What Claim Do The Authors Make In This Passage? Sugar Farming Is A Modern Version Of Honey Farming. Sugar Cane Has To Be Boiled In Order To Make Sugar. Sugar Production Requires A Great Deal Of Workers. This Method Of Making Sugar Is Thousands Of Years Ol (2023)

1. What claim do the authors make in this passage? Sugar farming ... - Weegy

  • Sugar farming is a modern version of honey farming. Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar. Sugar production requires a great deal of workers. This ...

  • What claim do the authors make in this passage? Sugar farming is a modern version of honey farming. Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar. Sugar production requires a great deal of workers. This method of making sugar is thousands of years old.

2. Solved: What claim do the authors make in this passage? Suga[algebra]

  • Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar. Sugar production requires a great deal of workers. This method of making sugar is thousands of years old.

  • Answer to What claim do the authors make in this passage? Sugar farming is a modern version of honey farming. Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar

3. Solved: sage from Sugar Changed the World. What claim do the[algebra]

  • hat flows into the boiling room. There, Sugar production requires a great deal of workers. and the clock, workers cook and clean the This method of making sugar ...

  • Answer to sage from Sugar Changed the World. What claim do the authors make in this passage? to make a lot of sugar is to engineer a Sugar farming is a modern v

4. Which text evidence best supports the authors' claim? "A plantation was ...

  • Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar. Sugar production requires a great deal of workers. This method of making sugar is thousands of years old.

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5. What claim do the authors make in this passage sugar changed the world?

6. "Sugar Changed the World" Unit Test Review - JeopardyLabs

  • This method of making sugar is thousands of years old. ... Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar. Sugar production requires a great deal of workers.

  • Read the passage from Sugar Changed the World.The only way to make a lot of sugar is to engineer a system in which an army of workers swarms through the fields, cuts the cane, and hauls the pile to be crushed into a syrup that flows into the boiling room. There, laboring around the clock, workers cook and clean the bubbling liquid so that the sweetest syrup turns into the sweetest sugar. This is not farming the way men and women had done it for thousands of years in the Age of Honey. It is much more like a factory, where masses of people must do every step right, on time, together, or the whole system collapses.What claim do the authors make in this passage?Sugar farming is a modern version of honey farming.Sugar cane has to be boiled in order to make sugar.Sugar production requires a great deal of workers.This method of making sugar is thousands of years old., Read the passage from Sugar Changed the World.No one could have seen it at the time, but the invention of beet sugar was not just a challenge to cane. It was a hint—just a glimpse, like a twist that comes about two thirds of the way through a movie—that the end of the Age of Sugar was in sight. For beet sugar showed that in order to create that perfect sweetness you did not need slaves, you did not need plantations, in fact you did not even need cane. Beet sugar was a foreshadowing of what we have today: the Age of Science, in which sweetness is a product of chemistry, not whips.In 1854 only 11 percent of world sugar production came from beets. By 1899 the percentage had risen to about 65 percent. And beet sugar was just the first challenge to cane. By 1879 chemists discovered saccharine—a laboratory-created substance that is several hundred times sweeter than natural sugar. Today the sweeteners used in the foods you eat may come from corn (high-fructose corn syrup), from fruit (fructose), or directly from the lab (for example, aspartame, invented in 1965, or sucralose—Splenda—created in 1976). Brazil is the land that imported more Africans than any other to work on sugar plantations, and in Brazil the soil is still perfect for sugar. Cane grows in Brazil today, but not always for sugar. Instead, cane is often used to create ethanol, much as corn farmers in America now convert their harvest into fuel.Which sentence best states the authors' claim in this passage?Today we have many sources of sugar, but sugarcane is still the best source.Advances in the production of sweeteners hastened the end of involuntary servitude.The Age of Science has made the role of modern chemists similar to the former role of slaves.Brazilians make ethanol from sugarcane because they cannot grow corn successfully., Read the passage from Sugar Changed the World.From the 1750s on, sugar transformed how Europeans ate. Chefs who served the wealthy began to divide meals up. Where sugar had previously been used either as a decoration (as in the wedding feast) or as a spice to flavor all courses, now it was removed from recipes for meat, fish, and vegetables and given its own place—in desserts. Dessert as the extremely sweet end to the meal was invented because so much sugar was available. But the wealthy were not the only ones whose meals were changing. Sugar became a food, a necessity, and the foundation of the diet for England's poorest workers., Read the passage from Sugar Changed the World.The Muslims worked out a new form of farming to handle sugar, which came to be called the sugar plantation. A plantation was not a new technology but, rather, a new way of organizing planting, growing, cutting, and refining a crop. On a regular farm there may be cows, pigs, and chickens; fields of grain; orchards filled with fruit—many different kinds of foods to eat or sell. By contrast, the plantation had only one purpose: to create a single product that could be grown, ground, boiled, dried, and sold to distant markets. Since one cannot live on sugar, the crop grown on plantations could not even feed the people who harvested it. Never before in human history had farms been run this way, as machines designed to satisfy just one craving of buyers who could be thousands of miles away.On a plantation there were large groups of workers—between fifty and several hundred. The mill was right next to the crop, so that growing and grinding took place in the same spot.Which text evidence best supports the authors' claim?"A plantation was not a new technology but, rather, a new way of organizing planting, growing, cutting, and refining a crop.""By contrast, the plantation had only one purpose: to create a single product that could be grown, ground, boiled, dried, and sold to distant markets.""Since one cannot live on sugar, the crop grown on plantations could not even feed the people who harvested it.""The mill was right next to the crop, so that growing and grinding took place in the same spot."

7. TIME REMAINING 38:48What Claim Do The Authors Make In This ...

  • TIME REMAINING 38:48. What claim do the authors make in this passage? Sugar farming is a modern version of honey farming. Sugar cane has to be boiled in ...

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  • Answer:Sugar production requires a great deal of workers.Explanation:A claim is an affirmation that someone does without evidence or proofs. In this case, the authors

8. 01:48:33 Id. What claim do the authors make in this - Brainsanswers

  • May 14, 2023 · 01:48:33 Id. What claim do the authors make in this passage? er a rough crushed re, an the into the n and e Age of asses of. O Sugar farming ...

  • ✅ answer: 01:48:33 Id. What claim do the authors make in this passage? er a rough crushed re, an the into the n and e Age of asses, oh i didn t know thx for tell me hallelujah

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10. From Captivity to Fame or The Life of George Washington Carver

  • Merritt, Raleigh H. (Raleigh Howard). Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities supported the electronic publication of this title. Text ...

  • From Captivity to Fame or The Life of George Washington Carver. By Raleigh Howard Merritt

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  • 2019. The Sugar Revolution in New England: Barbados, Massachusetts Bay, and the Atlantic Sugar Economy, 1600-1700. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, ...

12. [PDF] A History of the World in 6 Glasses

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  • I do not know if coffee and sugar are essential to the happiness of Europe ... has been depopulated so as to have land on which to plant them; Africa has ...

