Book Release: Sweet Tooth – The Bittersweet History of Candy

The above is not one of my better photographs, but for one taken without caffeine, it’ll have to do.

That being said, I want to let you know that Sweet Tooth is here. Well, not yet, technically, but it is a thing, one that I’ve held in my hand and made me finally give a sigh of relief.  You too can hold one in your hand if you:

  1. Know someone who already has a copy, or
  2. Are willing to shell out some money.

I would be lying if I said that I had no preference for either, as “b” is more beneficial for me, unless you choose “a” and then become a disciple of either the book or myself.

But selling my book is not the real purpose of this post, just a happy benefit. Really, I’m here to point out some basic metrics for you to consider.

- The first idea for this book popped into my head in November of 2009. It is now May of 2012. That’s a time cycle of 31 months from the idea to the bookstore bookshelf.  In that time frame, someone may have (and likely) conceived and birthed two children. I’m not sure why, but this concept astounds me.

- The book itself was fun, but it did burn me out on candy.  99 Drams did the same thing to me with whiskey, and it took two years before I was able to drink whiskey for fun again.

- This was the first book that resulted in my first overseas police incident.

- Several trips did not make it into the book, due to my inability to work them into the narrative. These trips included a stop in Paris, Cologne, and Zurich.

- The one candy that caught my fancy? A well-made gummy bear. America, we are getting screwed on the quality of our gummy candies. The German and the Swiss really know how to make a good one; especially from here.

- As far as cheap candies are concerned, Jelly Babies were a revelation.

- I no longer hate black licorice, but I still don’t particularly like it. If I must have black licorice, I would prefer to have a well made bag of All-Sorts.

- American consumers are finally catching on what good chocolate actually means. I see the same patterns of business that occurred in the brewing industry in the eighties and nineties occuring in now in the chocolate industry.

- I wasn’t all that surprised to find that some chocolate companies are more than willing to take advantage of people’s ignorance on chocolate.

- Candy isn’t as innocent as its marketers would have you believe. If there’s a subtext to the book, it’s that the idea of “The innocence of candy” is, at best, a misrepresentation of both history and current consumption patterns; at worst, an intentional exploitation of our individual penchant for nostalgia. The truth is somewhere between these two points.

- Finally, what I’ve learned is that candy and confections are one of the cheapest luxuries on the planet, one which begs the question of “How little cost is too little to be paying for something that we don’t technically need?”

It was a great joy to research and write the book, and I do hope you enjoy it when you pick it up to read, whether you pay for it or not.  If you want to see more of my thoughts on the book, feel free to visit this page, and consider picking up a copy online.






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