Shorty Got Sweet and Sweet and Low and Low

In Books on December 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Sweet and Low. Everyone knows this as the fake pink sugar that will give you cancer, right? That packet that is uber sweet and tastes so damn fake that it’s probably bad for you. Well, that’s not the truth, it is uber sweet but it doesn’t cause cancer. How did I learn this, you might ask! I read Sweet and Low by Rich Cohen.

Sweet and Low tells the story of Ben Eisenstadt who not only invented the sugar packet, before you either used a sugar bowl or those awful sugar containers which you poured into your coffee, but also invented fake sugar. Well not really invented it, but made it profitable. Grandpa Ben, Rich Cohen is actually related to this man, albeit disinherited from the family fortune allowing him to give an objective, if somewhat narcissistic synopsis,  who makes for a very interesting story, and his son Marvin created saccharine and marketed to diabetics as well as individuals on a health craze. Rich Cohen tells this hilarious and well researched tale of the rise of Sweet and Low, and the demise of it as well, interspersing his story with information about the health craze as well as the conflict between the Food and Drug Administration and fake sugar. This story is extremely interesting because it reads like a novel and discloses the many dirty secrets of Sweet and Low, like the mob infiltration that occurred within the company. It is also a book that was way off my radar and yet I loved it. It was simply sitting there on the library shelf just waiting to be read. If you like historical novels, cough cough Erik Larson, then you will love this book. While not as dark as Devil in the White City, Sweet and Low tells a story that nearly has to be fictional but yet is true.

What I especially liked about this book was that it revealed a lot about the problems within this family, without making me feel creepy. I hate celebrity gossip and the cover of National Enquirer disgusts me, but Rich Cohen tells the story of his family without making me feel like I’m reading gossip. It also appears to be too good. Like these people can’t actually exist because their personalities and quarks are too perfect.  It was a great interesting read.

So, in conclusion, you should read Sweet and Low, you won’t be disappointed.


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