  • I do not know if coffee and sugar are essential to the happiness of Europe, but I know well that these two products have accounted for the un happiness of two great regions of the world: America has been depopulated so as to have land on which to plant them; Africa has been depopulated so as to have the people to cultivate them. —from Volume 1 of J. H. Bernardin de Saint Pierre's Voyage to Isle de France, Isle de Bourbon, The Cape of Good Hope.. ■ With New Observations on Nature and Mankind by an Officer of the King (1773) This engraving by William Blake, Europe Supported by Africa and America, was commissioned by J. G. Stedtna.ii for the finis page of his book Narrative of a five years' expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (London: J. Johnson JSC J. Edwards, 1796). (Photo courtesy of Richard and Sally Price) SIDNEY W. MINTZ SWEETNESS and POWER THE PLACE OF SUGAR IN MODERN HISTORY ELISABETH S1FTON BOOKS PENGUIN BOOKS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS to Elise LeCompte, who surely worked as hard on the book as I did, before emigrating to graduate school. Marge Collignon typed the final draft with skill and celerity. Dr. Susan Rosales Nelson worked swiftly and efficiently in preparing the index. To the librarians who showed me unfailing kindness at the Van Pelt Library (University of Pennsylvania), the British Library, the Wellcome Institute of Medicine Library, the Firestone Library {Princeton University), the Enoch Pratt Free Public Library of Baltimore, and, above all, the Milton S. Eisenhower Library (The Johns Hopkins University), I owe more than I can say. A special salute to the staff of the Interlibrary Loan Department of the Eisenhower Library, whose industry, dedication, and efficiency are unmatched. Many good friends read and criticized portions of the manuscript at different points in its preparation. Among them I must mention my colleague Professor Ashraf Ghani, as well as Dr. Sidney Cantor, Professor Frederick Damon, Professor Stanley Engerman, Dr. Scott Guggenheim, Dr. Hans Medick, and Professor Richard Price. Rich and detailed critical commentary on the entire manuscript came from Mr. Gerald Hagelberg, Professor Carol Heim, Mr. Keith McClelland, Professor Rebecca J. Scott, Professor Kenneth Sharpe, and Dr. William C. Sturtevant. I have not been able to deal adequately with all of their criticisms and suggestions, but their help improved the text more than they will probably recognize. Special enlightenment was volunteered by a veteran member of the sugar tramp fraternity, Mr. George Greenwood, for which I am most grateful. I also want to thank the members of my department— faculty, staff, and students. Their encouragement and support during our first decade together have given new meaning to the word collegiality. My editor, Elisabeth Sifton, awed me with her skill and fired me with her enthusiasm; I thank her warmly. If anyone suffered more with this book than I, it was my spouse, Jacqueline, to whom it is dedicated with all of my love and gratitude—a late present for our twentieth anniversary. —Sidney W. Mintz Contents Acknowledgments ix List of Illustrations xiii Introduction xv * Food, Sociality, and Sugar 3 2 ♦ Production 19 3 ♦ Consumption 74 4 • Power 151 5 * Eating and Being 187 Bibliography 215 Notes 228 Index 261 List of Illustrations Frontispiece: Europe Supported by Africa and America, by William Blake (1796) Following page 78: A uniformed slave cutting sugar cane (1722) A late-nineteenth-century depiction ot tropical plants, including imagined sugar cane An early-nineteenth-century slave gang hoeing and planting canes in Antigua A sixteenth-century sugar plantation in Spanish Santo Domingo A seventeenth-century sugar mill in the French Antilles Nineteenth-century sugar boiling-houses A sugar mill in operation today The Sugar Hogshead, by E. T. Parris (1846) Nineteenth-century French desserts Follouring page 184: Miniature sugar figures Mexican funereal confections Sugar mold commemorating the silver jubilee of George V of Great Britain (1935) Model of the British royal state coach (1977) Model of the cathedral at Amiens (2 views) (1977) Model of a French sailing ship Model of a medieval castle (1977) Caesar's Thumb French sugar baker sculpturing a nude Introduction This book has an odd history. Though it was completed only after a recent and sustained period of writing, much of it grew from skimmings and impressions collected over many years of reading and research. Because of its subject matter, it is a figurative sort of homecoming. For nearly the whole of my professional life, I have been studying the history of the Caribbean region and of those tropical products, mainly agricultural, that were associated with its "development" since the European conquest. Not all such products originated in the New World; and of course none of them, even those that were indigenous, became important in world trade until the late fifteenth century. Because they were produced thereafter for Europeans and North Americans, 1 became interested in how those Europeans and North Americans became consumers. Following production to where and when it became consumption is what I mean by coming home. Most people in the Caribbean region, descendants of the aboriginal Amerind population and of settlers who came from Europe, Africa, and Asia, have been rural and agricultural. Working among them usually means working in the countryside; getting interested in them means getting interested in what they produce by their labor. Because I worked among these people—learning what they were like, what their lives were made into by the conditions they lived under—I inevitably wanted to know more about sugar and rum and coffee and chocolate. Caribbean people have always been entangled with a wider world, for the region has, since 1492, been xvi INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION • XVII caught up in skeins of imperial control, spun in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Madrid, and other European and North American centers of world power. Someone working inside the rural sectors of those little island societies would inevitably be inclined, I think, to view such networks of control and dependence from the Caribbean vantage point: to look up and out from local life, so to speak, rather than down and into it. But this insider's view has some of the same disadvantages as the firmly European perspective of an earlier generation of observers for whom the greater part of the dependent, outer, non-European world was in most ways a remote, poorly known, and imperfect extension of Europe itself. A view that excludes the linkage between metropolis and colony by choosing one perspective and ignoring the other is necessarily incomplete. Working in Caribbean societies at the ground level, one is led to ask in just what ways beyond the obvious ones the outer world and the European world became interconnected, interlocked even; what forces beyond the nakedly military and economic ones maintained this intimate interdependence; and how benefits flowed, relative to the ways power was exercised. Asking such questions takes on a specific meaning when one also wants to know in particular about the histories of the products that colonies supply to metropolises. In the Caribbean case, such products have long been, and largely still are, tropical foods: spices (such as ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and mace); beverage bases (coffee and chocolate); and, above all, sugar and rum. At one time, dyes {such as indigo and annatto and fustic) were important; various starches, starch foods, and bases (such as cassava, from which tapioca is made, arrowroot, sago, and various species of Zamia) have also figured in the export trade; and a few industrial staples (like sisat) and essential oils (like vetiver) have mattered; bauxite, asphalt, and oil still do. Even some fruits, such as bananas, pineapples, and coconuts, have counted in the world market from time to time. But for the Caribbean region as a whole, the steady demand overall and for most epochs has been for sugar, and even if it is now threatened by yet other sweeteners, it seems likely to continue to hold its own. Though the story of European sugar consumption has not been tied solely to the Caribbean, and consumption has risen steadily worldwide, without regard to where the sugar comes from, the Caribbean has figured importantly in the picture for centuries. Once one begins to wonder where the tropical products go, who uses them, for what, and how much they are prepared to pay for them—what they will forgo, and at what price, in order to have them—one is asking questions about the market. But then one is also asking questions about the metropolitan homeland, the center of power, not about the dependent colony, the object and target of power. And once one attempts to put consumption together with production, to fit colony to metropolis, there is a tendency for one or the other—the "hub" or the "outer rim"—to slip out of focus. As one looks at Europe the better to understand the colonies as producers and Europe as consumer, or vice versa, the other side of the relationship seems less clear. While the relationships between colonies and metropolis are in the most immediate sense entirely obvious, in another sense they are mystifying. My own field experiences, I believe, influenced my perceptions of the center-periphery relationship. In January 1948, when I went to Puerto Rico to start my anthropological fieldwork, I chose a south-coast municipality given over almost entirely to the cultivation of sugar cane for the manufacture of sugar for the North American market. Most of the land in that municipality was owned or leased by a single North American corporation and its land-holding affiliate. After a stay in the town, I moved to a rural district (barrio); there, for slightly more than a year, I lived in a small shack with a young cane worker. Surely one of the most remarkable things about Barrio Jauca— and, indeed, about the entire municipality of Santa Isabel at the time—was its dedication to sugar cane. In Barrio Jauca, one stands on a vast alluvial plain, created by the scouring action of once-great rivers—a fertile, fanlike surface extending from the hills down to the Caribbean beaches that form Puerto Rico's south coast. Northward, away from the sea and toward the mountains, the land rises in low foothills, but the coastal land is quite flat. A superhighway from northeast to southwest now passes nearby, but in 1948 there was only a single tarred road, running due east-west along the coast, linking the roadside villages and the towns—Arroyo, Guayama, Salinas, Santa Isabel—of what was then an immense, much- INTRODUCTION developed sugar-cane-producing region, a place where, I learned, North Americans had penetrated most deeply into the vitals of pre-1898 Puerto Rican life. The houses outside the town were mostly shacks built on the shoulders of roads—sometimes clustered together in little villages with a tiny store or two, a bar, and not much else. Occasionally, an unarable field could be found, its saline soil inhibiting cultivation, on which a few woebegone goats might graze. But the road, the villages stretched along it, and such occasional barren fields were the only interruptions to the eye between mountains and sea; all else was sugar cane. It grew to the very edge of the road and right up to the stoops of the houses. When fully grown, it can tower fifteen feet above the ground. At its mature glory, it turned the plain into a special kind of hot, impenetrable jungle, broken only by special pathways [callejones) and irrigation ditches (zanjas de riego). All the time I was in Barrio Jauca, I felt as if we were on an island, floating in a sea of cane. My work there took me into the fields regularly, especially but not only during the harvest (zafra). At that time most of the work was still done by human effort alone, without machines; cutting "seed," seeding, planting, cultivating, spreading fertilizer, ditching, irrigating, cutting, and loading cane— it had to be loaded and unloaded twice before being ground—were all manual tasks. I would sometimes stand by the line of cutters, who were working in intense heat and under great pressure, while the foreman stood (and the mayordomo rode) at their backs. If one had read about the history of Puerto Rico and of sugar, then the lowing of the animals, the shouts of the mayordomo, the grunting of the men as they swung their machetes, the sweat and dust and din easily conjured up an earlier island era. Only the sound of the whip was missing. Of course, the sugar was not being produced for the Puerto Ricans themselves: they consumed only a fraction of the finished product. Puerto Rico had been producing sugar cane (and sugar in some form) for four centuries, always mainly for consumers elsewhere, whether in Seville, in Boston, or in some other place. Had there been no ready consumers for it elsewhere, such huge quantities of land, labor, and capital would never have been funneled into this INTRODUCTION tXlX one curious crop, first domesticated in New Guinea, first processed in India, and first carried to the New World by Columbus. Yet I also saw sugar being consumed all around me. People chewed the cane, and were experts not only on which varieties were best to chew, but also on how to chew them—not so easy as one might expect. To be chewed properly, cane must be peeled and the pith cut into chewable portions. Out of it oozes a sticky, sweet, slightly grayish liquid. (When ground by machine and in large quantities, this liquid becomes green, because of the innumerable tiny particles of cane in suspension within it.) The company went to what seemed like extreme lengths to keep people from taking and eating sugar cane—there was, after all, so much of it!—but people always managed to lay hands on some and to chew it soon after it was cut, when it is best. This provided almost daily nourishment for the children, for whom snagging a stalk—usually fallen from an oxcart or a truck—was a great treat. Most people also took the granular, refined kind of sugar, either white or brown, in their coffee, the daily beverage of the Puerto Rican people. (Coffee drunk without sugar is called cafe puya—"ox-goad coffee.") Though both the juice of the cane and the granular sugars were sweet, they seemed otherwise quite unrelated. Nothing but sweetness brought together the green-gray cane juice (guarapo) sucked from the fibers and the granular sugars of the kitchen, used to sweeten coffee and to make the guava, papaya, and bitter-orange preserves, the sesame and tamarind drinks then to be found in Puerto Rican working-class kitchens. No one thought about how one got from those giant fibrous reeds, flourishing upon thousands of acres, to the delicate, fine, pure white granular food and flavoring we call sugar. It was possible, of course, to see with one's own eye how it was done (or, at least, up to the last and most profitable step, which was the conversion from brown to white, mostly carried out in refineries on the mainland). In any one of the big south-coast mills {centrales), Guanica or Cortada or Aguirre or Mercedita, one could observe modern techniques of comminution for freeing sucrose in a liquid medium from the plant fibers, the cleansing and condensation, the heating that produced evaporation and, on cooling, further crystallization, and the centrifugal brown sugar that was then INTRODUCTION rNTRODUC'nON • xxi shipped northward for further refining. But I cannot remember ever hearing anyone talk about making sugar, or wonder out loud about who were the consumers of so much sugar. What local people were keenly aware of was the market for sugar; though half or more of them were illiterate, they had an understandably lively interest in world sugar prices. Those old enough to remember the famous 1919-20 Dance of the Millions—when the world market price of sugar rose to dizzying heights, then dropped almost to zero, in a classical demonstration of oversupply and speculation within a scarcity-based capitalist world market—were especially aware of the extent to which their fates lay in the hands of powerful, even mysterious, foreign others. By the time I returned to Puerto Rico a couple of years later, I had read a fair amount of Caribbean history, including the history of plantation crops. I learned that although sugar cane was flanked by other harvests—coffee, cacao (chocolate), indigo, tobacco, and so on—it surpassed them all in importance and outlasted them. Indeed, the world production of sugar has never fallen for more than an occasional decade at a time during five centuries; perhaps the worst drop of all came with the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803 and the disappearance of the world's biggest colonial producer; and even that sudden and serious imbalance was very soon redressed. But how remote this all seemed from the talk of gold and souls—the more familiar refrains of historians (particularly historians of the Hispanic achievement) recounting the saga of European expansion to the New World! Even the religious education of the enslaved Africans and indentured Europeans who came to the Caribbean with sugar cane and the other plantation crops (a far cry from Christianity and uplift for the Indians, the theme of Spanish imperial policy with which the conventional accounts were then filled) was of no interest to anyone. I gave no serious thought to why the demand for sugar should have risen so rapidly and so continuously for so many centuries, or even to why sweetness might be a desirable taste. I suppose I thought the answers to such questions were self-evident—who doesn't like sweetness? Now it seems to me than my lack of curiosity was obtuse; I was taking demand for granted. And not just "demand" in the abstract; world sugar production shows the most remarkable upward production curve of any major food on the world market over the course of several centuries, and it is continuing upward still. Only when I began to learn more Caribbean history and more about particular relationships between planters in the colonies and bankers, entrepreneurs, and different groups of consumers in the metropolises, did I begin to puzzle over what "demand" really was, to what extent it could be regarded as "natural," what is meant by words like "taste" and "preference" and even "good." Soon after my fieldwork in Puerto Rico, I had a chance for a summer of study in Jamaica, where I lived in a small highland village that, having been established by the Baptist Missionary Society on the eve of emancipation as a home for newly freed church members, was still occupied—almost 125 years later—by the descendants of those freedraen. Though the agriculture in the highlands was mostly carried out on small landholdings and did not consist of plantation crops, we could look down from the lofty village heights on the verdant north coast and the brilliant green checkerboards of the cane plantations there. These, like the plantations on Puerto Rico's south coast, produced great quantities of cane for the eventual manufacture of granulated white sugar; here, too, the final refining was done elsewhere—in the metropolis, and not in the colony. When I began to observe small-scale retailing in the busy market place of a nearby town, however, I saw for the first time a coarse, less refined sugar that harked back to earlier centuries, when haciendas along Puerto Rico's south coast, swallowed up after the invasion by giant North American corporations, had also once produced it. In the Brown's Town Market of St. Ann Parish, Jamaica, one or two mule-drawn wagons would arrive each market day carrying loads of hard brown sugar in "loaves," or "heads," produced in traditional fashion by sugar makers using ancient grinding and boiling equipment. Such sugar, which contained considerable quantities of molasses (and some impurities), was hardened in ceramic molds or cones from which the more liquid molasses was drained, leaving behind the dark-brown, crystalline loaf. It was consumed solely by poor, mostly rural Jamaicans. It is of course common to find that the poorest people in iess developed societies XX11» INTRODUCTION are in many regards the most "traditional." A product that the poor eat, both because they are accustomed to it and because they have no choice, will be praised by the rich, who will hardly ever eat it. I encountered such sugar once more in Haiti, a few years later. Again, it was produced on small holdings, ground and processed by ancient machinery, and consumed by the poor. In Haiti, where nearly everyone is poor, nearly everyone ate this sort of sugar. The loaves in Haiti were shaped differently: rather like small logs, wrapped in banana leaf, and called in Creole rapadou (in Spanish, raspadura). Since that time, 1 have learned that such sugars exist throughout much of the rest of the world, including India, where they were probably first produced, perhaps as much as two thousand years ago. There are great differences between families using ancient wooden machinery and iron cauldrons to boil up a quantity of sugar to sell to their neighbors in picturesque loaves, and the massed men and machinery employed in producing thousands of tons of sugar cane (and, eventually, of sugar) on modern plantations for export elsewhere. Such contrasts are an integral feature of Caribbean history. They occur not only between islands or between historical periods, but even within single societies (as in the case of Jamaica or Haiti) at the same time. The production of brown sugar in small quantities, remnant of an earlier technical and social era, though it is of declining economic importance will no doubt continue indefinitely, since it has cultural and sentimental meaning, probably for producers as well as consumers.1 Caribbean sugar industries have changed with die times, and they represent, in their evolution from antecedent forms, interesting stages in the world history of modern society. I have explained that my first fieldwork in Puerto Rico was in a village of cane workers. This was nearly my first experience outside the continental United States, and though I had been raised in the country, it was my first lengthy encounter with a community where nearly everyone made a living from the soil. These people were not farmers, for whom the production of agricultural commodities was a business; nor were they peasants, tillers of soil they owned or could treat as their own, as part of a distinctive way of life. They were agricultural laborers who owned neither land nor any pro- INTRODUCTION ♦ XXI11 ductive property, and who had to sell their labor to eat. They were wage earners who lived like factory workers, who worked in factories in the field, and just about everything they needed and used they bought from stores. Nearly all of it came from somewhere else: cloth and clothing, shoes, writing pads, rice, olive oil, building materials, medicine. Almost without exception, what they consumed someone else had produced. The chemical and mechanical transformations by which substances are bent to human use and become unrecognizable to those who know them in nature have marked our relationship to nature for almost as long as we have been human. Indeed, some would say that it is those very transformations that define our humanity. But the division of labor by which such transformations are realized can impart additional mystery to the technical processes. When the locus of manufacture and that of use are separated in time and space, when the makers and the users are as httle known to each other as are the processes of manufacture and use themselves, the mystery will deepen. An anecdote may make the point. My beloved companion and teacher in the field, the late Charles Rosario, received his preparatory education in the United States. When his fellow students learned that he came from Puerto Rico, they immediately assumed that his father (who was a sociologist at the University of Puerto Rico) was a hacendado—that is, a wealthy owner of endless acres of tropical land. They asked Charlie to bring them some distinctive souvenir of plantation life when he returned from the island at the summer's end; what they would relish most, they said, was a machete. Eager to please his new friends, Charlie told me, he examined countless machetes in the island stores. But he was dismayed to discover that they were all manufactured in Connecticut—indeed, at a factory only a few hours' drive from the New England school he and his friends were attending. As I became more and more interested in the history of the Caribbean region and its products, I began to learn about the plantations that were its most distinctive and characteristic economic form. Such plantations were first created in the New World during the early years of the sixteenth century and were staffed for the most part with enslaved Africans. Much changed, they were still there when I first went to Puerto Rico, thirty years ago; so were xxiv» INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION ♦XXV the descendants of those slaves and, as I later learned and saw elsewhere, the descendants of Portuguese, Javanese, Chinese, and Indian contract laborers, and many other varieties of human being whose ancestors has been brought to the region to grow, cut, and grind sugar cane. I began to join this information to my modest knowledge of Europe itself. Why Europe? Because these island plantations had been the invention of Europe, overseas experiments of Europe, many of them successful {as far as the Europeans were concerned); and the history of European societies had in certain ways paralleled that of the plantation. One