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A History of Sweet and Chocolate Manufacture.

A History of Sweet and Chocolate Manufacture

Sweets seem to bring back childhood memories for most people, at least in parts of the world where food has been in reasonable supply for many years. Personally, I can well remember the excitement when sweets were taken off the Ration after the last war. The joke was that the public went quite mad and bought enormous quantities of sweets. In fact, the shelves were soon emptied and in our local shop they only had lime boiled sweets left very early on that day! Somehow the eating of sweets seems to conjure up a sort of naughtiness.

How many of us stop to think how some of these confectionery items originated. Some, like chocolates and sugar boilings, seemed to have passed down the years but usually they have been immensely improved in recent times. Others that come to mind, like Smarties, Mars, Aero, Flake, Crunchie, etc, are the result of some clever factory development in both the world of recipes and the machinery involved. Over a period of time our taste preferences have changed and yet throughout recent history all sorts of attributes have been ascribed to the consumption of certain confectionery items.

Mr Lees started work straight from school in a sweet factory and learnt the lore of eating what you fancied whilst at the factory. He has had a lifelong interest in the world of confectionery production and this text shows that. In the book he has set out how the industry and more particularly its products have come to be developed. From his experience he has been able to comment on changing technologies that have been involved in the production of what are popularly called sweets. He traces the making of sweets right back to the ancient Egyptians and his chapter titles run: New foods to tempt the palate; The craft of the apothecary; The great feasts; 'The sweet cane from a far country'; Chocolate in the New World; Plantation life; A new drink of fashion; Chocolate and sweet making on the Mainland of Europe; An honourable trade; But is it pure?; Working life in 19th century Britain; Chocolate for all; A bag of confectionery (boiled sweets, caramels and toffees, chewing gum, jelly babies); Another bag of confectionery (liquorice, lozenges, marzipan, regional sweets, seaside rock); Coat it with sugar; Mixed delights; and New delights for old. Maybe the chapter titles are not as revealing as all that but it is a good read and full of anecdotal material, even down to the story of the rockmaker putting rude words in rock to express his feelings!
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Food Trade Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 1989
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