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Sacred Sweet Tooth: The Symbolism and Function of Candy and Sweets in Relig...

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New York Branch of the Anthroposophical Society

138 West 15th Street

New York, NY 10011

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Whether the Sicilian mini di virgini, breast-shaped cakes that commemorate the martyrdom of Saint Agnes, or chitose ame (thousand-year old candy) given on the day that celebrates Japanese children who turn seven, five, or three, sweets function both symbolically and practically in the “culinary philosophies” of each of four major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judeo-Christianity, and Islam. While there are common historical and contemporary meanings and purposes for the various uses of sweets in these four, there are also many traditions that are unique to each faith, establishing distinct group identities. Sweets—desirable, portable, and accessible—can create opportunities for these diverse identities to be shared with, and even understood by, others.

Constance Kirker is a retired professor of art history at Penn State University, instructor at Culinary Institute of America in Singapore, and culinary historian. She is a master gardener and the co-author of Edible Flowers: A Global History (Reaktion, 2016) and the forthcoming The Cherry Tree, a Social, Cultural, and Natural History (Reaktion.)

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New York Branch of the Anthroposophical Society

138 West 15th Street

New York, NY 10011

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