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i7nxg4nmdoJIIn her book Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, retired Rutgers University literature professor Samira Kawash investigates the surprisingly neglected story of how business and technological innovations turned the U.S. into what a 1907 visitor called “the great candy eating nation.” Candy, she argues, is essential to understanding the history of how Americans eat. It was, Kawash writes, the “first ready-to-eat processed food, the original ancestor of all our fast, convenient, fun, imperishable, tasty, highly advertised brand-name snacks and meals.” For more than a century, we’ve simultaneously gorged on the stuff and felt guilty about it. It’s an intensified version of our ambivalent and fickle attitudes toward abundant, convenient, mass-produced food in general. At Bloomberg View