After all the talk yesterday about the Dietary Guidelines’ advice to cut down on sugar, and our sadness at the passing of Sidney Mintz who wrote Sweetness and Power, it’s good to consider just why we like sugar so much. Oxford University Press has an encyclopedia on Sugar and Sweets. But this weekend, for a short and sweet reminder, consider this contribution to the genre.
Andrew F. Smith. Sugar: A Global History. Reaktion Books, 2015.
This is one of Andy Smith’s entries in Reaktion’s Edible series of small, brief, lavishly illustrated books devoted to a single food or beverage.
Andy discussed the genesis of this book in an e-mail memorial to Sidney Mintz.
Sid Mintz had an influence on my professional life as well. In the early 1980s I decided to use sugar as a vehicle to write a history of the world. It was going to be a three volume work: one volume on Southeast Asia/India and the ancient world; one on the Middle East/Mediterranean in the Middle Ages/Renaissance; and one on the Americas and the modern world. I acquired and located thousands of potential books/articles and these were likely just a small portion of the material I assumed would be necessary to examine.