Sweet Tooth: The Bittersweet History of Candy
My second book, soon to be released, was far more work that 99 Drams of Whiskey, but I am far more comfortable with the results. As odd as it sounds about a book about candy, it’s a little more darker in tone, especially in the latter third of the book where slavery and corporate greed dominate the two intertwining narratives.
From a food writer’s perspective, what made this book so difficult was that the major candy houses (Cadbury, Hershey’s, Mars) simply did not want to talk. Where the whiskey distilleries were open and accessible, the corporations behind our favorite candy bars were most certainly not. This isn’t a slight against them, just an observation.
I walked away from this project with mixed feelings about candy, and for the most part I felt (and still feel to some extent) horribly manipulated after realizing what was sold to me. The corporations dress up candy as a simple commodity for the innocent, but the reality is exactly the opposite. Candy is, at its heart, a low-cost luxury, and one that comes with an ethical price-tag that all too many companies are willing to pay.
That’s not to say that I no longer eat candy. I do. But I pay far more attention to my purchases than I used to, and very often paying more than double for candies that can ensure the health and well being of everyone in their production chain – from the farmer of cocoa or sugar, all the way to the workers in the distribution warehouse.
And if there’s any question in my mind about any of those variables, I simply don’t buy the candy. It is a luxury after all.
Here’s what a few of people have had to say about Sweet Tooth:
“Kate Hopkins is excellent company – witty, self-deprecating and intensely curious – as she travels through Europe and the United States in search of the story of candy. Packed with nuggets of fascinating history, it is also a gentle chew on the nature of growing up and a search for her eleven-year-old self, who equated sugar with love and lived for the innocent pleasure of a sweet treat. Hopkins is not afraid to address the darker side of sugar’s history, nor the bland hegemony and cynical marketing of today’s mega-corporations – Cadbury World in England is like ‘an ecstasy trip gone horribly wrong’ – but she is still at heart unashamedly and infectiously in love with candy.” –Matthew Parker, author ofThe Sugar Barons and Panama Fever
“Kate Hopkins’s scrumptious first-person account of her pilgrimage to resolve a midlife crisis by replicating her childhood candy consumption is served alongside her research into the surprising and often bitter history of candy. Hopkins’s post-journey epiphany: Adulthood is when one has the money but has lost the desire to buy every candy in the shop. Sweet Tooth is illustrated throughout with Kate’s Candy Bag sidebars, which describe and rate other treats against York Peppermint Patties: for example 1 York Peppermint Patty is equal to 1 Cadbury Egg but 1,645 black licorice jelly beans. Sweet Tooth indeed!” –Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar: A Bittersweet History
“A pleasing chronology of candy through the ages.” – Kirkus Reviews
How can you purchase this little ol’ book written by little ol’ me? Click on one of the graphics below!
Barnes and Noble