Monday, March 5, 2007

Steve Almond: Candyfreak

One of my sisters recently pointed out to me that I remember important moments of the past based not on the actual events that took place, but based on what delicious food (most likely dessert) I happened to be eating at the time. She's right:

  • My first terrifying bike ride on the highway: To the "Little Store" to buy Caramellos, Skor Bars, Chewy Sweet Tarts, and Jolly Ranchers
  • Visiting my grandmother in Idaho: Mountain Bars and Idaho Spuds
  • Studying abroad in Budapest: kakaos csiga (chocolate snail), dobos torte (carmel-topped cake), and some spirally, cinnamonny, doughy confection that I have no name for, but will be on the lookout for the rest of my life
  • The night I got engaged: Puff pastry in the shape of a swan filled with homemade ice cream, and an actual gazebo built of chocolate!

Smaller, but no less important events are marked by chocolate mint bars, PB Max's, vanilla walnut fudge, ice cream for dinner...I'd best stop before I feel compelled to go bake something!

Which is, of course, why I loved Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America. This hilarious and informative book is a testament to one man's lifelong obsession with candy, as well as the fascinating (really!) history of candy-making in the United States, and the sad decline of small, regional candymakers.

Warning: this book will make you laugh outloud and fill you with the desire to share endless nostalgic candy-related memories of your youth. Do you doubt me? Check out the archives of Steve Almond's website...there are insane numbers of posts by people who just had to share a fond, funny, or random story about their favorite candy or candy-related incident. You can even post your own "testimony" here.

Candyfreak and Steve Almond online:
Read an excerpt of Candyfreak
Steve Almond Official Website
Steve Almond has joined the ever-popular league of newbie parent blogs with his Baby Daddy blog, devoted to his lovely (and well-named) new daughter, Josie.


Anna Vodicka said... are so right! After long ago mourning the loss of the great P.B. Max to Discontinued Candyland, and eventually forgetting they ever existed, this book made me crave one all over again. It's hilarious and will definitely make you nostalgic for good times (and good chocolate).

Also, for any Seattelites, Steve Almond will be at the Tractor Tavern this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

K. M. Johnson said...

I feel compelled to note that the the proposal desert was created by the staff at the Hotel Bel Air. If I were to construct a gazebo, it would most likely not be made of chocolate, despite my wife's desire otherwise. I should also note, that it took me years to pay off the bill for that great meal.