Having a bit of a sweet tooth I simply could not pass up the chance to reading a book on the wonderful world of desserts. In Sweet Invention Michael Krondl outlines how desserts developed in different regions of the world. Focusing on six nations that have wielded the greatest influence on other societies, this book is certainly not, as the subtitle would suggest, a concise survey on the topic, but nonetheless a delicious journey. From India to Italy, from Austria to the US, you find out about the historical and cultural origins of the most common forms of sweet meals in these regions, how they developed over the centuries, and influenced each other across the borders. I liked how the author also includes a view on the importance of the sugar trade, which is obviously an essential part of everything that spells "dessert". A nice touch are the recipes that end each chapter, though you would have to be a pastry chef to actually attempt them. Quite unusual, but making for a colorful reading experience, was how Krondl sets the mood with his elaborate descriptions of times long gone. Unfortunately he does so to a fault, and the focus that should be on the desserts themselves often shifts to narrations on the surrounding ambience, which might be interesting to some readers, but certainly not those who are looking for actual information on the topic. In short: A fascinating journey through the world of desserts!
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