American consumers today regard sugar as a mundane and sometimes even troublesome substance linked to hyperactivity in children and other health concerns. Yet two hundred years ago American consumers treasured sugar as a rare commodity and consumed it only in small amounts. In Refined Tastes: Sugar, Confectionery, and Consumers in Nineteenth-Century America, Wendy A. Woloson demonstrates how the cultural role of sugar changed from being a precious luxury good to a ubiquitous necessity. Sugar became a social marker that established and reinforced class and gender differences. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Woloson explains, the social elite saw expensive sugar and sweet confections as symbols of their wealth. As refined sugar became more affordable and accessible, new confectionsachildren's candy, ice cream, and wedding cakesamade their way into American culture, acquiring a broad array of social meanings. Originally signifying male economic prowess, sugar eventually became associated with femininity and women's consumerism. Woloson's work offers a vivid account of this social transformationaalong with the emergence of consumer culture in America.Another manual promised that with practice, one could make aOrientals, a aThe Finest Chocolate Cream Made, a and that because these ... tried to rival the fine confectioners could not escape the stereotype of being mere amateurs or hobbyists.31 Candy-making manuals, ... that occurred in the nineteenthcentury domestic sphere with increasing frequency, ice cream making often involved the entire family.
|Author||:||Wendy A. Woloson|
|Publisher||:||JHU Press - 2003-04-30|