Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America's Favorite Pleasure (Paperback)

Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America's Favorite Pleasure By Susan Benjamin Cover Image

Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America's Favorite Pleasure (Paperback)


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There’s more to candy than its sugary taste. As this book shows, candy has a remarkable history, most of it sweet, some of it bitter. The author, a food historian and candy expert, tells the whole story—from the harvesting of the marshmallow plant in ancient Egypt to the mass-produced candy innovations of the twentieth century. Along the way, the reader is treated to an assortment of entertaining facts and colorful characters. These include a deposed Mexican president who ignited the modern chewing gum industry, the Native Americans who created pemmican, an important food, by mixing fruit with dried meat, and the little-known son of a slave woman who invented the sugar-processing machine still in use today.

Susan Benjamin traces people’s changing palate over the centuries as roots, barks, and even bugs were savored as treats. She surveys the many uses of chocolate from the cacao bean enjoyed by Olmec Indians to candy bars carried by GIs in World War II. She notes that many candies are associated with world’s fairs and other major historical events. 
Fun and informative, this book will make you appreciate the candy you love even more by revealing the fascinating backstory behind it.
Susan Benjamin is a candy historian and owner of True Treats Candy, the nation’s only research-based historic candy company. Benjamin gives candy-tastings and talks to museums, historic societies, and other venues throughout the nation and consults with television shows and museums, among others. She has appeared on Fox News, NBC News, Voice of America, and many other radio and television productions, including a history-based production on Destination America. Articles about her work have appeared in such places as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Arizona Republic, and the Sacramento Bee, and True Treats Candy was listed by Food Network Magazine as one of the nation’s top 50 “Sweet Spots.” This is her tenth book.

Product Details ISBN: 9781633881402
ISBN-10: 1633881407
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication Date: March 15th, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English
“Who knew candy was so closely interwoven with the very fabric of American culture? Sweet as Sin takes us on a stirring journey through the evolution of confections, from the early innovations of the Native Americans to the industrialized candy craze of the twentieth century. Infused with wit and candor, the writing explores the intriguing backstory of our guiltiest pleasure and the extraordinary relationship between candy and American history.”

—Tucia Lyman, television director, and executive producer for historic recreations

“Here’s what is so fantastic about Sweet as Sin: you think you’re just going to be reading about the history of candy, but intertwined you find so many untold stories of the history of America. Sweet as Sin is filled with exciting stories of slavery, spies, inventors, and men and women who helped shape and define America in their quest to succeed; and how glad are we that they did? Thanks to them we have delicious, heavenly sweet candy, in every size, shape, color, and flavor! Sweet as Sin will be the ‘candy bible’ in my museum stores. Thank you, Susan Benjamin, for making my job so much fun!”

—Michele Schulz, visitor services manager, Days of ’76 Museum

“Susan Benjamin has delivered a witty and charming account of candy’s rise to sweetheart status in American society. Shifting between personal anecdotes and big-picture narrative, Sweet as Sin provides an engaging blend of micro- and macro-history. This book claims to be a history of candy, but actually delivers more than it promises, serving up healthy doses of social, cultural, and environmental history along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I appreciated the author’s efforts to preserve both the history of candy and the memories she and so many other Americans associate with confections.”

—Dr. Keith Alexander, assistant professor of history, Shepherd University

Sweet as Sin is a delightfully delicious look at the history of candy. It is a wonderful journey from start to finish and is filled with intriguing facts, pictures, and anecdotes. This is a must-read for anyone with a sweet tooth!”

—Jonathan Clough, director of marketing, SWEET! Hollywood 

“Superbly sweet! Benjamin brings her passion and love for all things sweet and delivers a meticulous account of how candy became a powerful force in our early and modern societies. Every candy connoisseur can revisit the sweets of their youth in detail.”

—Steve Weiss, competitive chef and sugar artist on Food Network and director, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College culinary program 

“Who knew that a book on candy could contain so much fascinating history? Susan Benjamin’s wonderfully written chronicle of America’s love affair with candy is edifying, entertaining, and delicious!”
—Susan Erony, independent scholar of art history