Ten Teaspoons of Sugar in My Chocolate?
The recently released revisions of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Health bring the conversation about sugar circling ‘round the measuring cup. These warnings against more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar a day boil up questions about nutrition. Surprisingly, just a century ago, nutritionists touted the benefits of sugar, especially candy.
In her book Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, Samira Kawash unpacks the recipes for today’s sugar addictions. Popular food prescriptions for the early 20th century dished out that “Candy is a nourishing and sustaining food.” Professor John C. Olsen of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC in 1910 served up the idea that candy and chocolate, “contain all the four chief food elements, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and mineral salts and have a higher calorific value than fish, meats, vegetables and fruits.” He frosted his argument for this diet, “Any vigorous adult could make a good breakfast on these chocolate creams and peanuts. … A person living on candy could feed himself on 50 cents a day easily.” The equivalent caloric amount of eggs would cost much more, $1.84 a day. Scientific American similarly fed the public sugar in its issue of July 28, 1917, wrapping the healthiest and the cheapest together.
Candy replaced food. Boxing champion Willie Richie in 1914 declared, “I never let a day go by without eating 12 or 15 sugar lumps or a large quantity of mild chocolate or other kinds of candy.” Cadbury still sells its “Lunch Bar” of peanut, caramel, wafer and chocolate. Klein’s also sold a “Lunch Bar.” Goo Goo Cluster of the 20’s and 30’s were advertised as “A Nourishing Lunch for a Nickel.” A “Graham Lunch” offered a peanut butter and graham cracker sandwich dipped in chocolate. Tootsie Rolls were marketed in pocket sized tubes marked “Lunch.” In 1923 the Sperry Candy Company of Milwaukee launched the Chicken Dinner candy bar.
How lucky I am that my preferred dark chocolate means less sugar in my chocolate.
Mothers and Survival by Chocolate
On the Chocolate Trail, I found amazing stories of mothers and chocolate from World War II. Immigrant Lisa Hoffman reminisced about how her mother insured she had the skills, including chocolate making, to survive. “I carried inside of me all of the lessons my mother had worked so hard to get for me. I could makeRead more ›
Chocolate Trail Broadens: “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” Travels
I am very excited that the NYCs Bernard Museum exhibit, “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” based on my book, On the Chocolate Trail, will now be forging new paths as it travels around the country. We selected On the Chocolate Trail as the book title for a number of reasons. First, it evokes the diffusion ofRead more ›
Talking Chocolate in February
Recent media featured projects on the chocolate trail in celebration of Valentine’s Day and “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” at the Bernard Museum, NYC. Of course, Florence Fabricant’s mention of the exhibit in the New York Times was a highlight. Now, these stories just within the last two weeks: In The Jewish Love AffairRead more ›
Warm Up: 3 Historical Drinking Chocolate Recipes
As temperatures drop, these three historical recipes for drinking chocolate beckon with rich warmth. Bicerin: This very unusual, rich, layered drink of chocolate, coffee and cream, a specialty of Turin, Italy, connects us with memories of the earlier days of women drinking chocolate at the time of Mass. Bicerin is still served at a caféRead more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- Announcing Second Edition: On the Chocolate Trail
- Bat Mitzvah Wants Fair Trade Israeli Chocolate
- Book Optioned: Museum Exhibit
- Bringing Buckeye Candy to Experts
- Chocolate Exhibit Hits the New York Times
- Chocolate Expo
- Chocolate Made My Lunch: Nashville
- Chocolate, Coffee, Tea and Me
- Election 2016: Winning Fudge Brigadeiros
- Hunting for Chocolate: Fancy Food Show, NYC, 2016
- Labor Day in our Chocolate
- Local Chocolate in the South
- No End to Chocolate Exhibits Part III: Visits #3, 4 & 5
- Of Chocolate Exhibits There is No End: Part 2
- On the Chocolate Trail in Brooklyn
- Seriously Tasting Chocolate
- Super Food Chocolate for Super Bowl Sunday: Three Recipes
- That Time Jews Smuggled Chocolate to France — and a Recipe for Basque Chocolate Cake