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Candyfreak; A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America

Candyfreak; A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America

Ratings:

3.81

(308)
|Views: 98 |Likes:
Published by Workman Publishing
Perhaps you remember the whipped splendor of the Choco-Lite, or the luscious Caravelle bar, or maybe the sublime and perfectly balanced Hershey's Cookies 'n Mint. The Marathon, an inimitable rope of caramel covered in chocolate. Oompahs. Bit-O-Choc. The Kit Kat Dark. Steve Almond certainly does. In fact, he was so obsessed by the inexplicable disappearance of these bars—where'd they go?—that he embarked on a nationwide journey to uncover the truth about the candy business. There, he found an industry ruled by huge conglomerates, where the little guys, the last remaining link to the glorious boom years of the candy bar in America, struggle to survive. Visiting the candy factories that produce the Twin Bing, the Idaho Spud, the Goo Goo Cluster, the Valomilk, and a dozen other quirky bars, Almond finds that the world of candy is no longer a sweet haven. Today's precious few regional candy makers mount daily battles against corporate greed, paranoia, and that good old American compulsion: crushing the little guy. Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy—and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up, too.
Perhaps you remember the whipped splendor of the Choco-Lite, or the luscious Caravelle bar, or maybe the sublime and perfectly balanced Hershey's Cookies 'n Mint. The Marathon, an inimitable rope of caramel covered in chocolate. Oompahs. Bit-O-Choc. The Kit Kat Dark. Steve Almond certainly does. In fact, he was so obsessed by the inexplicable disappearance of these bars—where'd they go?—that he embarked on a nationwide journey to uncover the truth about the candy business. There, he found an industry ruled by huge conglomerates, where the little guys, the last remaining link to the glorious boom years of the candy bar in America, struggle to survive. Visiting the candy factories that produce the Twin Bing, the Idaho Spud, the Goo Goo Cluster, the Valomilk, and a dozen other quirky bars, Almond finds that the world of candy is no longer a sweet haven. Today's precious few regional candy makers mount daily battles against corporate greed, paranoia, and that good old American compulsion: crushing the little guy. Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy—and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up, too.

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Publish date: May 2004
Added to Scribd: Feb 03, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781565127135
List Price: $21.95

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10/01/2014

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9781565127135

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Activity (9)

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firecrackerscribe reviewed this
Rated 5/5
LOVE THIS BOOK! Fun, fresh, crazy and indulgent. Very engaging, informative read.
librarybrandy reviewed this
Rated 4/5
It's not going to change the world, but it's a fun book, entertainingly written, and made me crave a Snickers bar like never before in my life.
carolvanbrocklin reviewed this
Rated 4/5
What can I say--he included Bing Bars! I could almost forgive him making fun of twizzlers simply because of the fact that he included them. It was a fun book--just wish that he hadn't decided to add some "adult" humor to evidently try to sell the book to a more mature audience. It wasn't needed and it really took away from the book since it showed just where his mind was half the time.
nlsings reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Steve Almond brings you along on a delicious journey through candy factories of America. As a chocolate lover, I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written, very funny, and very interesting. You could taste the candy through his descriptions. I highly recommend this book, it is definitely worth the read, even if you do not like candy.
jacobsbeloved reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I found this book fascinating from start to finish. While I have not eaten candy every single day of my life, it is not for a lack of trying. I am a true chocoholic, but I have my preferences and personal methods of taste-testing, just as Steve Almond does. He goes into great detail as to his personal candy-sampling habits, and his life-long history with candy all the while traveling the country and exploring some of the many small and struggling candy-making companies. It is easily any kid's dream to be able to walk into and eat so many of these delicious creations with the blessing of the company owners, but it was Steve Almond's genius that propelled him to turn it into a book almost good enough to eat.While the descriptions of the variety of concoctions was delectable enough to keep me enthralled, Almond's tours through the different kinds of factories were both educating and enlightening. Some companies went through great trouble to get every detail exactly right, while others used out-dated methods and equipment, depending on the whim of the people operating it. Some owners cared passionately about their products, while others were ready to give in to the big candy companies and sell out. Still others found a comfortable compromise in sharing their beloved factory with other companies for the sake of continued production.In an economy that can not truly afford the luxury of a non-essential product like candy, Steve Almond shows how such confections still provide the creature comforts that the struggling masses look for to fill the void.
Publishers Weekly reviewed this
The appropriately named Almond goes beyond candy obsession to enter the realm of "freakdom." Right up front, he divulges that he has eaten a piece of candy "every single day of his entire life," "thinks about candy at least once an hour" and "has between three and seven pounds of candy in his house at all times." Indeed, Almond's fascination is no mere hobby-it's taken over his life. And what's a Boston College creative writing teacher to do when he can't get M&Ms, Clark Bars and Bottle Caps off his mind? Write a book on candy, of course. Almond's tribute falls somewhere between Hilary Liftin's decidedly personal Candy and Me and Tim Richardson's almost scholarly Sweets: A History of Candy. There are enough anecdotes from Almond's lifelong fixation that readers will feel as if they know him (about halfway through the book, when Almond is visiting a factory and a marketing director offers him a taste of a coconut treat, readers will know why he tells her, "I'm really kind of full"-he hates coconut). But there are also enough facts to draw readers' attention away from the unnaturally fanatical Almond and onto the subject at hand. Almond isn't interested in "The Big Three" (Nestle, Hershey's and Mars). Instead, he checks out "the little guys," visiting the roasters at Goldenberg's Peanut Chews headquarters and hanging out with a "chocolate engineer" at a gourmet chocolate lab in Vermont. Almond's awareness of how strange he is-the man actually buys "seconds" of certain candies and refers to the popular chocolate mint parfait as "the Andes oeuvre"-is strangely endearing. (Apr. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

