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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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proverbs abound in all cultures, and those involving food are among the most common. Given their desirability, sweet foods are featured more often than not. The reason is that the realm of proverbs is the familiar: their purpose, after all, is to render abstract conventional wisdom into concrete and memorable forms by invoking everyday objects and situations. Few things are as familiar to a community as its food culture; hence the kitchen, dining room, and taste buds are frequently mined in the creation of proverbs. For example, in the sixteenth century, the sage counsel that mere words cannot bind people became the proverb “Promises are like pie crusts—made to be broken.” In the early eighteenth century, the truism that people have hidden agendas inspired the saying “He woos for cake and pudding.” In the late eighteenth century, the notion that things are defined by their opposites prompted the maxim “Every white has its black and every sweet has its sour.”