could look around and see sugar-cane plantations and coffee, cacao, and tobacco haciendas, and so, too, one could imagine those Europeans who had thought it promising to create them, to invest in their creation, and to import vast numbers of people in chains from elsewhere to work them. These last would be, if not slaves, then men who sold their labor because they had nothing else to sell; who would probably produce things of which they were not the principal consumers; who would consume things they had not produced, and in the process earn profit for others elsewhere. It seemed to me that the mysteriousness that accompanied my seeing, at one and the same time, cane growing in the fields and white sugar in my cup, should also accompany the sight of molten metal or, better, raw iron ore, on the one hand, and a perfectly wrought pair of manacles or leg irons, on the other. The mystery was not simply one of technical transformation, impressive as that is, but also the mystery of people unknown to one another being linked through space and time—and not just by politics and economics, but along a particular chain of connection maintained by their production. The tropical substances whose production I observed in Puerto Rico were foods of a curious kind. Most are stimulants; some are intoxicating; tobacco tends to suppress hunger, whereas sugar provides calories in unusually digestible form but not much else. Of all of these substances, sugar has always been the most important. It is the epitome of a historical process at least as old as Europe's thru stings outside itself in search of new worlds. I hope to explain what sugar reveals about a wider world, entailing as it does a lengthy history of changing relationships among peoples, societies, and substances. The study of sugar goes back very far in history, even in European history.2 Yet much about it remains obscure, even enigmatic. How and why sugar has risen to such prevailing importance among European peoples to whom it had at one time been hardly known is still not altogether clear. A single source of satisfaction—sucrose extracted from the sugar cane—for what appears to be a widespread, perhaps even universal, human liking for sweetness became established in European taste preferences at a time when European power, military might, and economic initiative were transforming the world. That source linked Europe and many colonial areas from the fifteenth century onward, the passage of centuries only underlining its importance even while politics changed. And, conversely, what the metropolises produced the colonies consumed. The desire fot sweet substances spread and increased steadily; many different products were employed to satisfy it, and cane sugar's importance therefore varied from time to time. Since sugar seems to satisfy a particular desire (it also seems, in so doing, to awaken that desire yet anew), one needs to understand just what makes demand work: how and why it increases under what conditions. One cannot simply assume that everyone has an infinite desire for sweetness, any more than one can assume the same about a desire for comfort or wealth or power. In order to examine these questions in a specific historical context, I will look at the history of sugar consumption in Great Britain especially between 1650, when sugar began to be fairly common, and 1900, by which time it had entered firmly into the diet of every working family. But this will require some prior examination of the production of the sugar that ended up on English tables in the tea, the jam, the biscuits and cakes and sweets. Because we do not know precisely how sugar was introduced to large segments of Britain's national population—at what rates, by what means, or under exactly what conditions—some speculation is unavoidable. But it is nevertheless possible to show how some people and groups unfamiliar with sugar (and other newly imported ingestibles) gradually became users of it—even, quite rapidly, daily users. Indeed, there is much evidence that many consumers, over time, would have gladly xxvU INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION • XXVII eaten more sugar had they been able to get it, while those who were already consuming it regularly were prepared only reluctantly to reduce or forgo its use. Because anthropology is concerned with how people stubbornly maintain past practices, even when under strong negative pressures, but repudiate other behaviors quite readily in order to act differently, these materials throw light upon the historical circumstances from a perspective rather different from the historian's. Though I cannot answer many questions that historians might bring to these data, I shall suggest that anthropologists ask (and try to answer) certain other questions. Cultural or social anthropology has built its reputation as a discipline upon the study of non-Westem peoples; of peoples who form numerically small societies; of peoples who do not practice any of the so-called great religions; of peoples whose technical repertories are modest—in short, upon the study of what are labeled "primitive" societies. Now, the fact that most of us anthropologists have not made such studies has not weakened the general belief that anthropology's strength as a discipline comes from knowing about societies the behaviors of whose members are sufficiently different from our own, yet are based on sufficiently similar principles, to allow us to document the marvelous variability of human custom while vouchsafing the unshakable, essential oneness of the species. This belief has a great deal to recommend it. It is, anyway, my own view. Yet it has unfortunately led anthropologists in the past to bypass willfully any society that appeared in one regard or another not to qualify as "primitive''—or even, occasionally, to ignore information that made it clear that the society being studied was not quite so primitive (or isolated) as the anthropologist would like. The latter is not an outright suppression of data so much as an incapacity or unwillingness to take such data into account theoretically. It is easy to be critical of one's predecessors. But how can one refrain from counterposing Malinowski's studied instructions about learning the natives' point of view by avoiding other Europeans in the field,3 with his rather casual observation that the same natives had learned to play cricket in the mission schools years before he began his fieldwork? True, Malinowski never denied the ' presence of other Europeans, or of European influence—indeed, he eventually reproached himself for too studiedly ignoring the Eu- ropean presence, and called this his most serious deficiency. But in much of his work, the West in all its guises was played down or even ignored, leaving behind an allegedly pristine primitivity, coolly observed by the anthropologist-as-hero. This curious contrast— unspoiled aborigines on the one hand, hymn-singing mission children on the other—is not an isolated one. By some strange sleight of hand, one anthropological monograph after another whisks out of view any signs of the present and how it came to be. This vanishing act imposes burdens on those who feel the need to perform it; those of us who do not ought to have been thinking much more soberly about what anthropologists should study. Many of anthropology's most distinguished contemporary practitioners have turned their attention to so-called modern or western societies, but they and the rest of us seem to want to maintain the illusion of what one of my colleagues has aptly dubbed "the un-contaminated McCoy." Even those of us who have studied non-primitive societies seem eager to perpetuate the idea that the profession's strength flows from our mastery of the primitive, more than from the study of change, or of becoming "modern." Accordingly, the movement toward an anthropology of modern life has been somewhat halting, and it has tried to justify itself by concentrating on marginal or unusual enclaves in modern societies: ethnic clusters, exotic occupations, criminal elements, the "underlife," etc. This surely has its positive side. Yet the uncomfortable inference is that such groups most closely approximate the anthropological notion of the primitive. In the present instance, the prosaic quality of the subject matter is inescapable; what could be less "anthropological" than the historical examination of a food that graces every modern table? And yet the anthropology of just such homely, everyday substances may help us to clarify both how the world changes from what it was to what it may become, and how it manages at the same time to stay in certain regards very much the same. Let us suppose that there is some value in trying to shape an anthropology of the present, and that to do so we must study societies that lack the features conventionally associated with the so-called primitive. We must still take into account the institutions anthropologists cherish—kinship, family, marriage, rites de pas- xxviiu INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION ♦xxix sage—and puzzle out the basic divisions by which people are assorted and grouped. We would still try to find out more about fewer people than less about more people. We would still, I believe, put credence in fieldwork, and would value what informants say, as well as what they aspire to and what they do. This would, of course, have to be a different anthropology. As the archaeologist Robert Adams has suggested, anthropologists will no longer be able to invoke scientific "objectivity" to protect themselves from the political implications of their findings, if their subjects turn out simply to be fellow citizens who are poorer or less influential than they.4 And this new anthropology does not yet wholly exist. The present book, mainly historical in nature, aspires to take a step in its direction. My contention is that the social history of the use of new foods in a western nation can contribute to an anthropology of modern life. It would, of course, be immensely satisfying to be able to declare that my brooding about sugar for thirty years has resulted in some clear-cut alignment, the solution to a puzzle, the resolution of some contradiction, perhaps even a discovery. But I remain uncertain. This book has tended to write itself; I have watched the process, hoping it would reveal something I did not already know. The organization of the volume is simple. In chapter 1,1 attempt to open the subject of the anthropology of food and eating, as part of an anthropology of modern life. This leads me to a discussion of sweetness, as opposed to sweet substances. Sweetness is a taste— what Hobbes called a "Quality"—and the sugars, sucrose (which is won principally from the cane and the sugar beet) among them, are substances that excite the sensation of sweetness. Since any normal human being can apparently experience sweetness, and since all the societies we know of recognize it, something about sweetness must be linked to our character as a species. Yet the liking for sweet things is of highly variable intensity. Hence, an explanation of why some peoples eat lots of sweet things and others hardly any cannot rely on the idea of the species-wide characteristic. How, then, does a particular people become firmly habituated to a large, regular, 1 and dependable supply of sweetness? Whereas fruit and honey were major sources of sweetness for the j English people before about 1650, they do not seem to have figured ] significantly in the English diet. Sugar made from the juice of the cane had reached England in small quantities by about 1100 A.D.; during the next five centuries, the amounts of cane sugar available doubdess increased, slowly and irregularly. In chapter 2,1 look at the production of sugar as the West began to consume more and more of it. From 1650 onward, sugar began to change from a luxury and a rarity into a commonplace and a necessity in many nations, England among them; with a few significant exceptions, this increased consumption after 1650 accompanied the "development" of the West. It was, I believe, the second (or possibly the first, if one discounts tobacco) so-called luxury transformed in this fashion, epitomizing the productive thrust and emerging intent of world capitalism, which centered at first upon the Netherlands and England. I therefore also focus on the possessions that supplied the United Kingdom with sugar, molasses, and rum: on their system of plantation production, and the forms of labor exaction by which such products were made available. I hope to show the special significance of a colonial product like sugar in the growth of world capitalism. Thereafter, in chapter 3,1 discuss the consumption of sugar. My aim is, first, to show how production and consumption were so closely bound together that each may be said partly to have determined the other, and, second, to show that consumption must be explained in terms of what people did and thought: sugar penetrated social behavior and, in being put to new uses and taking on new meanings, was transformed from curiosity and luxury into commonplace and necessity. The relationship between production and consumption may even be paralleled by the relationship between use and meaning. I don't think meanings inhere in substances naturally or inevitably. Rather, I believe that meaning arises out of use, as people use substances in social relationships. Outside forces often determine what is available to be endowed with meaning. If the users themselves do not so much determine what is available to be used as add meanings to what is available, what does that say about meaning? At what point does the prerogative to bestow meaning move from the consumers to the sellers? Or could it be that the power to bestow meaning always accompanies the power to determine availabilities? What do such ques- INTRODUCTION tions—and their answers—mean for our understanding of the operation of modern society, and for our understanding of freedom and individualism? In chapter 4,1 try to say something about why things happened as they did, and I attempt some treatment of circumstance, conjuncture, and cause. Finally, in chapter 5,1 offer a few suggestions about where sugar, and the study of sugar in modern society, may be going. I have suggested that anthropology is showing some uncertainty about its own future. An anthropology of modern life and of food and eating, for example, cannot ignore fieldwork or do without it. My hope is that I have identified problems of significance concerning which fieldwork might eventually yield results useful for both theory and policy. My bias in a historical direction will be apparent. Though I do not accept uncritically the dictum that anthropology must become history or be nothing at all, 1 believe that without history its explanatory power is seriously compromised. Social phenomena are by their nature historical, which is to say that the relationships among events in one "moment" can never be abstracted from their past and future setting. Arguments about immanent human nature, about the human being's inbuilt capacity to endow the world with its characteristic structures, are not necessarily wrong; but when these arguments replace or obviate history, they are inadequate and misleading. Human beings do create social structures, and do endow events with meaning; but these structures and meanings have historical origins that shape, limit, and help to explain such creativity. 1 ♦ Food, Sociality, and Sugar Our awareness that food and eating are foci of habit, taste, and deep feeling must be as old as those occasions in the history of our species when human beings first saw other humans eating unfamiliar foods. Like languages and all other socially acquired group habits, food systems dramatically demonstrate the infraspecifk variability of humankind. It is almost too obvious to dwell on: humans make food out of just about everything; different groups eat different foods and in different ways; all feel strongly about what they do eat and don't eat, and about the ways they do so. Of course, food choices are related in some ways to availability, but human beings never eat every edible and available food in their environment. Moreover, their food preferences are close to the center of their self-definition: people who eat strikingly different foods or similar foods in different ways are thought to be strikingly different, sometimes even less human. The need for nourishment is expressed in the course of all human interaction. Food choices and eating habits reveal distinctions of age, sex, status, culture, and even occupation. These distinctions are immensely important adornments on an inescapable necessity. "Nutrition as a biological process," wrote Audrey Richards, one of anthropology's best students of food and ingestion, "is more fundamental than sex. In the life of the individual organism it is the more primary and recurrent want, while in the wider sphere of SWEETNESS AND POWER FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR •5 human society it determines, more largely than any other physiological function, the nature of social groupings, and the form their activities take."1 Nothing the newborn infant does establishes so swiftly its social connection with the world as the expression and satisfaction of its hunger. Hunger epitomizes the relation between its dependence and the social universe of which it must become a part. Earing and nurrurance are closely linked in infancy and childhood, no matter how their connection may be altered later. Food preferences that emerge early in life do so within the bounds laid down by those who do the nurturing, and therefore within the rules of their society and culture. Ingestion and tastes hence carry an enormous affective load. What we like, what we eat, how we eat it, and how we feel about it are phenomenologtcally interrelated matters; together, they speak eloquently to the question of how we perceive ourselves in relation to others. From the beginning, anthropology has concerned itself with food and ingestion. Robertson Smith, a founding father of anthropology, who examined eating together as a special social act (he was interested in the sacrificial meal, in connection with which he used the term "commensals" to describe the relation between gods and human beings), saw the breaking of bread by gods with men as "a symbol and a confirmation of fellowship and mutual social obligations." "Those who sit at meat together are united for all social effects; those who do not eat together are aliens to one another, without fellowship in religion and without reciprocal social duties."1 But Robertson Smith also argued that "the essence of the thing lies in the physical act of eating together"3—a bond, creared simply by partaking of food, linking human beings with one another. In an early article, Lorna Marshall provided a glowing description of how sharing food serves to reduce individual and intragroup tension. The !Kung Bushmen, she reported, always consumed fresh meat immediately after it became available: "The fear of hunger is mitigated; the person one shares with will share in turn when he gets meat and people are sustained by a web of mutual obligation. If there is hunger, it is commonly shared. There are no distinct haves and have-nots. One is not alone.... The idea of eating alone and not sharing is shocking to the !Kung. It makes them shriek with an uneasy laughter. Lions could do that, they say, not men."4 Marshall described in detail how four hunters who killed an eland, following ten days of hunting and three days of tracking the wounded animal, bestowed the meat upon others—other hunters, the wife of the owner of the arrow that first wounded the prey, the relatives of the arrow's owner, etc. She recorded sixty-three gifts of raw meat and thought there had been many more. Small quantities of meat were rapidly diffused, passed on in ever-diminishing portions. This swift movement was not random or quixotic; it actually illuminated the interior organization of the IKung band, the distribution of kinfolk, divisions of sex, age, and role. Each occasion to eat meat was hence a natural occasion to discover who one was, how one was related to others, and what that entailed. The connections between food and kinship, or food and social groups, take radically different forms in modern life. Yet surely food and eating have not lost their affective significance, though as a means for validating existing social relations their importance and their form are now almost unrecognizably different. So an anthropological study of contemporary western food and eating may try to answer some of the same questions as are asked by our anthropological predecessors, such as Richards, Robertson Smith, and Marshall—but both the data and the methods will differ substantially. In this study, I have tried to place a single food, or category of foods, in the evolution of a modern western nation's diet. It involved no fieldwork per se—though I stumbled across issues that might be better understood if fieldwork were directed to their exposition. Moreover, though I touch on the social aspects of ingestion, I am concerned less with meals and more with mealtimes— how meals were adapted to modern, industrial society, or how that society affected the sociality of ingestion, how foods and the ways to eat them were added to a diet or eliminated from it. Specifically, I am concerned with a single substance called sucrose, a kind of sugar extracted primarily from the sugar cane, and with what became of it. The story can be summed up in a few sentences. In 1000 A.D., few Europeans knew of the existence of sucrose, or cane sugar. But soon afterward they learned about it; by 1650, in 6« SWEETNESS AND POWER FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR *7 England the nobility and the wealthy had become inveterate sugar eaters, and sugar figured in their medicine, literary imagery, and ■;. displays of rank. By no later than 1800, sugar had become a ne- ; cessity—albeit a costly and rare one—in the diet of every English person; by 1900, it was supplying nearly one-fifth of the calories in the English diet. How and why did this happen? What turned an exotic, foreign, ■ and costly substance into the daily fare of even the poorest and 1 humblest people? How could it have become so important so swiftly? What did sugar mean to the rulers of the United Kingdom; what did it come to mean to the ordinary folk who became its mass j consumers? The answers may seem self-evident; sugar is sweet, and * human beings like sweetness. But when unfamiliar substances are taken up by new users, they enter into pre-existing social and psychological contexts and acquire—or are given—contextual mean- i ings by those who use them. How that happens is by no means obvious. That human beings like the taste of sweetness does not explain why some eat immense quantities of sweet foods and others hardly any. These are not just individual differences, but differences 1 among groups, as well. Uses imply meanings; to learn the anthropology of sugar, we need M to explore the meanings of its uses, to discover the early and more I limited uses of sugar, and to learn where and for what original i purposes sugar was produced. This means examining the sources a of supply, the chronology of uses, and the combination of sugar a with other foods—including honey, which is also sweet, and tea, J coffee, and chocolate, which are bitter—in the making of new di- J etary patterns. The sources of sugar involve those tropical and sub- j tropical regions that were transformed into British colonies, and so 1 we must examine the relationships between such colonies and the motherland, also the areas that produced no sugar but the tea with :| which it was drunk, and the people who were enslaved in order to | produce it. Such an inquiry inevitably brings many more questions in its I wake. Did the English come to eat more sugar just because they § liked it; did they like it because they had too little of other foods I to eat; or did other factors affect their disposition toward this cosdy food? We need to reflect on those social reformers, such as Jonas Hanway, who inveighed against the wastefulness and prodigality of the laboring classes because they came to want tea and sugar; and on their opponents, the sugar brokers and refiners and shippers, such as George Porter, who won out over the reformers because they envisioned sugar's benefactions for all Englishmen—and struggled to change the nature of the market. This also means seeing how, over time, the exigencies of work changed where, how, and when ordinary people ate, and how new foods were created, with new virtues. Perhaps most important of all, we must understand how, in the creation of an entirely new economic system, strange and foreign luxuries, unknown even to European nobility a few short centuries earlier, could so swiftly become part of the crucial social center of British daily life, the universal substances of social relationship for the farthest-flung empire in world history. And then we shall have returned—though on a different level of explanation—to our fellow humans the IKung, dividing and redividing their eland meat as they validate the social worth of the links that bind them to one another. Studying the varying use of a single ingestible like sugar is rather like using a litmus test on particular environments. Any such traceable feature can highlight, by its intensity, scale, and perhaps spread, its association with other features with which it has a regular but not invariant relation, and in some cases can serve as an index of them. Such associations can be broad and important—as between rats and disease, or