Friday, May 25, 2007


Love, Ann and Jane Drake. 2007. Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy. Illustrated by Claudia Davila.

Sweet is an entertaining, educational book about the glorious story of candy through the ages. With the first entry of their candy/dentistry timeline starting in 6000 B.C. (their choice to use B.C. rather than B.C.E.), noting the Spanish artist depicting the gathering of wild honey on a cave wall to the present day where the authors note that the Jelly Belly Candy Co. makes about 120 million Jelly Belly jelly beans a day, this book truly spans the centuries and the globe. (4, 63) Whether you're interested in chocolate, caramel, ice cream, lollipops, or more international fare, SWEET! offers something for everyone. With informational gems such as the story behind the world's first chocolate chip is full of I-didn't-know-that moments.

Ruth Wakefield took chocolate to a whole new level when she invented chocolate chip cookies in 1924. She ran out of melting chocolate and, like any good cook, found a substitute. She chopped up a Nestle's chocolate bar and discovered that the baked cookie had bits of solid chocolate inside. The cookies were a real hit and eventually she sold her recipe to Nestle in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate. It's impossible to calculate the number of chocolate chip cookies made after that first batch, but like many sweet recipes, it started with a lucky substitution. (53)

Or another lucky discovery, fudge:

In the late 1880's, in a New England women's college dormitory, a group of students apparently set out to make caramel. They botched the recipe but found they liked eating their mistake. They called their candy, "fudge," a popular slang word at the time meaning "foolishness." (35)

Speaking of caramel, did you know that Arabs invented caramel in AD 950, but not as a candy or eatable--but as a product for hair removal. (23)

Full of fascinating tidbits both in their prose and timeline, SWEET! gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at some of their favorite treats.

As a young man, William Wrigley, Jr. sold soap, then baking powder, in the Chicago area. He gave away chewing gum as a gift with every purchase. When he noticed his gum was more popular than the baking powder, he switched products. In the early 1900s, Wrigley was the first to advertise gum on billboards and in magazines. His motto was TELL 'EM QUICK AND TELL 'EM OFTEN. When the telephone became popular, he sent a free pack of gum to every subscriber. By 1910, his advertising was paying off--Wrigley's Spearmint was the top-selling gum in the United States. (27)


Faith 12:23 PM  

I love books like this. I'm just wondering, though, did you feel the need to eat sweets while you were reading? I'm afraid I'd be craving candy all the way through!

Becky 4:34 PM  

I loved the book. I found it full of informational nuggets or gems. I learned so much from reading it. I think because the 'candies' were drawn instead of actual photos...I was able to resist the temptations of extra sweets.

Dewey 8:42 PM  

Mmmmmm fudge...

Sarah Miller 10:15 PM  

If you liked that, try these grown-up candy books:

Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars, by Joel Glenn Brenner

Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America, by Steve Almond


Becky 9:42 AM  


I have read Candyfreak--I loved it! I'll have to try to find a copy of the other. It sounds great!


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