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Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of Americaby Steve Almond
Synopses & Reviews
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.
A self-proclaimed candy fanatic and lifelong chocoholic traces the history of some of the much-loved candies from his youth, describing the business practices and creative candy-making techniques of some of the small companies.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Some things you should know about the author — Author will now rationalize — Chocolate = enabler — In which an unhealthy pattern of dependence is established — Ill-advised discussion of freak economics — Night of the living freak — Mistakes were made — Caravelle: Elegy — I love Manny — Feeding the beast — Top-secret chocolate situation — Politics of the rack — Last man in America with black jack gum — Capo di tutti freak — Love song of Ray Luther Broekel — Welcome to the boom — There are men upon this earth who tread like gods — Feuilletine, revealed — Freak fetish — Official dark horse freak of Philadelphia — Wee Willie and the pop-a-licks rage — Southern-fried freak — Chocolate haiku — Freak retentive — In the belly of the freak — Unstoppable freak energy of Mr. Marty Palmer — Southbound with the hammers down — Candy bar on your chin — Marshmallow parallax — Depressing but necessary digression — Boise: Gateway to ... Boise — Ladies and gentlemen, the Idaho spud — Huckleberry, hounded — American lunch — How will the spud survive? — Past is just ahead — Remember this name: Banana-zaba — Second depressing but necessary digression — Little hidden bomb in my Idaho spud — Few final relevant facts — Acknowledgments — Freak appendix.
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