drought and famine, or nutrition and fertility— or they may seem trivial, as between sugar and spices. The affinity between such phenomena may be intrinsic and explicable, as with, say, rats and disease. But of course the association may also be quite arbitrary, neither "causal" nor "functional," as in the case of sugar and spices—substances foreign to Europe, carried thence from distant lands, gradually entering into the diet of people trying them out for the first time; linked together mosdy by the accident of usage and, to some extent, by origin, but overlapping and diverging as their uses overlapped and diverged and as the demand for them rose and fell. Sugar has been associated during its history with slavery, in the colonies; with meat, in flavoring or concealing taste; 8. SWEETNESS AND POWER with fruit, in preserving; with honey, as a substitute and rival. And sugar was associated with tea, coffee, and chocolate; much of its history in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries springs from that particular association. Sugar was also first associated with the rich and the noble classes, and it remained out of the reach of the less privileged for centuries. In staying with sugar, the aim is not to de-emphasize other foods, but to make clear the changing uses and meanings of sugar itself over time. As uses change or are added on, as use both deepens and broadens, meanings also change. There is nothing "natural" or inevitable about these processes; they have no inbuilt dynamic of their own. The relationship between the production of sugar and its consumption changed over time and, as it did, the uses to which sugar was put and the meanings to which it gave rise also changed. By keeping sugar itself as the focus, we can actually see more clearly how its relationship to other foods, those with which it was combined and those which it eventually supplanted, was altered. Nutritionists can construct diets for the species based on the best scientific information available, but there is no infallible guide to what is naturally the best food for human beings. We appear to be capable of eating (and liking) just about anything that is not immediately toxic. Cross-cultural studies of dietary preferences reveal eloquently that the universes that human groups treat matter-of-factly as their "natural environments" are clearly social, symbolically constructed universes. What constitutes "good food," like what constitutes good weather, a good spouse, or a fulfilling life, is a social, not a biological, matter. Good food, as Lévi-Strauss suggested long ago, must be good to think about before it becomes good to eat. If we look at the whole sweep of human cultural evolution and concentrate on that last "minute" of geological time when the domestication of plants and animals occurs, we can see that almost all human beings who have ever lived were members of societies in which some one particular vegetable food was "good." Because plant domestication and purposeful cultivation gready increased the stability of the food supply and, in consequence, the human pop- FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR •9 ulation itself, most of us and our ancestors during these past ten or twelve thousand years have subsisted primarily on some one sort of vegetable food.5 Most great (and many minor) sedentary civilizations have been built on the cultivation of a particular complex carbohydrate, such as maize or potatoes or rice or millet or wheat. In these starch-based societies, usually but not always horticultural or agricultural, people are nourished by their bodily conversion of the complex carbohydrates, either grains or tubers, into body sugars. Other plant foods, oils, flesh, fish, fowl, fruits, nuts, and seasonings—many of the ingredients of which are nutritively essential—will also be consumed, but the users themselves usually view them as secondary, even if necessary, additions to the major starch. This fitting together of core complex carbohydrate and flavor-fringe supplement is a fundamental feature of the human diet—not of all human diets, but certainly of enough of them in our history to serve as the basis for important generalizations. In her monographs on the Southern Bantu people called the Bemba, Audrey Richards has described luminously how a preferred starch can be the nutritive anchor of an entire culture: For us it requires a real effort of imagination to visualize a state of society in which food matters so much and from so many points of view, but this effort is necessary if we are to understand the emotional background of Bemba ideas as to diet. To the Bemba each meal, to be satisfactory, must be composed of two constituents: a thick porridge (ubwali) made of millet and the relish (umunani) of vegetables, meat or fish, which is eaten with it.... Ubwali is commonly translated by "porridge" but this is misleading. The hot water and meal are mixed in proportion of 3 to 2 to make ubwali and this produces a solid mass of the consistency of plasticine and quite unlike what we know as porridge. Ubwali is eaten in hunks torn off in the hand, rolled into balls, dipped in relish, and bolted whole. Millet has already been described as the main constituent of Bemba diet, but it is difficult for the European, accustomed as he is to a large variety of foodstuffs, to realize fully what a "staple crop" can mean to a primitive people. To the Bemba, millet porridge is not only necessary, but it is the only constituent of his diet which actually ranks as food.... I have watched natives 10* SWEETNESS AND POWER eating the roasted grain off four or five maize cobs under my very eyes, only to hear them shouting to their fellows later, "Alas, we are dying o f hunger. We have not h ad a bi te to ea t all day...." The importance of millet porridge in native eyes is constantly reflected in traditional utterance and ritual. In proverb and folktale the ubwali stands for food itself. When discussing his kinship obligations, a native will say, "How can a man refuse to help his mother's brother who has given him ubwali alt these years?" or, "Is he not her son? How should she refuse to make him ubwali?''... But the native, while he declares he cannot live without ubwali, is equally emphatic that he cannot eat porridge without a relish (umunani), usually in the form of a liquid stew____ The term umunani is applied to stews—meat, fish, caterpillars, locusts, ants, vegetables (wild and cultivated), mushrooms, etc.— prepared to eat with porridge. The functions of the relish ate two: first to make the ubwali easier to swallow, and second to give it taste. A lump of porridge is glutinous and also gritty— the latter not only owing to the flour of which it is made, but to the extraneous matter mixed in with it on the grindstone. It needs a coating of something slippery to make it slide down the throat. Dipping the porridge in a liquid stew makes it easier to swallow. Thus the use of umunani, which to European eyes adds valuable constituents to the diet, is defended by the native on the ground that it overcomes the purely mechanical difficulty of getting the food down the throat.... The Bemba himself explains that the sauce is not food.... It prevents the food "coming back." Meat and vegetable stews arc cooked with salt whenever possible, and there is no doubt that an additional function of the relish in native eyes is to give the porridge taste and to lessen the monotony of the diet. Groundnut sauce is also praised as bringing out the taste of a number of different relishes such as mushrooms, caterpillars, etc. In general, only one relish is eaten at a meal. The Bemba do not like to mix their foods, and despise the European habit of eating a meal composed of two or three kinds of dishes. He calls this habit ukusobelekanya and one said, "It is like a bird first to pick at this and then at that, or like a child who nibbles here and there through the day.*6 The picture Richards paints for us is in its more general features surprisingly common worldwide. People subsist on some principal complex carbohydrate, usually a grain or root crop, around which FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR •11 their lives ate built. Its calendar of growth fits with their calendar of the year; its needs are, in some curious ways, their needs. It provides the raw materials out of which much of the meaning in life is given voice. Its character, names, distinctive tastes and textures, the difficulties associated with its cultivation, its history, mythical or not, are projected on the human affairs of a people who consider what they eat to be the basic food, to be the definition of food. But some one such single food can be boring, too. People brought up in starch-centered cultures may feel they have not really eaten unless they have had ubwali (tortillas, rice, potatoes, bread, taro, yams, manioc cakes—whatever), but they will also feel that ubwali is not enough unless it is accompanied by umunani. Why this should be so is not entirely clear, but over and over again the centricity of the complex carbohydrates is accompanied by its contrastive periphery. Elisabeth and Paul Rozin call one aspect of this common structural pattern a "flavor principle" and they have drawn up lists of distinctive regional flavors, like the nuoc mam of Southeast Asia, the chili peppers {Capsicum species) of Mexico, West Africa, and parts of India and China, the sofrito of the Hispanic Americans, and so on.7 But whether it be the sauce the Bemba eat to provide taste and to make the starch easier to swallow; the chili peppers that enliven a diet of maize-based atole and tortillas; or the fish and bean pastes and soys of (he Far East which accompany rice or millet—these supplementary tastes gain their importance because they make basic starches ingestively more interesting. They also may supply important, often essential, dietary elements, but this never seems to be the reason people give for eating them. Even in diets where a wider range of food possibilities appears to be available, a general relationship between "center" and "edge" is usually discernible. The Irish joke about "potatoes and point"— before eating one's potato, one would point it at a piece of salt pork hung above the table—is clear enough. The habits of bread-eating peoples, who use fats and salt to flavor the large quantities of bread they regularly eat, are also well known. (A common East European combination used to be black bread, chicken fat, raw garlic, and salt. There are scores of local variants.) Pasta is eaten with a sauce; 12« SWEETNESS AND POWER FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR •13 for even the most modest the sauce changes a monotonous meat fl into a banquet. Cornmeal, couscous, bulgur, millet, yams—it hardly jS matters which (though of course to those whose diet is built around -9 such an item, it matters enormously): supplementary tastes round m the diet out, punctuate it, and give it variable character. J These supplements are not ordinarily consumed in large quan- 1 tities—hardly ever in quantities equal to those of the starches— and people who eat them regularly might find the idea of doing so 9 nauseating. Their tastes and textures usually contrast noticeably » with the smoothness, lumpiness, grittiness, chewiness, blandness, or dryness of the cooked starch, but they are usually blendable M substances that can be eaten when the starch itself is eaten: they f) "go* with it. Commonly, they are liquid or semiliquid, soluble or J! meltable, often oily. Small quantities of such supplements will change m the character of substantial quantities of liquid, especially if they M have a strong or contrastive taste and are served hot—as sauces to « be ladled over starches or into which a starch is dipped. Often the supplemental food contains ingredients that are sun- | dried, fermented, cured, smoked, salted, semiputrefied, or otherwise j] altered from a natural state. In these ways they contrast "proces- Jj sually" with the principal starch as well. Many of the main starches 1 need only to be cleaned and cooked in order to be eaten. The fringe additions need not be fish, flesh, fowl, or insect in 1 origin; often they are grasses such as watercress, chives, mint, or 1 seaweed (bitter, sour, pungent, chewy, slimy); lichens, mushrooms, \ or other fungi (moldy-bitter, crisp, "cold"); dried spices (tart, bitter, \ "hot," aromatic); or certain fruits, either fresh or preserved (sour, 1 sweet, juicy, fibrous, tough). Because they may sting, burn, intensify I thirst, stimulate salivation, cause tearing or irritate mucous mem- I branes, be bitter, sour, salty, or sweet, they usually taste (and prob- J ably smell) very different from the starch itself. And there is no i doubt that they increase the consumption of the core food. In the last two or three centuries, whole societies—as opposed f to what were once tiny, privileged, uppermost segments of older, I more hierarchical societies—have apparently begun to stand such i patterns on end. In these rare new cases—the United States would I be one—complex carbohydrates decline as the central part of the i diet, which is instead composed for the most part of flesh (including fish and fowl), fats of all kinds, and sugars (simple carbohydrates). These late-appearing adaptations, which typically require immense caloric input for every calorie delivered,8 contrast with the archaic hunter/fisher/gleaner societies. In their own way, the United States, Argentina, and Australia—New Zealand are as nutritionally extraordinary as the Eskimos, the Tlingit, or the Masai.9 It should be superfluous to point out that the older dietary complexes carried important symbolic loads. What people eat expresses who and what they are, to themselves and to others. The congruence of dietary patterns and their societies reveals the way cultural forms are maintained by the ongoing activity of those who "carry" such forms, whose behavior actualizes and incarnates them. Given the remarkable capacity of human beings to change, and of societies to be transformed, one must nonetheless imagine what would be involved in turning the Mexican people into eaters of black bread, the Russian people into eaters of maize, or the Chinese into eaters of cassava. And it is important to note that the radical dietary changes of the last three hundred years have largely been achieved by revolutionary pressures in food processing and consumption and by adding on new foods, rather than simply cutting back on older ones. In any event, transformations of diet entail quite profound alterations in people's images of themselves, their notions of the contrasting virtues of tradition and change, the fabric of their daily social life. The character of the English diet at the time when sugar became known to Englishmen—known and then desired—is relevant to our history. For during the period when sugar was first becoming widely known, most people in England and elsewhere were struggling to stabilize their diets around adequate quantities of starch (in the form of wheat or other grains), not to move beyond such consumption. What turns out to be most interesting about the British picture is how little it differed from eating habits and nutrition elsewhere in the world. As recendy as a century ago, the combination diet of a single starch supplemented by a variety of other foods, and the constant possibility of widespread hunger—sometimes famine—would have characterized something like 85 percent 14' SWEETNESS AND POWER of the world's population. Today, this picture still applies in much of Asia, Africa, and Latin America; and the pattern of one-starch "centricity" still typifies perhaps three-quarters of the world's population. In 1650, the people of what was to become the United Kingdom also lived on a starch-centered diet. Within a single century, they I jj began to move toward a pattern that has since been adopted by many other societies. This transformation exemplifies one sort of modernization. But it was not simply the consequence of other, more important changes; indeed, in a sense it may have been the other way around: this and like dietary transformations actively facilitated more fundamental changes in British society. In other words, the question becomes not only how the English people became sugar eaters, but also what this meant for the subsequent transformation of their society. Similarly, if we ask what sugar meant to the people of the United Kingdom when it became a fixed and (in their view) essential part of their diet, the answer partly depends on the function of sugar itself, its significance, for them. "Meaning" in this case is not simply to be "read" or "deciphered," but arises from the cultural applications to which sugar lent itself, the uses to which it was put. Meaning, in short, is the consequence of activity. This does not mean that culture is only (or is reducible to only) behavior. But not to ask how meaning is put into behavior, to read the product without the production, is to ignore history once again. Culture must be understood "not simply as a product but also as production, not simply as socially constituted but also as socially constituting."10 One decodes the process of codification, and not merely the code itself. Researchers working with infants in the United States have concluded that there is a built-in human liking for sweet tastes, which appears "very early in development and is relatively independent of experience."11 Though there are inadequate cross-cultural data to sustain that position, sweetness seems to be so widely favored that it is hard to avoid the inference of some inborn predisposition. The nutrition scholar Norge Jerome has collected information to FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR •15 show how sucrose-rich foods form part of the early acculturational experiences of non-western peoples in many world areas, and there seems to be little or no resistance to such items. It is perhaps noteworthy that sugar and sugary foods are commonly diffused with stimulants, particularly beverages. There may be some synergy involved in the ingestive learning of new users: to date, there have been no reports on any group with a nonsugar tradition rejecting the introduction of sugar, sweetened condensed milk, sweetened beverages, sweetmeats, pastries, confectionery, or other sweet dietary items into the culture. In fact, a recent study on sucrose intolerance in northern Alaskan Eskimos revealed that sucrose-intolerant individuals continued to consume sucrose despite the discomforts associated with the offending items.12 Many scholars have promoted the thesis that mammalian responsiveness to sweetness arose because for millions of years a sweet taste served to indicate edibility to the tasting organism.13 Hominid evolution from arboreal, fruit-eating primate ancestors makes this thesis particularly persuasive, and has encouraged some students of the problem to go to logical extremes: .,. the least natural environments may sometimes provide the best evidence about human nature____Western peoples consume enormous per capita quantities of refined sugar because, to most people, very sweet foods taste very good. The existence of the human sweet tooth can be explained, ultimately, as an adaptation of ancestral populations to favor the ripest—and .hence the sweetest—fruit. In other words, the selective pressures of times past are most strikingly revealed by the artificial, supernormal stimulus of refined sugar, despite the evidence that eating refined sugar is maladaptive.14 In fact, it can be argued equally well (and more convincingly, it seems to me) that the widely variant sugar-eating habits of contemporary populations show that no ancestral predisposition within the species can adequately explain what are in fact culturally conventionalized norms, not biological imperatives. That there are links between fruit eating, the sensation of sweetness, and the evolution of the primates is persuasive. That they "explain" the heavy con- 16* SWEETNESS AND POWER FOOD, SOCIALITY, AND SUGAR •17 sumption of refined sugar by some peoples in the modern world is i not. Indeed, all {05 at least nearly all} mammals like sweetness." -i That milk, including human milk, is sweet is hardly irrelevant. 1 One scholar, seeking to push the link between human preferences J and sweetness just a little further back, has even argued that the fetus experiences sweetness when nourished in utero.'* The new- '-'i born infant usually lives exclusively on milk at first, Jerome notes that the use of sweetened liquids as a substitute for milk for infant | feeding occurs across the world. The first nonmilk "food" that a | baby is likely to receive in North American hospitals is a 5-percent glucose-and-water solution, used to evaluate its postpartum rune- ■"; dotting because "the newborn tolerates glucose better than water."17 On the one hand, that the human liking for sweetness is not just an acquired disposition is supported by many different kinds of evidence; on the other, the circumstances under which that pre- : disposition is intensified by cultural practice are highly relevant i to how strong the "sweet tooth" is. Sweetness would have been known to our primate ancestors and to early human beings in berries, fruit, and honey—honey being ft the most intensely sweet, by far. Honey, of course, is an animal M product, at least in the sense that its raw material is gathered from 1 flowering plants by bees. "Sugar," particularly sucrose, is a vege- M table product extracted by human ingenuity and technical achieve- jj ment. And whereas honey was known to human beings at all levels 'S of technical achievement the world over from a very early point in a the historical record, sugar (sucrose) made from the sugar cane is Jj a late product that spread slowly during the first millennium or so jj of its existence, and became widespread only during the past five M hundred years. Since the nineteenth century, the sugar beet, a tern- | perate crop, has become an almost equally important source of .M sucrose, and the mastery of sucrose extraction from it has altered J the character of the world's sugar industries.18 In the present century, other caloric sweeteners, particularly those from maize (Zea mays), have begun to challenge the primacy of sucrose, and noncaloric sweeteners have also begun to win a place in the human diet. Sensations of sweetness must be carefully distinguished from the ' substances that give rise to them; and processed sugars, such as sucrose, dextrose, and fructose, which are manufactured and refined technochemically, must be distinguished from sugars as they occur in nature. For chemists, "sugar" is a generic term for a large, varied class of organic compounds of which sucrose is but one. I concentrate in this book on sucrose, though there will be occasion to refer to other sugars, and this focus is dictated by the history of sucrose's consumption in recent centuries, which completely outstripped honey (its principal European competitor before the seventeenth century), and made largely irrelevant such other products as maple sugar and palm sugar. The very idea of sweetness came to be associated with sugar in European thought and language, though honey continued to play a privileged minor role, particularly in literary imagery. The lack of clarity or specificity in European conceptions of sweetness as a sensation is noticeable. I have already remarked that, though there may be certain absolute species-wide features in the human taste apparatus, different peoples eat widely variant substances and have radically different ideas about what tastes good, especially relative to other edible substances. Not only do individuals differ in preferences and the degree of intensity of a particular taste that suits them, but also there is no adequate methodology to bracket or bound the range of tastes typical of persons in any group. To add to the difficulties, the lexicons of taste sensation, even if fully recorded, are immensely difficult to translate for comparative purposes. Still, there is probably no people on earth that lacks the lexical means to describe that category of tastes we call "sweet." Though the taste of sweetness is not uniformly liked, either by whole cultures or by all of the members of any one culture, no society rejects sweetness as unpleasant—even though particular sweet things are tabooed or eschewed for various reasons. Sweet tastes have a privileged position in contrast to the more variable attitudes toward sour, salty, and bitter tastes; this, of course, does not rule out the common predilections for certain sour, salty, or bitter substances. But to say that everyone everywhere likes sweet things says nothing about where such tastes fit into the spectrum of taste possibilities, how important sweetness is, where it occurs in a taste-preference 18* SWEETNESS AND POWER hierarchy, or how it is thought of in relation to other tastes. Moreover, there is much evidence that people's attitudes toward foods, including sweet foods, have varied greatly with time and occasion. In the modern world, one need only contrast the frequency, intensity, and scale of sugar uses in the French diet with, say, the English or American, to see how widely attitudes toward sweetness vary. Americans seem to like meals to end with sweetness, in desserts; others also like to start with sweetness. Moreover, sweetness is important in what anthropologists call interval eating, or snacks, in American life. Other peoples seem less inclined to treat sweetness as a "slot taste," suitable in only one or several positions; for them a sweet food might appear at any point in the meal—as one of the middle courses, or as one of several dishes served simultaneously. The propensity to mix sweetness with other tastes is also highly variable. The widely different ways that sweetness is perceived and employed support my argument that the importance of sweetness in English taste preferences grew over rime, and was not characteristic before the eighteenth century. Though in the West sweetness now generally is considered by the culture (and perhaps by most scientists) a quality counterposed to bitterness, sourness, and saltiness, which make up the taste " tetrahedron,"!» or is contrasted to the piquancy or homess with which it is sometimes associated in Chinese, Mexican, and West African cuisines, I suspect that this counter-position—in which sweetness becomes the "opposite" of everything—is quite recent. Sweet could only be a countertaste to salt/ bitter/sour when there was a plentiful enough source of sweetness to make this possible. Yet the contrast did not always occur when sugar became plentiful; Britain, Germany, and the Low Countries reacted differently, for instance, from France, Spain, and Italy. That some built-in predisposition to sweetness is part of the human equipment seems inarguable. But it cannot possibly explain differing food systems, degrees of preference, and taxonomies of taste—any more than the anatomy of the so-called organs of speech can "explain" any particular language. It is the borderline between our human liking for sweetness and the supposed English "sweet tooth" that I hope to illuminate in what follows. 