Friday, October 26, 2012

The Candy Season

Candy is a wide term.  There is hard candy, soft candy, chocolate candy, Easter candy, sugar free candy, and the list goes on.  I don't much like any candy that doesn't feature chocolate, but there are plenty of people out there who can't live without their sticks of sugar dust and marshmallows.  Candy is a sugary indulgence that we couldn't possibly live on, but that we can't seem to live without.  Some diet books even recommend  eating a few jelly beans to curb sugar cravings.  A recent challenge on the TV reality show Project Runway had the designers make clothes out of candy, proving that candy can be used to make works of art too.  The stores get their candy push of the year kicked off with the candy gorge of Halloween, followed all too closely by the candy buying rushes of Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter.  It seems like we half of the year waiting for the next candy-filled holiday to be over.   

Candy has become such a staple of Halloween fun, that it is easy to forget that trick-or-treating for candy has only been in vogue in this country since the 1930s, although the roots of it go back to ancient times.  Wassailing, for example, a term usually heard around Christmas was a form of trick-or treating.  Wassailers sing carols in exchange for food or money.  Begging for soul cakes around All Souls' Day on November 1st was common in the middle ages.  Eventually this evolved into asking for candy door to door and these days candy companies make a killing (ha ha) around this time of year, with everyone stocking up on the latest Halloween offerings.  As someone who is big fan of anything that rots my teeth and expands my waistline, I decided to try to indulge my sweet tooth by looking at the plethora of books about candy available at the Albuquerque libraries.  There is everything from candy fiction, to books about the candy industry, to cookbooks on how to make your own candy.

Some candy books to satisfy your cravings:

Chocolate Wars: The 150 Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers by Deborah Cadbury
This book combines the history of chocolate with the history of the chocolate industry.  This is one of the most interesting and informative books I have ever read. 

Candy and Me: A Love Story by Hilary Liftin
Lufin's memoir revolves around her love of candy and sugar (she is not partial to chocolate like I am).  Each chapter tells a story of her life through the candy she remembers it by. 

Dylan's Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life by Dylan Lauren with Sheryl Berk
Lauren's candy store in New York City was the store where Project Runway contestants went shopping for supplies for their candy clothes challenge.  The photos in this book are colorful and show the specials she puts out for the holidays.

Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond
When Almond's favorite candy stopped being manufactured he decided to find out why and discovers the world of candy and chocolate production.  This book about how candy is made is also a wonderful homage to sweets and sugar addicts.

The Candy Bar Cookbook: Cooking with America's Favorite Candy by Alison Inches and Ric McKown
This book is the ultimate candy indulgence.  It also includes a recipe for cake made with leftover Halloween candy!

Also check out:

Candy Apple Dead by Sammi Carter for a mystery series about a candy shop

Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy and How is Chocolate Made? are fun children's books about candy.

Candy! A Sweet Selection of Fun and Easy Recipes by Laura Dover Doran and The Ultimate Candy Book: More Than 700 Quick and Easy, Soft and Chewy, Hard and Crunchy Sweets and Treats by Bruce Weinstein for instructions and ideas for making your own candy.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, a juvenile fiction book about a group of kids who enter a candy making contest.

I hope this brings a little extra sweetness into your life!

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