Sweets: A History of Candy
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Sweets: A History of Candy

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In Sweets, Tim Richardson takes us on a magical confectionery tour, letting his personal passion fuel the narrative of candy's rich and unusual history. Beginning with a description of the biology of sweetness itself, Richardson navigates the ancient history of sweets, the incredible range and diversity of candies worldwide, the bizarre figures and practices of the confect...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 5th 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published February 18th 2002)
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Sarah
I am a candy store owner, and as such, I try to read at least one candy-themed book a year. This was my candy book for 2013. I was a bit wary, due to some of the more negative/critical reviews here, and I recall (but can’t specifically find) a less than glowing mention on The Candy Blog. However, I did not realize until I physically had the book in hand, that the author was British. His candy world view is therefore a bit different from we Americans’. I did not notice a problem with commas, or l...more
Brandy
If I retain even half the information in this book, I'd be surprised. He spends a long time on the history of the sugar trade and the early uses of it, which gets a little dry and repetitive, but then it picks up again once he starts getting into the chronology of candy.

Biggest quibbles: how impressed the author was with himself (how many times did he refer to himself as an "international confectionery historian"?), and the lack of serial commas. I understand that this book was published in Engl...more
Aaron Fust
Sweets: A History of Candy was an educational and entertaining nonfiction work about, and also written by, Tim Richardson, a so-called candy connoisseur, who traveled around the world and explored the origin of candy. Richardson starts by examining sweets at the molecular level and what makes them appealing to people. In addition to this, there is also an uncovering of where and when candy originated, the differences in candies throughout the world, and how distinct candies became popular. Then...more
Allison
This book was pretty dull and not very well organized. A few pictures to depict the candies and sweets he was describing would have been helpful. It's repetitive and took me a long time to get through because of it. My favorite factoid was that someone invented what was called a "Borne Sucker Machine" :)
Rory
This was..dare I say...kinda boring. And way too British for an American candy-lover (candy's something that, if you love it, you also love the vocabulary of it...and you want the cultural details to match up!).
Meave
Charming and informative, adorable!
Emily
This should have been called either: 'A History of Sugar' or 'A History Focused on British Candy'. It was sooooooo boring. I, a person who loves loves loves candy/sugar/chocolate and books about such, was bored out of my mind. The book had detailed lists of how much sugar was taken on trips by kings in the 1600s and other blah blah blah stuff.

I think that if I was British or had ever been to England, that maybe I would have been more intrigued. But when the author goes on and on about wonderful,...more
^
I love both making sweets, especially toffee, fudges, flavoured fondant creams (esp. chocolate coated), and Edinburgh rock; but I struggled with this disappointing history. Maybe a sweet of the past elicits only sadness of that which is gone forever; so the only good sweet is a confection of the present?

I suspect too that chocolate is a very personal taste. Like fine wine, somebody else’s tasting notes on chocolate are utterly useless to me, because we clearly do not share the same childhood con...more
April
I picked this up at a library book sale and was very pleasantly surprised. I love the author's wit and humor. I found myself laughing a lot. There was just enough detail without it being overdone and boring. He covers the very beginning of candy or "sweets" 100's of years ago, right through to the present day. He covers sweets from almost every continent in detail including some bakery-type sweets.

Because the author is British, he wrote a lot about British candies (rhubarb and custards, rock, et...more
David Hebblethwaite
I’m partial to a bit of quirky social or cultural history; so much the better if, like Joe Moran’s On Roads, it can reach a little deeper than its immediate subject. Sweets is not on the same level as Moran’s book – perhaps inevitably, given that its subject matter is rather frivolous – but it is fun and interesting.

Tim Richardson takes a broadly chronological approach, with brief asides to focus on particular kinds of sweet. I find the book’s account of the early history of sweets a little dry...more
Susannah
Perhaps I have very high standards both for food writing and for historical writing, but this was disappointing. I started it years ago and put it down and then picked it up again as bedtime reading. It's a weird mixture of personal anecdote/opinion, history and description. Normally I would like such a grab bag of genres but I lost the chronology in the mix and the 'story' wasn't compelling enough to create it's own thread. The parameters of his topic seem very fuzzy and I sometimes wasn't cert...more
Jennifer Quail
Everything you ever wanted to know about candy! While it probably loses something for an American reader, as much of the history is Anglo-centric, it's still a fascinating trip through humanity's love affair with sugar. Though it did lead to my ill-advised attempt to recreate Scottish rock at home. (Hint: Bad idea if you have an only-moderately-accurate candy thermometer and no patience.)
Sharon
Took me more than a year to read; last 100 pages easier than the first 200. Thick with detail and anecdote and history, hard core facts. Candymakers are curious! And what a business! I feel much more informed about something I took for granted, sweets! Curious that I finished reading "Sweets" on Valentine's Day!
Erica
While this wasn't a bad read, the style was staid and the material got fairly redundant. You've got to be really interested in candy to sit down and read this straight through. It's not bad to pick up and put down on occasion, though. To be honest, I'm not sure I completely finished it.

It's very British.
Kate
Thoroughly enjoyable, from start to finish. I started reading "Sweets" while I was waiting for a plane in Baltimore. By the second page, I was wandering the airport in search of a sweet. Tim Richardson truly is a lover of candy, and his passion comes across loud and clear--it's infectious!
Liz
I bought this book on a whim in a used book store and I found myself really enjoying it. After reading his chapter on Toblerones I craved them for about three months and I still fervently desire to get myself some rose flavored turisk paste.
Sally
Love the fonts, chapter headers and title page styles. It's like reading a Farrell's menu!

***

Didn't finish - fairly dense material! Was in the mood for lighter material, I suppose; nougat as opposed to gobstoppers! lol
Kelly Bolin
There seemed to be a lot of interesting information in here but the author did his best to make it extremely dry, and with his writing style (that seemed to jump all over within chapters) it was a difficult read.
Vintagebarrio
This is not for the faint of heart. It's a seriously dense read, but worth it if you really love the subject. Generally funny. Fascinating research. Slightly tedious at points, but exhaustive.
Paige
Writing is okay, but as a true lover of candy, this book was a treat. It's about the history of candy marketing, manufacture, and (naturally) consumption. This is the kind of nonfiction I can handle.
Diane Cameron
I'm afraid I lost interest in this one. I thought it might be more fun that it was. Actually it turns out I'm really not that interested in the history of sweets. Oh well.
Michael
Claiming to be the first international history of the manufacture and of course eating of confectionery.

A bit repetitive in places, but it was an interesting read.
John
More of a global focus than (the American) "Candyfreak" - gets kind of bogged down in historical detail, but rallies at the end for a view of "sweets around the world".
Nicole G.
There are actually candy historians! A well-written, fun look at candy around the world, from its inception to the present day.
Annie
Dec 15, 2011 Annie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
i love non-fiction and I love candy, but I thought this book was a total snooze.
Monica
Informative, but dry.
Diana
Diana marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Carla
Carla marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2014
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