Samira Kawash
1 review about Candy: A century of panic and pleasure


  • Mar 1, 2014
Candy might be empty calories but Kawash has written a satisfying study of the intersection of the history, nutrition, sociology, marketing, and even morality of candy.  Yes, candy is bad for you, we can agree (although candy companies have tried to convince otherwise). but is it bad?

Kawash argues convincingly that candy isn't bad, evil, poison, a gateway drug-or good food, all accusations or accolades directed at the varied products labelled candy throughout the last century.  Part of the problem is the amazing variety of snack items that can be shoehorned into the category.  While a basic definition of candy includes small., sweet, and hand-held, perhaps the essential identifier is that candy is "not food", a scapegoat for nutritionists and nagging mothers who use candy to define what is food.

But this is far from a colorless academic course;  candy after all is colorful and fun. Kawash documents the early history of candy from the rare and expensive entered fruit or nut treat of colonial times to the home made fudge and taffy of the 19th century kitchen to the mechanized (and often dirty) candy factories of the early industrial revolution.  While social perceptions of candy has bounced from fun to fortified food to evil to military ration and back through the centuries, Kawash finds that in recent years candy has lost its identity as other foods have become processed, enhanced, hand-friendly,portable, and between-meals marketable.  Now, concludes Kawash,, the distinction isn't between candy and all other foods, it is between ultraprocessed industrial foods and foods that are still made of basic food ingredients. 

And yes, there is still a place for candy, even in the face of the modern nutritionista soccer moms who stared Kawash down for allowing her daughter to eat a candy snack in front of their children, and gave her the impetus to write this book.  Neither a defense nor a condemnation nor an apologia for candy, this is a fun vindication of its worth and continued existence in the world, the grocery store, and the shelves of your pantry.

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March 02, 2014
Thanks for sharing.
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