2 4 Production Sucrose—what we call "sugar"—is an organic chemical of the carbohydrate family. It can be commercially extracted from various plant sources, and it occurs in all green plants.1 A plant food manufactured photosynthetically from carbon dioxide and water, sucrose is thus a fundamental feature of the chemical architecture of living things. The two most important sources of processed sucrose—of the refined carbohydrate product we consume and call "sugar"—are the sugar cane and the sugar beet. Sugar beets were not economically important as a source of sucrose until the middle of the nineteenth century, but sugar cane has been the prime source of sucrose for more than a millennium—perhaps for much longer. The sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L.) was first domesticated in New Guinea, and very anciendy. The botanists Artschwager and Brandes believe that there were three diffusions of sugar cane from New Guinea, the first taking place around 8000 B.C. Perhaps two thousand years later, the cane was catried to the Philippines and India, and possibly to Indonesia (though some authorities regard Indonesia as yet another locus of domestication).3 References to sugar making do not appear until well into the Christian era. There are some earlier references in Indian literature. The Mahabbashya of Patanjali, for instance, a commentary on Pa-nini's study of Sanskrit, the first grammar of a language ever written (probably around 400-350 B.C.), mentions sugar repeatedly in particular food combinations (rice pudding with milk and sugar; barley 20» SWEETNESS AND POWER meal and sugar; fermented drinks flavored with ginger and sugar); if one assumes that what was meant was some nonliquid product as least partially crystallized from the juice of the sugar cane, this would be the earliest such mention we have. But it is open to doubt, because there is no sure evidence that the product was crystallized. A little later, in 327 b.c, Nearchus, Alexander's general, sailing from the mouth of the Indus River to the mouth of the Euphrates, asserted that "a reed in India brings forth honey without the help of bees, from which an intoxicating drink is made though the plant bears no fruit."3 The sugar engineer and historian Noel Deerr accepts this as a reference to sugar cane, but his citations from Greek and Roman authorities are not entirely convincing. The term sak-charon or saccharon—cr&Kxapov—used by Dioscorides, Pliny, Galen, and others, is not translatable as some single specific substance. The historian of food R. J. Forbes, carefully reviewing the evidence from pre-Christian Greece and from Rome, concluded that saccharon was available in India "and even known, though imperfectly, to the Hellenistic visitors to this country [India]"; and here he does mean sugar made from the juice of the sugar cane. He accepts Dioscorides, who wrote: "There is a kind of concreted honey, called saccharon, found in reeds in India and Arabia Felix, like in consistence to salt, and brittle to be broken between the teeth, as salt is. It is good for the belly and the stomach being dissolved in water and so drank, helping the pained bladder and the reins." To which Forbes adds: "Sugar was therefore produced, at least in small quantities, in India and was just becoming known to the Roman world in Pliny's day"—that is, during the first century a.d.4 He reminds us, however, that terms like saccharon and even "manna" were used for a variety of sweet substances, including plant secretions, the excreta of plant lice, the mannite exudation of Fraxinus omus (the so-called manna ash tree), etc.-5 Some students of sugar history suppose that saccharon referred to an entirely different substance, the so-called sugar of bamboo, or tabashir, a gum that accumulates in the stems of certain bamboos and has a sweet taste.6 Obscure though this controversy is, it highlights a vital feature in the history of sugar: sugar must be crystal- production •21 lized from liquid. What we call "sugar" is the end product of an ancient, complex, and difficult process. One begins with the sugar-cane plant itself, a large grass of the family Gramineae. There are six known species of sugar cane, of which Saccharum officinarum—"sugar of the apothecaries"—has been important throughout history. Though other species besides Saccharum officinarum have been used to breed new varieties in recent decades, the source of genes for sucrose accumulation has continued to be this species above all, the so-called noble cane, with soft, sweet, juicy stalks that grow as thick as two inches, and twelve to fifteen feet high, when mature. Cane is propagated asexually from cuttings of the stem having at least one bud.7 Once planted, the cane sprouts and with adequate heat and moisture may grow an inch a day for six weeks. It becomes ripe—and reaches the optimum condition for extraction—in a dry season after anywhere from nine to eighteen months. "Ratoon" cane, grown from the stubble of the preceding crop without replanting, is normally cut about every twelve months. Seed cane cuttings in the tropics take longer to reach maturity. In all cases cane must be cut when ready so as not to lose its juice or the proportion of sucrose in this juice; and once it is cut, the juice must be rapidly extracted to avoid rot, desiccation, inversion, or fermentation. The intrinsic nature of sugar cane fundamentally affected its cultivation and processing. "Though we speak of sugar factories," writes one scholar, "what actually takes place there is not a manufacturing process but a series of liquid-solid operations to isolate the sucrose made by nature in the plant."8 The practice of crushing or comminuting the cane fibers so their liquid content can be extracted must be almost as old as the discovery that the cane was sweet. This extraction can be accomplished in a number of different ways. The cane can be chopped, then ground, pressed, pounded, or soaked in liquid. Heating the liquid containing the sucrose causes evaporation and a resulting sucrose concentration. As the liquid becomes supersaturated, crystals begin to appear. In effect, crystallization requires the concentration of a supersaturated solution in which sucrose is contained in liquid form. While cooling and 22* sweetness and power crystallizing, low-grade massecuites leave "final" or "blackstrap" molasses. This molasses, or treacle, cannot be crystallized further by conventional methods. It is, of course, quite sweet, and can be used for sweetening food; in the English diet, it was for more than a century at least as important as any crystalline form of sugar; in refined forms, it remains important to this day. This much of the process is ancient. Supplementary steps leading to sugars that are less dark, chemically purer, or more refined (the latter two are not the same thing), and to an ever-increasing differentiation of final products, including alcoholic beverages and many different syrups, have developed over the centuries. But the basic process is very old. In fact, there is no other practical means by which to "make" sugar from the cane than by "a series of liquid-solid operations" accompanied by heating and cooling; and maintaining proper temperatures, while keeping the investment in heating methods and fuels affordable, has been a serious technical problem throughout most of sugar's history. The sugar eventually fabricated from the sucrose magma differs strikingly from both sugar-cane juice and from the various sucrose-rich syrups used in candy making and food preparation. In certain respects there is nothing that refined white sugar resembles so much as salt: white, granular, brittle, and nearly 99 percent pure: "the only chemical substance to be consumed in practically pure form as a staple food."' Thus there are two remarkable different end products of sugar making. Even though both are sugars and nearly perfectly pure, one is liquid and usually golden, the other granular and usually white. Pure and refined sugars may be made in any color, of course. But at one time their whiteness served as evidence of their fineness and purity. The idea that the finest and purest sucrose would also be the whitest is probably a symbolically potent aspect of sugar's early European history; but the fact that sucrose can be prepared in many usable forms, one of which resembles honey, is also significant. The honeylike "treacle" or "golden syrup," so important in the making of the modern English diet, gradually won out over the ancient competitor, honey, which it mimicked. It even carried off some of the poetic imagery formerly associated with production ♦23 honey.10 We shall have reason to return to both of these features of sugar's history. It is not until about 500 a.d. that we get unmistakable written evidence of sugar making. The Buddhagosa, or Discourse on Moral Consciousness, a Hindu religious document, describes by way of analogy the boiling of juice, the making of molasses, and the rolling of balls of sugar. (It is likely that the first sugars—sufficiently crystallized to be nonliquid, but probably not yet intentionally crystallized into solids—were taffylike rather than brittle.11) But the references are few, and puzzling. In a report by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius in 627, when he seized a palace dwelling of the Persian king Chosroes II near Baghdad, sugar is described as an "Indian" luxury. Between the fourth and eighth centuries, the major sugar-fabrication centers seem to have been the coast to the west of the Indus delta (coastal Baluchistan), and the head of the Persian Gulf, on the Tigris-Euphrates delta. Only after the eighth century was sugar known and consumed in Europe itself; and only from that same time do references to cane growing and sugar making around the eastern Mediterranean begin to appear. Sucrose was practically unknown in northern Europe before perhaps 1000 ad., and only barely known for another century or two. Still, sketching in some crude "periods" or "stages" may provide some guide to the discussion that follows. The Arab expansion westward marked a turning point in the European experience of sugar. Between the defeat of Heraclius in 636 and the invasion of Spain in 711, in less than a single century, the Arabs established the caliphate at Baghdad, conquered North Africa, and began their occupation of major parts of Europe itself. Sugar making, which in Egypt may have preceded the Arab conquest, spread in the Mediterranean basin after that conquest. In Sicily, Cyprus, Malta, briefly in Rhodes, much of the Maghrib (especially in Morocco), and Spain itself (especially on its south coast), the Arabs introduced the sugar cane, its cultivation, the art of sugar making, and a taste for this different sweetness.12 One scholar claims that sugar did not reach Venice until 996, whence it was exported 24» SWEETNESS AMD POWER northward; but this date is perhaps late." By then sugar cane was being grown across North Africa and on several Mediterranean islands, including Sicily, as well as being the subject of agricultural experimentation in Spain itself. But before that, and even before Venice became a major re-exporting center for Europe, sugar in many forms was reaching Europe from the Middle East. Persia and India, the regions that had known sugar making for the longest time, were probably where the fundamental processes associated with sugar making had been invented. From the Mediterranean basin, sugar was supplied to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for many centuries. Production there ceased only when production in New World colonies became dominant, after the late sixteenth century. During the Mediterranean epoch, western Europe very slowly became accustomed to sugar. From the Mediterranean, I the industry then shifted to the Atlantic islands of Spain and Portugal, including Madeira, the Canaries, and Sao Tome; but this relatively brief phase came to an end when the American industries began to grow. M Only in recent years have the civilizational accomplishments of the Arab world begun to receive fair attention in the West. The Europe-centered historical view most of us share tends to exclude interest in the rest of the world's technical accomplishments, which we seem to recognize best when we "explain" them by reference to great inputs of labor (the Pyramids, the Great Wall, the Temple to the Sun, Machu Picchu, etc.); our warmest compliments are saved for the aesthetic, not the technical, achievements of those we regard as technically inferior, whether we admit it or not. Though we never quite bring ourselves to say so baldly, the western view is one of amazement that the aesthetic capacities of other peoples are not confined by their technical limitations. Yet anyone even casually interested in the history of southern Europe knows that the Moorish conquest of Spain was only the terminus of a brilliantly rapid westward expansion, as much technical and military as economic, political, and religious. The Moors were not halted in their outward movement until they reached Poitiers in 732, where Charles Mattel turned their flank. That year marked only the hundredth anniversary of the death of PRODUCTION ♦25 Mohammed and of the installation of die first caliph, Abu Bakr. After 759, the Moors withdrew from Toulouse and southern France and entrenched themselves behind the Pyrenees; but it would be seven hundred years before the Spain they had conquered in only seven would once again become completely Christian. Some portions of the Mediterranean world fell to Islam after Spain herself had fallen. Crete, for instance, was not taken until 823; Malta not until 870. And wherever they went, the Arabs brought with them sugar, the product and the technology of its production; sugar, we are told, followed the Koran. Though the unusual demands of sugar cultivation slowed its development as a commercial crop throughout the Islamic Mediterranean, its perfection as far north as central Spain was a great technical achievement. The Mediterranean's Arab conquerors were synthesists, innovators transporting the diverse cultural riches of the lands they subjugated back and forth across portions of three continents, combining, intermixing, and inventing, creating new adaptations. And many significant crops—rice, sorghum, hard wheat, cotton, eggplant, citrus fruits, plantains, mangoes, and sugar cane—were diffused by the spread of Islam.14 But it was not so much, or exclusively, new crops that mattered; with the Arab conquerors there also traveled phalanxes of subordinate administrators (predominantly non-Arab), policies of administration and taxation, technologies of irrigation, production, and processing, and the impulses to expand production. The spread of sugar cane and the technology required for its cultivation and conversion encountered obstacles—mostly rain and seasonal temperature fluctuations. As we have seen, sugar cane is a tropical and subtropical crop with a growing season that may be in excess of twelve months; it requires large amounts of water and labor. Though it can flourish without irrigation, it does far better (and increases its sugar content) when it is watered regularly and when its growing season is not subject to sharp and sudden declines in temperature. Early Islam in the Mediterranean actually added to the agricultural seasons by producing crops like sugar cane in the summer, thereby altering the round of the agricultural year and the allocation 26* sweetness and power PRODUCTION ♦27 of labor during it. By expanding the production of sugar cane on both southern and northern fringes of the Mediterranean—as far south as Marrakech and even Agadir and Taroudant in Morocco, for instance; and as far north as Valencia in Spain and Palermo in Sicily—the Arabs tested to their limits the potentialities of these newly conquered lands. On the one hand, the danger of frosts on the northern margins meant a shorter growing season—sugar planted in February or March had to be harvested in January. Such cane required just as much labor—from preparing the fields through processing the syrup—for less yield; this eventually counted against the Mediterranean industries when American sugar began to enter Europe in large quantities. On the other hand, the lack of adequate rainfall on the southern margins—as in Egypt—meant labor-intensive irrigation; in the Egyptian case, we are told, cane got twenty-eight wettings from planting to cutting." Sugar cane—if the crop is to be used to make sugar and not just for the extraction of juice, so that proper cultivation, prompt cutting and grinding, and skilled processing are involved—has always been a labor-intensive crop, at least until well into the twentieth century. Sugar production was a challenge not only in technical and political (administrative) terms, but also in regard to the securing and use of labor. Everywhere, the Arabs showed a lively interest in irrigation, water use, and water conservation. They took with them, wherever they went, every watering device they encountered. To existing pre-lslamic forms of irrigation in the Mediterranean, they added the Persian bucket wheel (which the Spaniards call noria, from the Arabic term for "creaking sound"), the water screw, the Persian qanat (that remarkable labor-intensive system of engineered underground tunnels serving to carry ground water to arable fields by sheer gravity, apparently brought to Spain first and thence to North Africa), and many other devices. None of these innovations by itself could have made a decisive difference; what mattered was the energy and dedication of the conquerors and their apparently skillful use of local labor—in itself a subject of the greatest importance, but concerning which we still know relatively little. Deerr tells us that there was "one great difference between the sugar industry founded by the Arabs and that developed by Christian Europeans. Although Islam recognized the status of slavery, the Mediterranean industry is free from that ruthless and bloody reproach, the curse of organized slavery that for 400 years tainted the New World production."" But this flat claim is unfounded. Slavery played a part in the Moroccan sugar industry17 and probably elsewhere; a slave revolt involving thousands of East African agricultural laborers took place in the Tigris-Euphrates delta in the mid-ninth century, and they may even have been sugar-cane-plantation workers." But slavery did grow more important as the European Crusaders seized the sugar plantations of the eastern Mediterranean from their predecessors; and its importance for sugar production did not diminish significantly until the Haitian Revolution, at the close of the eighteenth century. The sugars of the Arabs were no single homogeneous substance; from the Persians and Indians, the Arabs had learned a variety of sugar types or categories. We know about these various sugars and even something about the processes of their manufacture, but the details remain vague. Milling also poses a question: some studies of the history of Arab milling have been made, but it remains an area of controversy.1' In the extraction of juice from the cane, the more efficient the process, the greater the eventual yield. High-percentage yields of cane juice date only from the late nineteenth century, although there was improvement beginning at least in the seventeenth. A decisive step in sugar technology came with the invention of the vertical three-roller mill, powered by either water or animal traction. This mill could be operated by two or three persons, who would pass the cane back and forth through the rollers (if animal-powered rather than hydraulic, the mill required a third worker to look after the animal or animals). The origins and exact ages of such mills remain obscure. Deerr (following Lippmann) attributes their invention to Pietro Speciale, prefect of Sicily, in 1449;20 Soares Pereira doubts this—and with good reason, arguing instead that it was invented in Peru and came to Brazil between 1608 and 1612, then elsewhere.21 But this controversy hardly concerns us, because the Arabs' Mediterranean sugar industry, some five centuries prior 28» sweetness and power production ♦29 ■ IS] to Special's alleged invention, made do with other, less efficient systems. There is sure evidence of the use of water power for cane milling at an early time in Morocco and Sicily, even if beyond that we know Uttle. The Crusades gave many Europeans the opportunity—though not the first, as is sometimes claimed—to familiarize themselves with many new products, sugar among them. The Crusaders learned about sugar under pressing circumstances, we are told. Albert van Aachen, who collected the reminiscences of veterans of the First Crusade (1096-99), writes: In the fields of the plains of Tripoli can be found in abundance a honey reed which they call Zuchra; the people are accustomed to suck enthusiastically on these reeds, delighting themselves with their beneficial juices, and seem unable to sate themselves with this pleasure in spite of their sweetness. The plant is grown, presumably and with great effort, by the inhabitants.... It was on this sweet-tasting sugar cane that people sustained themselves during the sieges of Elbarich, Marrah, and Arkah, when tormented by fearsome hunger.22 But it was not just that the Crusades taught the peoples of western Europe about sugar. Soon enough the Crusaders were supervising the production of that same sugar in the areas they had conquered, as in the kingdom of Jerusalem (1099-1187), until it fell to Saladin. They became the supervisors of sugar-cane cultivation and sugar production at the still-visible site called Tawahin A-Sukkar, "the sugar mills," scarcely a kilometer's remove from Jericho, where mills that were still in use in 1484 are documented as early as 1116.13 (Though it is not certain they were used to grind cane at the earlier of these dates, they were surely so used later.) When Acre fell to the Saracens in 1291, the Knights of Malta were planting cane there (at a later point in history, they sought to establish plantations in the Caribbean). Meanwhile, Venetian merchants were energetically developing sugar enterprises near Tyre, on Crete, and on Cyprus. In other words, Europeans became producers of sugar (or, better, the controllers of sugar producers in conquered areas) as a consequence of the Crusades. The decline of the Mediterranean sugar industry has tradition- ally—and for the most part correctly—been attributed to the rise 0f a competing sugar industry on the Atlantic islands and, later, in the New World. But in fact, as the geographer J. H. Galloway pointed out, the eastern-Mediterranean industry lost ground a century before the first sugar was produced in Madeira, and sugar production in Sicily, Spain, and Morocco actually gained ground in the fifteenth century.24 He believes that warfare and plague, with the resultant declines of population, hurt the sugar industry in Crete and Cyprus. Also, the prices of labor-costly goods like sugar rose after the Black Death. Indeed, in his opinion, it was the expanded use of slave labor to compensate for plague-connected mortality that initiated the strange and enduring relationship between sugar and slavery: "The link between sugar cultivation and slavery which was to last until the nineteenth century became firmly forged in Crete, Cyprus, and Morocco."2* The decline of the Mediterranean sugar industry that had been created by the Arabs was uneven and protracted. In some subre-gions, the successive contractions of Arab political control, often resulting in inferior local administration, put an end to effective irrigation and labor allocation. In others, the Christian challenge sometimes resulted in continued sugar production under the invader's auspices—for instance, in Sicily after the Norman conquest, and on Cyprus. Yet, though the Crusaders and the merchants from Amalfi, Genoa, and other Italian states divided among themselves the duties of administering production and trade, these arrangements did not last long. Portugal was not content to experiment with sugar-cane cultivation at home in the Algarve when better, opportunities beckoned elsewhere, and Spain was not far behind. The Christian continuation of Arab production