Bittersweet: The Story of Sugar
Allen & Unwin, 2002 - 190 pages
This social and historical exploration traces the history of sugarcane from its home in New Guinea to Shakespeare’s England. Fascinating sugar lore and anecdotes are included, such as how Queen Elizabeth I became so partial to hippocras (mulled wine), sugared almonds, and pastilles that her teeth turned completely black. Explored are the political and sociological impacts of sugar on the world and the tremendous riches available to the unscrupulous few who grew and sold it. The days of manual processing are described, when fortunes were built on the backbreaking labor of slaves. The resulting wars and geopolitical shifts that have shaped the modern world are discussed in detail.