Symbolic Meanings

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

symbolic meanings of the sweet are many-layered. Foods can accrue symbolic meanings through being shaped into representational forms, through association with their history of use, or through the semantic content ascribed to their characteristic flavors. Sweet substances achieve symbolic meanings in all of these ways, and the content of those meanings manifests some notable consistencies throughout history. One can consider the symbolism of sweet substances in terms of the significance of the taste itself, the meanings attached to the substance that yields the taste, and the uses of sweet foodstuffs in decorative or commemorative shapes.