in the eastern Mediterranean, on the one hand, and the experiments undertaken by Portugal (and soon by Spain) at the western end of that sea on the other, foretokened two rather different developments, however. In the eastern Mediterranean, production actually rose at first, even following the withdrawal of the Franks from Palestine in the thirteenth century, and the later Ottoman expansion. Crete, Cyprus, and Egypt continued to produce sugar for export.26 Yet this region became less and less important as a source of sugar; and it was the 30. SWEETNESS AND POWER production •31 development of the industry by the Portuguese and Spaniards orti the Atlantic islands that changed forever the character of Europea sugar consumption. These were the stepping stones by which the* industry would move from the Old World to the New; it was in' the form perfected on them that the New World industry was to find its prototype. Even before the New World industries were established, however, the sugar industry on the Atlantic islands damaged the competitive ' position of Malta, Rhodes, Sicily, and the other small Mediterranean producers. By 1580 the Sicilian industry, once flourishing, did little more than supply its domestic market, and in Spain itself, sugar production began to decline in the seventeenth century, though sugar did continue to be produced in the extreme south of the peninsula. At the time that the Portuguese and the Spaniards set out to establish a sugar industry on the Atlantic islands they controlled, sugar was still a luxury, a medicine, and a spice in western Europe. The peoples of Greece, Italy, Spain, and North Africa were familiar with sugar cane as a crop and, to some extent, with sugar itself as a sweetener. But as sugar production in the Mediterranean waned, knowledge of sugar and the desire for it waxed in Europe. The movement of the industry to the Atlantic islands occurred when European demand was probably growing. Individual entrepreneurs were encouraged to establish sugar-cane (and other) plantations on the Atlantic islands, manned with African slaves and destined to produce sugar for Portugal and other European markets, because their presence safeguarded the extension of Portuguese trade routes around Africa and toward the Orient; In...a series of experiments, the plantation system, now combining African slaves under the authority of European settlers in a racially mixed society, producing sugar cane and other commercial crops, spread as island after island [the Madeira Islands, including Madeira, La Palma, and Hierro; the Canary Islands, including Tenerife, Gran Canada, and Fuerteventura; the nine widely scattered islands that compose the Azores; the Cape Verde Islands, including Boa Vista, Sto. Antao, and Sao Tiago; Sao Tome and Principe; etc.] was integrated as part of the expanding kingdom. In only some of the islands did sugar cane plantations prosper.... But overall, sugar cane and the plantation did enable the government of Portugal, once it had committed itself to the policy of commercially oriented expansion, to have settled, at the expense of private citizens, island bases that gave her control of the South Atlantic and made possible the rounding of Africa and trade in the East.27 There were intimate links between the Atlantic-island experiments of the Portuguese, especially Sao Tome, and west European centers of commercial and technical power, especially Antwerp.'8 It is of particular significance that from the thirteenth century onward, the refining center for European sugar was Antwerp, followed later by other great port cities such as Bristol, Bordeaux, and even London. Control of the final product moved into European hands—but not, it bears noting, into those of the same Europeans (in this instance, the Portuguese) who pioneered the production of sugar overseas. The increasing differentiation of sugars, in line with the growing differentiation of demand, was another cause of growth. The descriptive lexicon for sugars expanded, as more and more sorts became familiar to the Europeans.15 Sugar itself was now known throughout western Europe, even though it was still a product de luxe, rather than a common commodity or necessity. No longer So precious a good as musk or pearls, shipped to the courts of Europe via intermediary countries and their luxury traders, sugar was becoming a raw material whose supply and refining were managed more and more by European powers, as European populations consumed it in larger and larger quantities. The political differentiation of the western states interested in sugar proceeded apace after the fifteenth century. To a surprising degree, the way sugar figured in national policies indicated—perhaps even exercised some influence over—political futures. Portugal's and Spain's sugar experiments in the Atlantic islands had many parallels, though later they diverged sharply. In the fifteenth century both powers looked for favorable locales for sugar production: while Portugal seized Sao Tome and other islands, Spain captured the Canaries. After about 1450, Madeira was the leading supplier, followed by Sao Tome; by the 1500s, the Canary Islands ;v'-' 32« SWEETNESS AND POWER production •33 had also become important.30 And both powers experienced a growing demand for sugar (suggested, for instance, by the household! accounts of Isabella the Catholic, queen of Castile from 1474 to] 1504). The sugar industries in the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic iM lands were characterized by slave labor, a tradition supposedly^ transferred from the Mediterranean sugar plantations of the Arab and Crusaders. But the Spanish scholar Fernandez-Armesto tells i that the striking feature of the Canarian industry was its use of botl free and enslaved labor, a combination that resembled more the pioneering mixed-labor systems of a later era: the seventeenth-century» British and French Caribbean plantations, on which enslaved and indentured laborers would work alongside one another. Slaves were decidedly important, perhaps crucial; but a substantial amount of the labor was actually done by free wage earners paid partly in kind—some of them specialists, others temporary laborers. This system was probably not quite so atypical as it seems. But it is true: that free wage earners hardly figure in sugar's history between the Atlantic island phase and the epoch of revolution and emancipation in the New World, from the start of the Haitian Revolution until emancipation in Brazil. "The Canarian system," Fernandez-Armesto tells us, "evokes far more the methods of the Old World, and the equal sharing of produce between owners and workers is most akin to the farming a mezzadria, which developed in late medieval northern Italy and in some parts is still practised today."31 Sugar cane was first carried to the New World by Columbus on his second voyage, in 1493; he brought it there from the Spanish Canary Islands. Cane was first grown in the New World in Spanish Santo Domingo; it was from that point that sugar was first shipped back to Europe, beginning around 1516. Santo Domingo's pristine sugar industry was worked by enslaved Africans, the first slaves having been imported there soon after the sugar cane. Hence it was Spain that pioneered sugar cane, sugar making, African slave labor, and the plantation form in the Americas. Some scholars agree with Fernando Ortiz that these plantations were "the favored child of capitalism," and other historians quarrel with this assessment. But gten if Spain's achievements in sugar production did not rival those of the Portuguese until centuries later, their pioneering nature has never been in doubt, though scholars of New World sugar have sometimes neglected Spain's early Caribbean accomplishments in the sugar trade because their global significance was slight. Wallers cein and Braudel are cavalier in their disregard; Braudel has sugar cane and sugar mills not reaching Santo Domingo until after 1654, for instance.31 By 1526, Brazil was shipping sugar to Lisbon in commercial quantities, and soon the sixteenth century was the Brazilian century for sugar. Within the Spanish New World, the early achievements in Santo Domingo and the rest of the Caribbean were outstripped by developments on the mainland. In Mexico, Paraguay, the Pacific coast of South America, and in fertile valleys everywhere, sugar cane prospered. Yet the very first experiments with sugar-cane growing and sugar making on Santo Domingo had been doomed to failure. When two planters there tried to make sugar—Aguilon in 1505 -6 and Balles-ter in 1512—Spain was not yet ready to support their ambitions, nor were the skills extant in Santo Domingo able to sustain them.33 The only available milling techniques were probably modeled on tenth-century Egyptian edge-roller mill designs, originally intended for use as olive presses. Such devices were inefficient and wasteful of labor. Another serious problem was the labor supply itself. The rapid destruction of the indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taino Indians of Santo Domingo had left too little manpower even for the gold mines, let alone for the experimental sugar plantations. The first African slaves were imported before 1503, and in spite of local fears of depredations by slave runaways {cimarrones), the importations continued. By 1509, enslaved Africans were being imported to work the royal mines; others soon followed to power the sugar industry. When the surgeon Gonzalo de Veliosa—perhaps taking note of the rising prices of sugar in Europe—imported skilled sugar masters from the Canary Islands in 1515, he took the first step toward creating an authentic sugar industry in the Caribbean. With the Canary Island technicians, he (and his new partners, the Tapia 34» SWEETNESS AND POWER brothers) imported a mill with two vertical rollers, usable with either^ animal or water power and "patterned on that developed in 1449 by Pietro Speciále. Tlie gold deposits in Santo Domingo were soon nearly exhausted; labor was more and more likely to be Af7 rican, as the vertiginous decline of the aboriginal population continued. But the price of sugar had become high enough in Europe to compensate partly for cost of transporting it, and to encourage additional risks in production, perhaps especially in Spain's settled Caribbean colonies, where alternative opportunities (such as min-.' ing) were shrinking. One scholar has estimated that the mill fabricated by the Canary Island engineers in Santo Domingo could grind enough cane in one season ~to produce 125 tons of sugar a year if water-powered, and "perhaps a third of that tonnage" if powered by animalsVellosa and his associates lacked the capital to develop the infant industry by themselves. But they took advantage of the presence of three Jeronýmite fathers, sent to Santo Domingo to supervise Indian labor policy, who eventually became the de facto governors of the colony. At first the Jeronymites merely endorsed the pleas of the planters for royal support. Soon, however, they made loans of state revenues they had collected to the planters.3* When the new king, Charles I, ordered the replacement of the Jeronými tes by the royal judge Rodrigo de Figueroa, the policy of state assistance continued and expanded. By the 1530s, the island had a "fairly stable total* of thirty-four mills; and by 1568, "plantations owning a hundred-fifty to two hundred slaves were not uncommon. A few of the more magnificent estates possessed up to five hundred slaves, with production figures correspondingly high."37 One interesting feature of this development was the part played by the state and, indeed, by civil servants, who owned, administered, bought, and sold plantations. Not only was there no private and separate "planter class" at the outset; the commission merchants and other intermediaries who emerge in the Caribbean sugar colonies of other, rival powers were absent. In the other Greater Antilles—Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica— Spanish settlers eventually brought in sugar cane, the methods for its cultivation, the technology of water- and animal-powered mills, PRODUCTION •35 enslaved labor, and the process for grinding, boiling, and fabricating sugars and molasses from extracted juice, as well as for distilling rum from the molasses. And yet this burgeoning Spanish American industry came to almost nothing—in spite of royal support, much intelligent experimentation, and successful production. The Portuguese planters in Brazil succeeded where the Spaniards in the Antilles failed. Within only a century, the French, and even more the British (though with Dutch help from the outset), became the western world's great sugar makers and exporters. One wonders why the early phase of the Hispanic sugar industry stagnated so swiftly after such promising beginnings, and the explanations we have are not entirely satisfactory. The flight of island colonists to the Mexican mainland after the conquest of Tenochtitlan (1519-21); the Spaniards' obsession with metallic riches; the excessively authoritarian controls imposed by the crown on all productive private enterprise in the New World; the chronic lack of capital for investment; the so-called deshonor de! trabajo (ignobillty of [manual] labor) supposedly typical of the Spanish colonists—these factors seem reasonable, but are not entirely convincing. Probably we will not learn why such important early experiments failed until we better understand the nature of the Spanish market for Caribbean sugars, and Spain's ability or inability to export a sugar surplus. With Spain's conquests of Mexico and the Andes, a basic shift was creared in policy: for more than two centuries thereafter, the Caribbean possessions served primarily as way stations and fortresses along the trade routes, signaling Spain's unproductive, tribute-taking, labor-squandering role in the Americas. The pioneering opportunity was soon lost; from about 1580 in the Greater Antilles, until the French and the English began sugar-cane planting on the smaller islands (particularly Barbados and Martinique), after 1650, the Caribbean region produced little sugar for export. By that time the European market situation had modified, and the momentum of production had passed out of Spanish hands.3* Whereas the Spaniards (and, to a lesser extent, the Portuguese) concentrated their colonizing efforts in the New World on the extraction of precious metals, for their North European rivals trade 36« SWEETNESS AND POWER and the production of marketable commodities mattered more, and plantation products figured importantly—cotton, indigo, and, soon enough, two beverage crops: cacao, a New World cultigen and more an indigenous food than a drink, and coffee, of African origin. The costs of labor and the lack of capital held down New World plantation production at first, and gains were made at the cost of production elsewhere. "To thrive, the colonists had to catch better or cheaper fish than the Dutch in the Baltic or the North Sea, to trap or persuade the Indians to trap better or cheaper furs than the Russians, to grow better or cheaper sugar than the Javanese or Bengalis."3' The first crop in the New World to win a market for itself was tobacco, an American domesticate, swiftly transformed from a rare upper-class luxury into a working-class necessity. Tobacco made headway even against royal disapproval, and became part of the consumption of ordinary folk by the seventeenth century. But by the end of that century, sugar was outpacing tobacco in both the British and the French West Indies; by 1700, the value of sugar reaching England and Wales was double that of tobacco. The shift from tobacco to sugar was initially even more pronounced in the French Caribbean colonies than in the British, though in the long term the French market for sugar never attained the scale of the British market. Certain facts stand out in the history of sugar between the early decades of the seventeenth century, when the British, Dutch, and French established Caribbean plantations, and the middle of the nineteenth century, by which rime Cuba and Brazil were the major centers of New World production. Over this long period, sugar production grew steadily, as more westerners consumed sugar and each consumer used it more heavily. Yet technological changes in the field, in grinding, and even in refining itself were relatively minor. Generally speaking, the enlarged market for sugar was satisfied by a steady extension of production rather than by sharp increases in yield per acre of land or ton of cane, or in productivity per worker. But the impulse to produce sugar, as well as to trade in it and consume it, can be traced further back in the record. Soon after Sir Walter Raleigh's first voyage to the Gutanas in 1595, the English production '37 explorer Captain Charles Leigh attempted to start a setdement on the Waiapoco (Oyapock) River (now the border between Brazil and French Guiana). Though neither effort succeeded, both were connected with an interest in sugar and other tropical products. In 1607 Jamestown—the first English colony in the New World—was founded. Sugar cane was brought there in 1619—as were the first enslaved Africans to reach an English colony—but the cane would not grow. Three years earlier, sugar cane had been planted in Bermuda, but this tiny, arid island never produced sugar. These facts indicate that even before the seventeenth century there was a lively awareness of the desirability of sugar, and of at least some of its potential market—in short, of its long-term profitability as a commodity. The aim of acquiring colonies that could produce sugar (among other things) for the metropolis hence predates the seventeenth century. And before she was able to produce sugar in her own colonies, England was not above stealing it. In 1591 a Spanish spy reported that "English booty in West India [American] produce is so great that sugar is cheaper in London rhan it is in Lisbon or the Indies themselves."40 The turning point for British sugar was the setdement of Barbados in 1627, an island Britain claimed after Captain John Powell's landing there in 1625, while returning to Europe from Brazil. It was not until around 1655—the same year the British invasion of Jamaica was launched as part of the Western Design—that Barbadian sugar began to affect the home market, however. (In that year, 283 tons of "clayed" sugars and 6,667 tons of "muscovado" sugars were produced in Barbados;41 meanwhile, other Caribbean acquisitions also began to contribute to homeland consumption, and to make of sugar an imperial source of profit.) After 1655 and until the mid-nineteenth century, the sugar supply of the English people would be provided substantially within the skein of the empire. From the establishment of the first British colonies that succeeded by exporting unfinished products—particularly sugar—to the metropolis, imperial laws were passed to control the flow of such goods, and of the goods for which they were exchanged.42 At the consumption end, changes were both numerous and diverse. Sugar steadily changed from being a specialized—medicinal, 38* sweetness and power production ♦39 condimental, ritual, or display—commodity into an ever more conv mon food. This insertion of an essentially new product within pop-*f ular European tastes and preferences was irreversible, though thej cost of sugar at times certainly braked consumption. The seventeenth century was of course one of tremendous activity! for English sailors, merchants, adventurers, and royal agents. Many! more individual English colonies were established in the New World | than Dutch or French; and the English settler population, including] African slaves, far exceeded that of either of her two principal North ] European rivals. From 1492 until 1625, the Spanish Caribbean,] though weakened by smuggling and raids, remained intact; but'] when St. Kitts was settled, an irreversible process of English ter; tonal expansion began there, which reached its climax only thirty \ years later with the invasion of Jamaica. The seventeenth century ■ ; was also the century of European naval wars in the Caribbean, as -north European powers defined their stakes; their scale varied from hit-and-run piracy and town burning to large-scale naval encoun-; ters. Several different but related processes were occurring at once, but Spain was everyone's enemy, for it was upon her predefined colonial empire that they all fed. England fought the most, conquered the most colonies, imported the most slaves (to her own colonies and, in absolute numbers, in her own bottoms), and went furthest and fastest in creating a plantation system. The most important product of that system was sugar. Coffee, chocolate (cacao), nutmeg, and coconut were among the other products; but the amount of sugar produced, the numbers of its users, and the range of its uses exceeded the others; and it remained the principal product for centuries. In 1625, Portugal was supplying nearly all of Europe with sugar from Brazil. But the English soon developed their sources in Barbados and then in Jamaica, as well as in other "sugar islands." The English learned methods of producing sugar and its kindred substances from the Dutch, whose experiments with plantation agriculture on the Guiana coast the Portuguese had thwarted. From humble beginnings on the island of Barbados in the 1640s, the British sugar industry expanded with astounding rapidity, engulfing first that island and, soon after, Jamaica—the first territorial conquest from Spain in the Greater An- tilles, and nearly thirty times the size of Barbados. As English sugar became price-competitive with Portuguese sugar, England was able to drive Portugal out of the north European trade. From the resulting monopoly came monopoly prices, however, and then stiff competition from the French.43 In 1660, sugar was enumerated (and taxed); but the West India colonies were given a virtual monopoly of Britain's national market. In France, restrictive policies kept English sugars competitive until about 1740, when French rivalry won out. Britain never again retrieved the European markets, but her planters and merchantmen consoled themselves with the domestic market. In 1660, England consumed 1,000 hogsheads of sugar and exported 2,000. In 1700, she imported about 50,000 hogsheads and exported about 18,000. By 1730, 100,000 hogsheads were imported and 18,000 exported, and by 1753, when England imported 110,000 hogsheads, she re-exported only 6,000. "As the supply from the British West Indies increased, England's demand kept pace with it, and from the middle of the eighteenth century these islands seem never to have been able to produce much more sugar than was needed for consumption in the mother country."*4 The steps by which England shifted from buying modest quantities of sugar from Mediterranean shippers; to importing in her own bottoms a somewhat larger supply; to buying yet larger quantities from the Portuguese, first in the Atlantic islands and then in Brazil, but refined outside England; to establishing her own sugar colonies—first to feed herself and to vie with Portugal for customers and then, with time, simply to feed herself, finishing the processing in her own refineries—are complex, but they followed in so orderly a fashion as to seem almost inevitable. On the one hand, they represent an extension of empire outward, but on the other, they mark an absorption, a kind of swallowing up, of sugar consumption as a national habit. Like tea, sugar came to define English "character." 'I.'he vision of an expanding consumers' market at home was grasped quite early. Sir Josiah Chdd, a pioneering mercantilist ("That all Colonies or Plantations do endamage their Mother-Kingdoms, whereof the Trades of such Plantations are not confined by severe Laws, and good execution of those Laws, to the Mother-Kingdom"), 40« SWEETNESS AND POWER stressed the need to control the colonies so that their trade coul, be confined to the profit of the metropolis: It is in his Majesty's power, and the Parliament's, if they please, by taking off all charges from Sugar, to make it more entirely an English Commodity, than White Herrings are a Dutch Commodity; and to draw more Profit to the Kingdom thereby, than the Dutch do by that. And that in consequence thereof all Plantations of other Nations, must in a few Years sink to little or nothing.41 Sir Dalby Thomas, governor of Jamaica and a sugar planter hii self in the late seventeenth century, was an early booster of su; production. He also envisioned how flourishing sugar colonies mi; be consumers of the mother country's products as well: 1. The greatest consumption of Sugar is made by themselves [the legislators of Parliament] and the rest of the rich and opulent People of the Nation. 2. The Quantity yearly produc'd is not less than 45,000 tuns [he is ptesumably speaking of all sugars produced in British colonies at the time, circa 1690]. 