Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture

Article excerpt

Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. By Timothy G. Roufs and Kathleen S. Roufs. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014. 623 pages. Acid free. $100 (ISBN: 978-1-61069-220-5). Ebook available (978-1-61069-221-2).

What do Torments of Love, Lady's Upper Arms, Sigh of a Lima Woman, and Little Spiders have in common? They are all sweet treats featured in this encyclopedia authored by the Roufs. Timothy Roufs is a cultural anthropologist who teaches food-related courses at the University of Minnesota, Duluth while Kathleen Roufs is emeritus director of advising and retention at the same university. The preface states that the volume "explores this myriad feast of sweets with an emphasis on an anthropological approach that focuses on foods in a holistic, historical, and comparative manner" (xix). The introduction goes into detail about humans' love for sugar, fat, and salt. The types of sugar are described such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose as well as artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin. The authors outline the history of sugar sources from chocolate to sugarcane to honey. The introduction ends with the prospect of creating sweet treats with a 3-D printer filled with cartridges of marzipan, chocolate, and other pastes.

The book starts out with a list of entries of countries in alphabetical order. Many countries are grouped together by region. For example, Southeast Asia includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam while the Horn of Africa is made up of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. …

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