2004-01-26, Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly reviewed this
The appropriately named Almond goes beyond candy obsession to enter the realm of "freakdom." Right up front, he divulges that he has eaten a piece of candy "every single day of his entire life," "thinks about candy at least once an hour" and "has between three and seven pounds of candy in his house at all times." Indeed, Almond's fascination is no mere hobby-it's taken over his life. And what's a Boston College creative writing teacher to do when he can't get M&Ms, Clark Bars and Bottle Caps off his mind? Write a book on candy, of course. Almond's tribute falls somewhere between Hilary Liftin's decidedly personal Candy and Me and Tim Richardson's almost scholarly Sweets: A History of Candy. There are enough anecdotes from Almond's lifelong fixation that readers will feel as if they know him (about halfway through the book, when Almond is visiting a factory and a marketing director offers him a taste of a coconut treat, readers will know why he tells her, "I'm really kind of full"-he hates coconut). But there are also enough facts to draw readers' attention away from the unnaturally fanatical Almond and onto the subject at hand. Almond isn't interested in "The Big Three" (Nestle, Hershey's and Mars). Instead, he checks out "the little guys," visiting the roasters at Goldenberg's Peanut Chews headquarters and hanging out with a "chocolate engineer" at a gourmet chocolate lab in Vermont. Almond's awareness of how strange he is-the man actually buys "seconds" of certain candies and refers to the popular chocolate mint parfait as "the Andes oeuvre"-is strangely endearing. (Apr. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

2004-01-26, Publishers Weekly
shmuel510_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This contains the ramblings of somebody who loves candy, and who figures out that he can actually tour candy factories if he's writing a book about them. Despite the fact that Almond doesn't seem to know the meaning of "TMI" (or, for that matter, "relevance"), it's not a bad read, and it gives me hope that I might actually get a book published someday.
cdhtenn2k10 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
A fun book for any foodie, and especially candy freaks (duh). There is some introspection on Almond's part that goes into his personal neuroses, and why his personal life is such a mess, and how it ties into his love of candy. Actually, this adds a bit of the human to the narrative, and does not get in the way of the good stuff: the candy. While I never laughed out loud, I found myself nicely amused by Almonds humor.I would have rated the book higher but Almond has to needlessly bring his personal politics into the narrative. Write about the candy, freakboy.
nielsengw_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Every person in America has something they freak about. For some it's model airplanes; for others it's war re-enactment. Steve Almond's freak focus is candy, and he succeeds at getting the reader just as hyped about it as he is. He professes to have eaten a piece of candy every single day of his life--and he can recall the subtle flavors, textures, and emotions associated with each one. Almond goes around the country, visiting local candy makers, and reveling in both the stories and the free samples that he given by the owners and candy makers he visits. At times, he displays a childish giddiness about his factory visits, but he does manage to parlay his adventures into an outlook on both his past and our future. An excellent read.

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