3. The Moiety of this is consum'd in England, and amounts to about £800,000 in Value. The other Moiety is exported, and after it has employed Seamen, is sold for as much, and consequently brings back to the Nation in Money, or useful Goods, £800,000. Add to this, That before Sugars were produc'd in our Colonies, it bore four times the Price it does now; and by the same Consumption at the same Price, except we make it our selves, we should be forc'd to give in Money or Money's worth, as Native Commodities and Labour, £240,000 for the Sugar we spend. To which the historian Oldmixon warmly adds, "'Tis certain we bought as much Sugar of Portugal as amounted to £400,000 yearly, which is sav'd by our making it."44 Thomas continues: "We must consider too the Spirits arising from Melasses, which is sent from the Sugar Colonies to the other Colonies and to England; which if all were sold in England, and turn'd into Spirits, it would amount annually to above £500,000 at half the Price the like Quantity of Brandy from France would cost," He recognized not only the dif- froductfon ♦41 ferent sources of mercantile profit to be had from the sugar colonies, but also the vast and incompletely fulfilled promise of these colonies as buyers of the finished goods of the metropolis. In arguing that America's mainland southern colonies resembled more closely the Antilles than New England, he put this part of the case eloquently: ...could they readily get Negroes from Guinea, every one of which consumes yearly two Hilling-Hoes, two Weeding-Hoes, two Grubbing-Hoes, besides Axes, Saws, Wimbles, Nails, and other Iron Tools and Materials, consum'd in Building and other Uses, to the Value of at least £120,000 in only Iron-Work. The Cloaths, Guns, Cordage, Anchors, Sails, and Materials for Shipping, besides Beds and other Houshold Goods, consum'd and us'd by them is infinite: Nor is the Benefit of them to the Kingdom sufficiendy to be explained, therefore, let it suffice, in a Word, to Say, that the Produce and Consumption, with the Shipping they give Employment to, is of an infinite deal more Benefit to the Wealth, Honour, and Strength of the Nation, than four times the same Number of Hands, the best employ'd at home can be.47 Thomas grasped the unfolding of what was to be Europe's greatest mass market for a foreign luxury. And he saw that because the whole process—from the establishment of colonies, the seizure of slaves, the amassing of capital, the protection of shipping, and all else to actual consumption—took shape under the wing of the state, such undertakings were at every point as meaningful politically as they were economically. Like all of the eloquent sugar touts to follow him, Thomas made his arguments both economic and political (he was not above making them medicinal and ceremonial as well): The Europeans 500 years since, were perfect strangers to the use of it [sugar], and scarcely knew its name...but the Physitians soon found [it] to answer all the ends of honey, without many of its ill effects: So that it quickly became a Commodity in mighty esteem, and though the price then was ten rimes more than now, yet it prevailed so fast, and the Consumption of it became so great.... The Vermes of Mellasses formerly sold only in Apothecary's Shops by the name of Treacle being now so well known both to the Distiller and Brewer... nor can it be imagined how many new 42» sweetness and power ways are found dayly for Venting and Consuming usefully the various products of a Sugar-Plantation: The severall Shapes it appears in at Christenings, Banquets and Rich mens Tables, being but the least of its good qualities, tho' of great Delight as well as Ornament, and should the art of making it be so discouraged as to take irs next flight to the Dutch or French, as it did from Portugall to Us, the loss would prove of the like Consequence, which is no less than the decay of the greatest part of their Shipping, and the fall of half their Revenues... .*> We can see that Englishmen understood well the benefits of having their own sugar-producing colonies, and that they also understood better and better the growth potential of the British market for; sugar. Hence it is no surprise that later centuries saw the production of tropical commodities in the colonies tied ever more closely to British consumption—and to the production of British shops and factories. Production and consumption—at least with regard to the product we are considering here—were not simply opposite sides of the same coin, but neatly interdigitated; it is difficult to imagine one without the other. One hundred and fifty years after Thomas rhapsodized on sugar and the sugar trade, another Englishman commented on the colonies and their products in illuminating fashion. "There is a class of trading and exporting communities," John Stuart Mill wrote, "on which a few words of explanation seem to be required." These are hardly to be looked upon as countries, carrying on an exchange of commodities with other countries, but more properly as outlying agricultural or manufacturing estates belonging to a larger community. Our West Indian colonies, for example, cannot be regarded as countries with a productive capital of their own.., [but are, rather,] the place where England finds it convenient to carry on the production of sugar, coffee and a few other tropical commodities. AU the capital employed is English capital; almost all the industry is carried on for English uses; there is little production of anything except for staple commodities, and these are sent to England, not to be exchanged for things exported to the colony and consumed by its inhabitants, but to be sold in England for the benefit of the proprietors there. The trade with the West Indies is hardly to be considered an external trade, but more resembles the traffic between town and country."" production •43 While it is true that these tropical commodities were not exchanged in the United Kingdom, but were sold instead for the profit of the plantation proprietors, it is also true that nearly everything consumed in the West Indian colonies came from England. There were no direct exchanges between the motherland and the colonies, but the patterns of exchange worked to the long-term benefit of imperial enterprise. There grew up, in effect, two so-called triangles of trade, both of which arose in the seventeenth century and matured in the eighteenth. The first and most famous triangle linked Britain to Africa and to the New World: finished goods were sold to Africa, African slaves to the Americas, and American tropical commodities (especially sugar) to the mother country and her importing neighbors. The second triangle functioned in a manner contradictory to the mercantilist ideal. From New England went rum to Africa, whence slaves to the West Indies, whence molasses back to New England (with which to make rum). The maturation of this second triangle put the New England colonies on a political collision course with Britain, but the underlying problems were economic, taking on political import precisely because they brought divergent economic interests into confrontation. The important feature of these triangles is that human cargoes figured vitally in their operation. It was not just that sugar, rum, and molasses were not being traded directly for European finished goods; in both transatlantic triangles the only "false commodity"— yet absolutely essential to the system—was human beings. Slaves were a "false commodity" because a human being is not an object, even when treated as one. In this instance, millions of human beings were treated as commodities. To obtain them, products were shipped to Africa; by their labor power, wealth was created in the Americas, The wealth they created mosdy returned to Britain; the products they made were consumed in Britain; and the products made by Britons—cloth, tools, torture instruments—were consumed by slaves who were themselves consumed in the creation of wealth. In the seventeenth century, English society was very slowly evolving toward a system of free labor, by which I mean the creation of a labor force that, lacking any access to productive property such 44« SWEETNESS AND POWER production »45 as land, would have to sell its labor to the owners of the means ol production. Yet in that same century, England was adapting a sysl tern of mostly coerced labor in her colonies to satisfy her needs! there. These two radically different patterns of labor exaction wefi growing in two ecologically different settings and were critically! different in form. Yet they served the same overarching economic; goals, and were created—albeit in such different form—by thej evolution of a single economic and political system. So much has been written of the rise of British Caribbean sugar! that no brief summary would be satisfactory. But enough should] be said, at least, so that the qualitative changes that mark the dif- -] ferences between the Spanish plantation experiments of the lafej sixteenth century and the English achievements of the mid-" seventeenth and eighteenth centuries can be grasped. Those differ-] ences have to do with changes in the scale not only of plantation! operations, but also of the market. As we have seen, England's entry! into the plantation production of sugar in its colonies first served 1 to supply the domestic (British) consumers' market, but meant com:; peting for the growing European market as well. After outselling the Portuguese (and later the French) on the Continent in the 1680s,I the English soon relinquished the Continental market again, the) better to supply their own growing needs. "After 1660, England's sugar imports always exceeded its combined imports of all other colonial produce."50 These changes were paralleled by a steady expansion of plantation production, with more plantations in mature colonies, and added new colonies as well; and by a growing differentiation of the products themselves—first sugar and molasses; soon after, rum; then a multiplication of crystalline sugar varieties and of syrup types—redifferentiations that were accompanied by (or, better, responded to) more elaborate and heterogeneous consumer demand at home. Meanwhile, the fates of individual sugar colonies (and even of different sectors of the plantation economy in any one colony) were anything but predictable. Plantations were highly speculative enterprises. While they eventuated in enormous profits for fortunate investors, bankruptcies were common; some of the most daring plantation entrepreneurs ended their days in debtors' prison. Sugar was never a sure thing, despite the unfailingly optimistic predictions of its protagonists. But the risks taken by individual investors and planters in particular colonies were counterbalanced, over time, by the unceasing increases in demand. Those who foresaw the increases included, as always, both eventual winners and losers. Overall, the British imperial system was able to gorge itself on an ever-growing demand for sugar that accompanied both a declining unit price for sugar and increases in worker productivity at home. A mass market for sugar emerged rather tardily. Until the eighteenth century, sugar was really the monopoly of a privileged minority, and its uses were still primarily as a medicine, as a spice, or as a decorative (display) substance. "An entirely new taste for sweetness manifested itself," Davis declares, "as soon as the means to satisfy it became available...by 1750 the poorest English farm labourer's wife took sugar in her tea."51 From the mid-eighteenth century onward, sugar production in the imperial economy became more and more important to England's rulers and ruling classes. This is only an apparent contradiction. As the production of sugar became significant economically, so that it could affect political and military (as well as economic) decisions, its consumption by the powerful came to matter less; at the same time, the production of sugar acquired that importance precisely because the masses of English people were now steadily consuming more of it, and desiring more of it than they could afford. Not surprisingly, as the quantities of sugar consumed rose, the loci of production came into ever-closer alignment with the domestic British economy. Thus, for instance, until nearly the middle of the sixteenth century, sugar refining was carried on mainly in the Low Countries, especially in Antwerp, before it was sacked at the order of Philip II (1576). From 1544, England began refining her own sugar; "after 1585, London was the important refining center for the European trade."52 The same shift occurred in shipping. The first documented shipload of sugar sent directly to England was in 1319. In 1551, however, Captain Thomas Wyndham, merchant-adventurer on the west African coast, returned to England from Agadir, Morocco, with a cargo of sugar, "perhaps being the first to be brought to England in an English ship without break of cargo 46» sweetness and power PRODUCTION ♦47 and direct from country of origin. "J3 By 1675, four hundred Engti^ vessels with average 150-ton cargoes were carrying sugar to land; at that time, as much as half was being re-exported. Eventually the mercantilist viewpoint embodied in the imperia sugar trade was crushed by an aggressive new economic philosophy labeled "free trade." But the importance of the mercantilist dogma to Britain's development was at least threefold; it guaranteed he| supply of sugar (and other tropical commodities) and the profit made from processing and re-exporting them; it secured a largl overseas market for finished British goods; and it supported thj growth of the civil (and military) marine. Buy no finished goods 1 elsewhere, sell none of your (tropical) products elsewhere, sbipj everything in British bottoms: during nearly two centuries the injunctions, only slightly less sacred than Holy Writ, bound planters! and refiners, merchantmen and dreadnaughts, Jamaican slave and Liverpudlian stevedore, monarch and citizen together. But mercantilist injunctions did not always serve the same classe If at one point mercantilism protected the planters' market fromi foreign sugar producers, at another it ptotected the factory ownersl from the foreign producers of finished goods. Overall, however, the j two hundred years during which mercantilism persisted were marked by a gradual decline in the position of the planter classes, after their J swift and early rise to power within the national state—and a morel! or less steady improvement in the position of the industrial capi-1 talists and their interests at home. Mercantilism was finally dealt its quietus in the mid-nineteenth century, and the sugar market and its potential played a part. By then, sugar and consumer items like it had become too important to permit an archaic protectionism to jeopardize future metropolitan supplies. Sugar surrendered its place as luxury and rarity and became the first mass-produced exotic necessity of a proletarian working class. Before turning to the last petiod in the history of sugar produc-1 tion, it might be useful to look more intently at the plantations, those tropical enterprises that were the seats of sugar production. These were, of course, agricultural undertakings, but because so much of the industrial processing of the cane was also carried out (jjg plantations, it makes good sense to view the plantations as a synthesis of field and factory. Thus approached, they were really uite unlike anything known in mainland Europe at the time. We have already observed that sugar cane must be cut when it is ripe, an0" ground 50011 18 111S cai' These simple facts give a special character to any enterprise dedicated to the production of sugar, as opposed to the simple expression of cane juice. The history of sugar making and refining has been one of irregular improvement of the level of chemical purity, with many consumers (in different cultures, and in different historical periods) developing preferences for one or another degree of purity, color, form, granule size, and so 0n. But without boiling and skimming and reducing juice there is no way to make granular sugar. It cannot be done without solid technical mastery, particularly in the control of heat. Just as factory and held are wedded in sugar making, brute field labor and skilled artisanal knowledge are both necessary. The early Spanish plantations of Santo Domingo probably consisted of about 125 acres of land, manned by as many as two hundred slaves and freemen. The needed technical skills were imported, principally from the Canaries. Perhaps only a tenth of the labor force was required in the mill and the boiling house, but their operations and those of the cutting crews had to be coordinated, while the field labor had to be divided not only seasonally but also between the cane and the subsistence crops. The specialization by skill and jobs, and the division of labor by age, gender, and condition into crews, shifts, and "gangs," together with the stress upon punctuality and discipline, are features associated more with industry than with agriculture—at least in the sixteenth century. Most like a factory was the boiling house, where the juice from the crushed cane was transferred for reduction, clarification, and crystallization. The Barbadian colonist Thomas Tryon—whose complaints must be viewed with some skepticism, since he was a planter himself—nonetheless conveys well the modern-sounding quality of the mill in this seventeenth-century description: In short, 'tis to live in a perpetual Noise and Hurry, and the only way to render a person Angry, and Tyrannical, too; since the 48 • SWEETNESS AND POWER Climate is so hot, and the labor so constant, that the Servants [or slaves] night and day stand in great Boyling Houses, where there are Six or Seven large Coppers or Furnaces kept perpetually Boyling; and from which with heavy Ladles and Scummers they Skim off the excrementitious parts of the Canes, till it comes to its perfection and cleanness, while other as Stoakers, Broil as it were, alive, in managing the Fires; and one part is constantly at the Mill, to supply it with Canes, night and day, during the whole Season of making Sugar, which is about six Months of the year; so that what with these things, the number of the Family, and many other Losses and Disappointments of bad Crops, which often happens, a Master Planter has no such easy life as Some may imagine, nor Riches flow upon him with that insensibility, as it does upon many in England.*4 One supposes that the riches flowed even less abundantly upon the slaves and servants. The seventeenth century was preindustrial; and the idea that there might have been "industry" on the colonial plantation before it existed in the homeland may seem heretical. First, it has been conceived of as predominantly agricultural because it was a colonial enterprise and manned mostly by coerced, rather than free, labor. Second, it produced a consumable food—rather than textiles, say, or tools, or some other machined nonfood. Finally, scholars interested in the history of western industry quite predictably began with the artisans and craftsmen of Europe and the putting-out shops that followed them, rather than with overseas ventures. It followed naturally that plantations were seen as by-products of European endeavor rather than as an integral part of the growth from shop to factory. But it is not clear why such preconceptions should interfere with a recognition of the industrial aspects of plantation development. It may seem a topsy-turvy view of the West to find its factories elsewhere at so early a period. But the sugar-cane plantation is gradually winning recognition as an unusual combination of agricultural and industrial forms, and I believe it was probably the closest thing to industry that was typical of the seventeenth century. Strangely, historians have also paid insufficient attention to the scale of plantation enterprises. The planters of the British Caribbean certainly were large-scale entrepreneurs for their rime: a "combi- production ♦49 nation farmer-manufacturer" with a work force of perhaps a hundred could have eighty acres put to cane and expect to produce eighty tons of sugar after the harvest. To make sugar he needed one mill or two, a boiling house to clean and reduce the juice, a curing house to drain the molasses and dry the sugar heads, a distillery to make rum, and a storehouse to hold his raw sugar for shipment—representing an investment of thousands of pounds sterling.ss The subtropical environments of the plantation required planters to adjust to seasonal schedules wholly different from those of temperate climes. Sugar crops needed up to a year and a half to mature, so that planting and harvesting schedules were elaborate and novel for Englishmen. On Barbados, English planters soon divided their lands into equal portions of about ten acres each so that they could be planted and harvested seriatim, assuring a steady flow of cane to the mill. Boiling and "striking"—transferring the liquid, and arresting its boiling when it was ready—required great skill, and sugar boilers were artisans who worked under difficult conditions. The heat and noise were overpowering, there was considerable danger involved, and time was of the essence throughout, from the moment when the cane was perfect for cutting until the semicrystalline product was poured into molds to drain and be dried. During the harvest the mills operated unceasingly, and the labor requirements were horrendous. Writing of the eighteenth-century picture, Mathieson tells us, "The production of sugar was the most onerous of West Indian industries.KSi From the first of the year until about the end of May, cane cutting, grinding, boiling, and potting were conducted simultaneously. Weather was a continuing concern—fear of droughts at the outset of the cutting season, when lack of rain reduced the sugar (or liquid) content of the cane, fear of heavy rain toward late spring, which could rot cane in the ground or immediately on cutting. But the work pressure also came from the somewhat misleading idea that sugar syrup, once boiling, should not be permitted to cool until "struck." The only break in the work week was from Saturday night till Monday morning. Otherwise, the twenty-five men and women in the factory worked continuously in shifts lasting all day and part of the night, or the whole of every second or third night: 50» SWEETNESS AND POWER So rapid was the motion of the mill, and so rapid also the combustion of the dried canes or "trash" used as fuel in the boiling house that the work of the millers and firemen, though light enough in itself, was exhausting. A French writer described as "prodigious" the galloping of the mules attached to the sweeps of the mill; but "still more surprising" in his opinion was the ceaseless celerity with which the firemen kept up a full blaze of cane-trash. Those who fed the mill were liable, especially when tired or half-asleep, to have their fingers caught between the rollers. A hatchet was kept in readiness to sever the arm, which in such cases was always drawn in; and this no doubt explains the number of maimed watchmen. The negroes employed as boil-ermen had a less exacting, but a heavier task. Standing barefoot for hours on the stones or hard ground and without seats for their mtermissions of duty, they frequently developed "disorders of the legs." The ladle suspended on a pole which transferred the sugar from one cauldron to another was "in itself particularly heavy"; and, as the strainers were placed at a considerable height above the cauldrons, it had to be raised as well as swung.17 The relationship between the cultivation of cane and its mechanical/chemical transformation into sugar—the final steps of which have never been commonly undertaken in the tropical zone, where the plant itself is grown—springs from the inherent perishability of the crop. Because of the links between cutting and grinding, and between boiling and crystallization, land and mill must be coordinated, their labor synchronized. A major consequence is that sugar-cane plantations have not usually been divided upon inheritance, since their value (except under special conditions of change) depends upon keeping intact the land-and-factory combination. But other consequences have been careful scheduling at the top, and the application of iron discipline at the base. Without overall control of land and mill, such scheduling and discipline would not have been possible. It is in terms like these that one can see that the sugar-cane plantation, very early in its career as a form of productive organization, was an industrial enterprise. When it is remembered that the plantation form probably first developed in the eastern Mediterranean, was perfected (mostly with enslaved labor) by the Cru- PRODUCTION ♦51 saders after 1000, was transferred to (and in part, perhaps, reinvented an) th« Atlantic islands by 1450, and was thereupon re-established in the New World colonies, the significance of their industrialism— at a time when industry itself was largely based on home labor, except for shipbuilding and some textiles in Europe itself—becomes more persuasive. Since cane growing and even sugar making were, at least until the nineteenth century, activities in which mechanical force was only an imperfect and incomplete substitute for manual labor, "industry" may seem a questionable descriptive term. Also, most plantation development was based on coerced labor of various sorts, which likewise seems to run counter to our ideas of industry. We are inclined instead to think of industry in post feudal Europe, replacing the guild system and the artisan by the factory and by a free but unskilled labor force, divested of its tools and mass-producing commodities previously produced by hand, All the more reason to specify what is meant by "industry" here. Today we speak of "agro-industry," and the term usually implies heavy substitution of machinery for human labor, mass production on large holdings, intensive use of scientific methods and products (fertilizer, herbicides, the breeding of hybrid varieties, irrigation), and the like. What made the early plantation system agro-industrial was the combination of agriculture and processing under one authority; discipline was probably its first essential feature. This was because neither mill nor field could be separately (independently) productive. Second was the organization of the labor force itself, part skilled, part unskilled, and organized in terms