Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Candyfreak (Steve Almond)

This is how I know of Steve Almond: Jim, many years ago, attended Breadloaf, the writer's conference, at the same time that Steve Almond did and enjoyed his work. So now Steve Almond is a household name. If we see his work anywhere, we yell out "Steve Almond!" And after I read his book Candyfreak, I found even more Steve Almond connections. Turns out he grew up in Palo Alto, where I work, and not only that, he grew up on a street right nearby my work. Steve Almond!

Steve Almond is a candybar fanatic. Now I'm a bonafide chocolate lover. And I eat my fair share. But I also know that I am somewhat of a food snob, or to use a nicer word to describe it, a foodie. So I don't eat the brand name chocolate bars. I'm a Lindt, Sharfenberger, organic, local chocolate fanatic. Steve Almond, however, likes candybars in every shape and form (he has a hoarded surplus of the now out-of-production dark chocolate KitKat bars). In his book, he finds out that chocolate makers will actually let him tour their factories (except for the big names because their processes are "top secret"), and he finds himself mesmerized and entranced by the many "chocolate enrobers" on the factory lines.

Now I have to note that Steve Almond does not have the cleanest vocabulary, which adds an unexpected level to the chocolate musings. Also, the book isn't exactly even throughout. It wanders around for a while in the beginning before starting the factory tours. But overall it was still a good read. Steve Almond!

Next book up: Send in the Idiots by Kamran Nazeer

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