Please Explain: Candy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just in time for Halloween, this week’s Please Explain is all about candy! Samira Kawash tells the story of how candy evolved from a luxury good to a cheap, everyday snack. In Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure she explores the history and cultural history of candy and examines how candy became the most loved and loathed of processed foods.


Samira Kawash

Comments [25]

Robin Datta from Fresno, CA

Another perspective on sugar. Sugar as found in nature comes with its antidote, fibre, not so in artificial concoctions.

Sugar: the bitter truth Dr. Lustig:

Oct. 26 2013 03:02 AM

Lisa ~

Get yourself a European Kit Kat - sugar, no high fructose corn syrup… and, REAL chocolate!!

…a pre-Earla Butz, industrial agriculture, deconstructed corn sort'a Kit Kat. Big dif.

Oct. 25 2013 09:44 PM
Andrea from Philadelphia

She has zero scientific or medical or nutritional information. Sugars in different forms do very different things to people's moods, blood sugar, etc. Refined sugar has been stripped of all of it's nutrients. The body does not recognize it as food. It spikes blood sugar and turns to fat. Honey, especially raw honey is a whole food.

Leonard, I am so surprised that you are supporting this. I hear that a bit of moderation is important, but you seem to support eating whole food for nutritional and other reasons in general.

I think that she represents the main stream and there is a problem among parenting communities that parents are seen as being dogmatic or crazy if they keep their kids' sugar intake down.

I am of the mind that refined sugar is a drug, as you say, and is addictive, causes attention, mood, emotional disorders the way it is used in our country.

I picked up my child from school and she was in a huge rage because she had been given a huge chocolate cupcake for a birthday treat, not having had time to eat her much of her lunch. It clearly affects health and mood!

Oct. 25 2013 04:40 PM
Bill from Tenafly NJ

Is the guest questioning whether sugar rots your teeth or not? I love candy and have paid the price with many cavities and root canals. I limit my children's intake to a minimum to prevent them from having the same problems as I've had.

Oct. 25 2013 02:05 PM
thatigirl from manhattan

Oy. This is why publishing is in the toilet today. If this book is a natural extension of this author's research and POV, it'll be in the clearance bin, a waste of paper, printing and the energy to ship it.

Oct. 25 2013 02:03 PM

I recently tasted a Kit Kat bar, after not having eaten one for over 25 years, and it was nothing like the one from my childhood! The chocolate didn't even taste or smell like chocolate. What I would give now for a Kit Kat circa 1986!

Oct. 25 2013 01:57 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

She can't bull me. Sugar is evil. Like any addiction it leads to no good. I lost 25 lbs on the "Atkins diet" 16 years ago, and have kept it off. There are perfectly healthy substitutes like Splenda. Sugar is like tobacco. It will hurt your health if don't keep it to an absolute minimum.

Oct. 25 2013 01:54 PM
mick from Manhattan

To say an industry "disputes" research that indicates the unhealthyness of its product is FAR from saying that the indsutry PR is more correct or more accurate than the research. Come on!

Oct. 25 2013 01:54 PM
John A

Lets all hope that that caller someday "gets" that health issues and moral issues are the same thing.

Oct. 25 2013 01:54 PM

My Parents were from Europe. as a result, I find most American candy much too sweet!

Oct. 25 2013 01:52 PM
Alan from Manhattan

Some years ago, a scientist friend came to New York from Zurich to give a talk at a college in Hershey, Pa. She had to rent a car in order to get there. The honorarium she received was not the standard hundred dollars, which she could have put towards the rental fee, but a box of Hershey bars. This, to a person from Switzerland!

Oct. 25 2013 01:51 PM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes, NJ

Fighting the Kaiser in the Kitchen

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
— Lemon Tree

Lemon-drops candy was so popular with the doughboys in world War I that the Subsistence Division of of the Quarter-master Corps of the U.S. Army had trouble supplying enough of them, according to the American Journal of Clinical Medicine in March, 1919.
200,000 pounds of lemon-drops were eaten each month, 15% of the candy supplied to the troops.

The lemon-drops were made of pure granulated sugar with an emulsion of lemon rind. "It is found that an extra sour lemon-drop is the favorite with the soldiers. The product made from the formula used has the thirst-quenching quality of lemonade."

M&M's were the favorite of the GIs in World War II. The first M&M’s came in 5 colors in a cardboard tube. During the war, only the military could get M&M’s.

Oct. 25 2013 01:51 PM
Jake from Nassau

I'm pretty sure this guest is overlooking some important factor - candy delivers the sugar in one concentrated dose, which can play havoc with insulin levels and makes blood sugar levels yo-yo. This can cause cycles of over-excitement & fatigue, and even immune system effects.

Oct. 25 2013 01:50 PM

Oh, boy!!

$8 Snicker bars!!

Go, ridiculous food fetish hipsters!!

Oct. 25 2013 01:46 PM

Caller: "How about the crazy cancer-causing chemicals in industrial candy??"

Guest: "Oh, well how about all the chemicals in everything else!!!"

Wow, excellent response.

Oct. 25 2013 01:45 PM

The Psychotic Industrial Candy Apologist.

Oct. 25 2013 01:42 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

What do you know about Jacques Torres? His best product is actually plain, bar chocolate of very high quality. All good chocolate--filled or not--starts with how that's mixed.

Are you on the Hershey's payroll or something with this, "Good old American candy" jazz? America's commercially-made chocolate is low-rent rot these days, devoid of real sugar, cocoa and few chemically-enhanced ingredients.

Thank jah for the French, and the legal definition of chocolate, else we'd all be forced to eat Mars' rot.


Oct. 25 2013 01:39 PM
antonio from bayside

Does the word 'candy' act as a cover to appeal to more people; Example... If you call 'toffee apples' or 'caramel apples, 'candy apples' it may bring in people who may not typically like the former...Candy is generic...

Oct. 25 2013 01:25 PM
JR from NYC

corn syrup may be good for candy but not for people

Oct. 25 2013 01:23 PM

Hersey is too sugary. So is See's. But nothing is worse than Whitman.

Oct. 25 2013 01:22 PM
Nick from UWS

"Oh I'm not interested in the origin of the word "candy", just in what I've written about in my book." What the hell kind of "scholar" is this in her subject, without even the intellectual curiousity to investigate the very name of her subject?? Jesus Christ, what intellectual laziness.

Oct. 25 2013 01:16 PM
Jackie from Manhattan

Please explain the differences between hard and soft ball stages and how to really know I've nailed it. A thermometer or putting a drizzle in water? Also want to know the best way to get creamy, not gritty fudge. Thanks.

Oct. 25 2013 01:16 PM
Amy from Manhattan

And placebo ("I shall please") pills are often made of sugar.

Oct. 25 2013 01:14 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

It sounds like your guest has been dipping into a bit too much candy this morning--or she had a few coffees with Andrea Bernstein. Please turn her mic down!

Oct. 25 2013 01:13 PM
Lon Thomas from High Point, NC

Does this work like fashion, e.g., could you have told me salted caramel would be popular, in the same way as "cerulean blue" is described as making its way through the fashion industry in "The Devil Wears Prada"?

Oct. 25 2013 09:25 AM

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