The Project

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

So, how to create a compendium that would bring all this together, to celebrate the allure of things sweet while recognizing the despicable aspects of human activity; to laud sugar’s ability to inspire creativity and technological innovation while also acknowledging its detrimental effects? How to marvel at the symbolism of the sweet in ritual and art while at the same time confronting the menace of addiction and the cynical manipulations of sugar lobbies whose sole purpose is to ensure that sugar remains a profitable force in the world economy? The notion of the sweet has brought richness to language and art, and of course to the realm of gastronomy. But is it possible to exalt pleasure without trivializing its costs? Such questions concerned me as I began to conceptualize what an encyclopedic companion to all things sweet could be. With the help of the project’s brilliant editorial director, Max Sinsheimer, and of our inspired editorial board, the Companion grew to nearly 600 entries that explore the human predilection for the sweet from every possible angle. These entries reveal how the desire for sugar has, over the ages, led to great changes in culture, society, and technology—for better and for worse.