of the plantation's overall productive goals. To the extent possible, the labor force was composed of interchangeable units—much of the labor was homogeneous, in the eyes of the producers—characteristic of a lengthy middle period much later in the history of capitalism. Third, the system was time-conscious. This time-consciousness was dictated by the nature of the sugar cane and its processing requirements, but it permeated all phases of plantation life and accorded well with the emphasis on time that was later to become a central feature of capitalist industry. The combination of field and factory, of skilled workers with unskilled, and the strictness of scheduling 52» sweetness and power production ♦53 together gave an industrial cast to plantation enterprises, even though j the use of coercion to exact labor might have seemed somewhat! unfamiliar to latter-day capitalists,5* There were at least two other regards in which these plantation! enterprises were industrial: the separation of production from coni sumption, and the separation of the worker from his tools. Suchí features help us to define the lives of the working people, mostly! unfree, who powered plantation enterprises between the sixteenth! and the late nineteenth centuries in the New World. They call ourl attention to the remarkably early functioning of industry in Euro-I pean history (overseas colonial history, at that). They throw rather J provocative light on the common assertion that Europe "developed*! the colonial world after the European heartland. They also afford 1 us an idea of the life of plantation laborers, to contrast with thai! of European agricultural workers and peasants of the same era. Near the mid-seventeenth century, when British and French col-J onists first considered producing sugar in the Caribbean, the Eu-ropean market for tobacco had become saturated, and the price for this curious, addictive new commodity had fallen sharply. The colonists were, for the most part, small-scale cultivators of limited | means. Many of them employed on their farms freshly arrived settlers from the mother countries who were contracted to labor for a fixed period of years. These workers were debt servants, petty criminals, political and religious nonconformists, labor organizers, Irish revolutionaries—political prisoners of different sorts. Many were simply kidnapped; to "barbadoes" someone became a seventeenth-century verb for stealing humans.J> Both Britain and France used this system to rid themselves of "undesirables," in a period when there was more labor than the domestic economies could absorb. These contracted English laborers, called indentured servants (in French engages), represented a vital contribution to the labor needs of the colonies, on the mainland as well. At the termination of their contracts in the islands, such persons were to be given tracts of land of their own, and by this process, the new colonies would presumably fill up with setders over time. But the colonists in places such Barbados and Martinique needed more labor than they could readily obtain. Sometimes they were able to lay hands on some enslaved Native Americans who might work alongside the contracted Europeans. But soon enough, the island planters began to acquire enslaved Africans. Hence the early labor patterns in the so-called sugar islands were mixed, combining European smallholders, indentured laborers, and African and Indian slaves. The shift to sugar production required substantial capital, which, as I have mentioned, was supplied by Dutch investors, men already familiar with the cultivation of sugar cane and the manufacture of sugar. In English Barbados, as the more successful planters bought their neighbors' lands and built new mills and boiling and drying houses, the shift from tobacco to sugar created larger estates. At the same time, the pattern enabling indentured servants to acquire land at the end of their terms disappeared. Small farms were replaced by plantations, and by the late seventeenth century and thereafter, the number of enslaved Africans rose sharply. Slavery emerged as the preferred form of labor exaction, even though it required substantial investment in human "stock." A young teacher named Downing, writing from Barbados in 1645 as the plantation system took hold there, recounted that the Barbadians "have bought this yeare no less than a thousand negroes, and the more they buie, the more they are able to buie, for in a yeare and a halfe they will earn with God's blessing as much as they cost." The success of slavery in pioneering islands like Barbados and Martinique marked the beginning of the Africanization of the British and French Caribbean. From 1701 to 1810 Barbados, a mere 166 square miles in area, received 252,500 African slaves. Jamaica, which in 1655 had been invaded by the British, followed the same pattern of "economic development"; in the same 109 years it received 662,400 slaves.'0 The eighteenth century was the apogee of the British and French slave-based sugar plantations. The first, Spanish period of Caribbean plantation history saw a "mixed" form of labor; the second, 1650-1850, with the Danes, Dutch, English, and French, embraced three quite different forms of labor exaction, and actually changed before the exclusively "slave" form ended with emancipation (1838 for the English, 1848 for the French). The third, "contract" form 54* SWEETNESS AND POWER PRODUCTION •55 ■ of plantation life in the Caribbean, which began with a new ar-3 rangemcnr using imported labor to soften the effects of emanci-' pation and to keep labor costs down, ended by the 1870s; in 1876 3 slavery ended in Puerto Rico and, in 1884, in Cuba. Thereafterj Caribbean labor (with few exceptions) was entirely "free." From the point of view of the English consumers of commodities I like sugar, such changes were perhaps not of great importance. Yet'I changing metropolitan attitudes toward the treatment of labor ml the colonies certainly had an economic coefficient. When slave-* based plantations were evolving on the Caribbean islands, Europe! itself was witnessing the emergence of free proletarian labor, along I the very lines Karl Marx employed in describing capitalism. "We have seen," he writes, "that the expropriation of the mass of the people from the soil forms the basis of the capitalist mode of production." And "so-called primitive accumulation... is nothing less than the historical process of divorcing the producer from the means of production."'1 The European laborers who had been dispossessed by profound social and economic alterations of their countrysides would eventually become the urban factory workers—the prole-.tariat—whose emergence so fascinated Marx when he was writing in the mid-nineteenth century. But in the seventeenth century that transformation had but barely begun. At the same time, in the newly acquired Caribbean colonies of Britain and France, labor was being exacted from massive populations of similarly dispossessed persons. But they were slaves, not free landless workers. These displaced and enchatteled Africans, who did not own their own bodies, let alone their own labor, were being reunited with the means of production, from which enslavement and transportation had separated them, but by the lash, rather than through the operation of the market. The differences between these laboring populations give rise to odd questions. Were those Caribbean colonies, the planters who ran them and the slaves who worked them, pan of the same system that embraced the free and dispossessed workers of western Europe? In the period before factory capitalism had become typical of western Europe, how do we describe the Caribbean plantations and their mode of operation? What sort of economic system were they part of, since capitalism, as ^ is commonly conceived, had not yet even appeared? jvlost students of capitalism (though not all) believe that capi-(alism itself became a governing economic form in the late eighteenth century and not before. But the rise of capitalism involved the destruction of economic systems that had preceded it—notably, European feudalism—and the creation of a system of world trade. It also involved the creation of colonies, the establishment of experimental economic enterprises in various world areas, and the development of new forms of slave-based production in the New World, using imported slaves—perhaps Europe's biggest single external contribution to its own economic growth. The Caribbean plantations were a vital part of this process, embodying all of these features, and providing both important commodities for European consumption and important markets for European production. As such they were crucial to profit making for Europe herself, even before capitalism—in the opinion of most authorities—had emerged there. The reader may see that this line of argument harks back to my discussion of the plantation as an early form of industrial organization, for it, too, stresses a precocious development outside the European heartland. Both in its labor forms and in its organization, then, the plantation is an oddity. Yet its existence was predicated on European intent, and in its own way it became vital to European development over time. If it was not "capitalistic," it was still an important step toward capitalism. The early sugar planters of Barbados and then Jamaica measured their worth in the profit their plantations brought them; their plantations were judged in the same way by their creditors. The owners of these plantations were usually businessmen, often absentee, and the capital they invested was commonly borrowed, mosdy from metropolitan banks. These planters were in every way of great financial benefit to England. The mortgages on their estates, because of the high rate of interest which they paid for the loan of capital, were a most desirable investment for English capitalists. Money invested in 56« SWEETNESS AND POWER the plantations, moreover, was of much more value to the mother country than if it had been put out at interest at home, for it became a means of retaining settlers in the colonies who in every way increased the consumption of English manufactures. One thousand pounds spent by a planter in Jamaica produced in the end better results and greater advantages to England than twice that sum expended by the same family in London." Though a few students of the imperial economy have concluded! that the West Indian colonies represented a net loss to Britain be-) cause of the costs of protectionism to the consumers, it must bel. remembered that the sugar eater's loss was the sugar planter's gain— 3 while the duties enriched the crown, no matter who paid them. At J the same time, these colonies were an enormous market for finished1 goods. During the eighteenth century, English combined exports toi the North American and West Indian colonies expanded by 2,300j percent! As Thomas and McCloskey point out, there is a difference j between social and private profitability: It is obvious that the colonial plantations and farms were privately profitable to their owners. The costs of the sugar preferences were borne by the British consumer and the costs of administration and protection by the British tax payer. The costs were widely diffused, but the benefits accrued to a small group of owners who happened to be well represented in Parliament. British mercantilism during the eighteenth century was not a consistent national policy designed to maximise the wealth of Britain; nor was it a preview of the alleged enrichment of capitalist nations by nineteenth-century empires. It was instead, as Ralph Davis suggests, a means to provide revenue to the government and a device to enrich special interest groups. The truth of the matter is that what was in the interest of the Manchester textile manufacturer or the Bristol slave trader or the West Indian planter was usually not in the interest of the British economy as a whole.*3 That early prophet of free trade, Adam Smith, understood this well: "To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a projecr fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers. But it was the "shop- production •57 keepers" who won out, and sugar was one of their favorite weapons. To understand them, we need to understand the peculiar appeal of sugar- It then becomes important both to explain how and why the market for sugar and like commodities grew at such a pace in the homeland between 1650, when the first "sugar islands" were acquired, and the mid-nineteenth century; and to describe a little more fully what this odd colonial agricultural system had to do with capitalism. But first some more must be said of the plantation system itself, grounded as it was in the use of forced labor, even though the stimulus to its growth originated with far-off European entrepreneurs. Like proletarians, slaves are separated from the means of production (tools, land, etc.). But proletarians can exercise some influence over where they work, how much they work, for whom they work, and what they do with their wages. Under some conditions, they may even possess a great deal of influence. Of course, slaves, too, may have some freedom of maneuver, depending upon the nature of the system they live in. Yet because they were themselves chattels—property—slaves in the New World during the period when plantations operated with feverish intensity could exercise their will only in the interstices of the system. Slaves and forced laborers, unlike free workers, have nothing to sell, not even their labor; instead, they have themselves been bought and sold and traded. Like the proletarians, however, they stand in dramatic contrast to the serfs of European feudalism, and they are propertyless. These two great masses of workers had noticeably different histories, and the forms of labor exaction they embodied, during most of the 380-year period concerning us here, evolved in different parts of the world. At the same time, their economic functions in the world trade system, especially from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century, were overlapping, even interdependent. The linkage between Caribbean slaves and European free laborers was a linkage of production and hence also of consumption, created by the single system of which they were both parts. Neither group had much to offer productively but its labor. Both produced; both consumed little of what they produced. Both were divested of their tools. In the views of some authorities, they really form one group, 58« sweetness and power production ♦59 differing only in how they fit into the worldwide division of labor! others created for them." Purring things this way may oversimplify what was the compleS evolution of a modern world labor force, let alone the diversifie capitalistic economy that both created it and was serviced by it, Thl maturing of a plantation system based on slavery in the Caribbean! region came with, and was partly preconditioned on, the develop! men r of powerful commercial and military navies in western Europe.! It meant die funneling of great quantities of commodities (rum,: arms, cloth, jewelry, iron) into Africa for the purchase of slaves-^1 an investment that did nothing for Africa's development but onlyl stimulated more slave raiding. It led to enormous outputs of wealthl in the metropolises to garrison the colonies and to ensure the coer-1 cion and control of the slaves. To maintain the mercantilist premises] of the system—that the colonies buy from and sell to the motherland J only, and that trade be carried only in the motherland's ships—I was expensive for each national system, though of course certain j groups inside each system profited gready from it, as we have seen. The creation and consolidation of a colonial, subordinate plantation economy based on coerced labor stretched over four centuries. But' the system in the colonies changed little, relative to the tremendous changes in the European centers that had created it. It is common to describe the period 1650-1750 as one of mercantile, trading, or commercial expansion, and to treat only the industrial phase beginning with the late eighteenth century as "real capitalism. " now ended (Jamaica, Trinidad, British Guiana), and for thoseI newer, pioneering areas (Mauritius, Natal, Fiji) thatwerenowbecom-!-ing producers. The political struggle between the metropolitan capitalist classes and the colonial planters was partly eased by recourse I to external but politically accessible labor pools. In fact, the defeat of protectionism in the form of differential duties for West Indian sugar was accompanied by a victory in regard to labor importation—easier regulations, as well as funds for financing immigration. West Indian S sugar was thus indirectly protected, even if West Indian working people were not. (Some cynics might see a parallel to events in the United; States after the Civil War.) At any rate, migrant labor moved within the bounds of empire. I |k portion of the contracted Indian labor in the French West Indies, * for instance, came from French India, a portion of the contracted ^Indian labor in the British West Indies came from British India, and so on But because many of the new sugar-producing areas needed jabor as well, not all the movement was of this sort. During the nineteenth century, perhaps a hundred million people migrated in me world at large. About half came from Europe and about half from the "nonwhite" world, including India. The Europeans moved principally to areas of prior European setdement outside Europe itself, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, southern South America, and, especially, the United States, while the nonwhites moved to other places. As I have already observed, Sugar—or rather, the great commodity market which acose demanding it—has been one of the massive demographic forces in world history. Because of it, literally millions of enslaved Africans reached the New World, particularly the American South, the Caribbean and its littorals, the Guianas and Brazil. This migration was followed by those of East Indians, both Moslem and Hindu, Javanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and many other peoples in the nineteenth century. It was sugar that sent East Indians to Natal and the Orange Free State, sugar that carried them to Mauritius and Fiji. Sugar brought a dozen different ethnic groups in staggering succession to Hawaii, and sugar still moves people about the Caribbean." Several factors can be seen here. For one, the link between sweated, tropical colonial labor and nonwhite labor was preserved, largely undisturbed by the end of slavery. For another, the relationship between sugar and the subtropical colonial regions was likewise maintained (though beet-sugar extraction, important from about the mid-nineteenth century onward, was a temperate-zone development—matking the first time that a temperate-zone commodity would make a serious dent in the market for subtropical and tropical production). The product in question continued to flow to the metropolises, while the products obtained in exchange—food, clothing, machinery, and nearly everything else—continued to flow to the "backward" areas. It can be contended that the "backward" areas became less backward through their economic dependence on 1 72« sweetness and power production •73 the developed areas, but this assertion is vulnerable. Most less del veloped societies of this sort have been able to industrialize only! feebly (cement, glass bottles, beer, and soft drinks are often theifl major "industries"). They continue to import the bulk of their nn| ished goods and, often, have even increased their importations of food. Also problematic is the divided migrant flow of the nineteenth!, century. The economist Sir W. Arthur Lewis links this two-sidedj demographic picture to the relatively lower productivity of tropical! agriculture in the countries of origin of the migrants, when com-J pared with the agricultural productivity of the temperate lands frorn| which the white migrants came (Italy, Ireland, Eastern Europe, Ger-iJ many, etc.).M Presumably, migrants from the more productive coun^i tries would not be prepared to migrate for promised wages as lowl as those that could attract migrants from the less productive coun-; tries. But the exclusion of nonwhites from the temperate world was' the clear consequence of racist policies in such countries as Australia,'-* New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. It is not merely iron-\ ical to point out that the white migrants would soon be eating more { sugar, produced by the nonwhite migrants at lower wages, andfl producing finished goods at higher wages, to be consumed by thei nonwhite migrants. So the production of sugar continued to rise, and at a dizzying rate, even while the loci of production increased in number and dispersion, techniques of labor coercion became somewhat less naked, and the uses to which sugars were put in the developed world became steadily more differentiated. The upward climb of both production and consumption within the British Empire must be seen as part of an even larger general movement. Figures for world sugar production before the mid-nineteenth century are unreliable, and there is no way of judging the quantities of sugars produced and consumed without reaching the market. Thus we know that sugar consumption in the old sugar colonies like Jamaica was always very substantial—indeed, that slaves were given sugar, molasses, and even rum during the slavery period as part of their rations. In countries like India, the ancient hearth of sugar making, and Russia (the Soviet Union), where beet-sugar production was established within a decade of its achievement in western Europe, our knowledge of quantities produced and consumed is uncertain. But even if we limit ourselves to what can be confidently estimated, the figures on world production and consumption of sugar during the past two centuries or so are still quite astounding. In 1800—by which time, as we have seen, British consumption had probably increased some 2,500 percent in 150 years—perhaps 245,000 tons of sugar reached consumers through the world market. Nearly 3" °' those consumers were Europeans. By 1830, before beet sugar had begun to reach the world market, total production had risen to 572,000 tons, an increase of more than 233 percent in thirty years. Another thirty years later, in 1860, by which time beet-sugar production was growing rapidly, total world production of sucrose (both beet and cane) stood at an estimated 1.373 million tons, or another increase of more than 233 percent. By 1890, world production exceeded six million tons, representing a percentage increase of nearly 500 over that of thirty years earlier. It is not surprising that Dr. John (Lord Boyd) Orr should have concluded, looking back at the nineteenth century, that the single most important nutritional datum on the British people was their fivefold increase in sugar consumption." The actual details of consumption are, of course, much more complex. But for the present, it may be enough to say that probably no other food in world history has had a comparable performance. Why this should be so is not, however, a simple question. To get some sense of how sugar gained its place in the English diet, it will be necessary to turn back again to the beginning of the story. consumption •75 ■hJt 3 * Consumption For people living today in societies like Britain or the United States, sugar is so familiar, so common, and so ubiquitous that it is difficult to imagine a world without it. People now in their forties or older may recall the sugar rationing of World War II, of course, and those who have spent time in poorer societies may have noticed that some peoples seem to experience even greater pleasure than we when consuming sugar.1 So plentiful and important is this substance in our lives today that it has become notorious: campaigns are waged against it, eminent nutritionists attack and defend it, and battles for and against its consumption are waged in the daily press and in Congress. Whether the discussions concern baby food, school lunches, breakfast cereals, nutrition, or obesity, sugar figures in the argument. If we choose not to eat sugar, it takes both vigilance and effort, for modern societies are overflowing with it. Only a few centuries ago it would have been equally difficult to imagine a world so rich in sugar. One writer tells us that when the Venerable Bede died in 735 a.d., he bequeathed his little treasure of spices, including sugar, to his brethren.2 If true, this is a remarkable reference, for there follow many centuries during which sugar in the British Isles remained unmentioned and, one supposes, virtually unknown. The presence of sugar was first acknowledged in England in the twelfth century. What was most striking about the English diet at that time was its complete ordinariness and meagerness. Then and "for long thereafter, most Europeans produced their own food locally, as ^>est cou-^- Most basic foods did not move far from where they were produced; it was mainly rare and precious substances, principally consumed by the more privileged groups, that vvere carried long distances.3 "Bread made in the home almost everywhere in the country," write Drummond and Wilbraham of England in the thirteenth century, was "indeed the staff of life in those days."4 Wheat was particularly important in England, but in the north of the country other grains were grown and eaten more: rye, buckwheat, oats, barley, and important pulses and legumes such as lentils and many kinds of beans. In poor areas throughout Europe, these carbohydrates were likely to be primary, since they were more plentiful and cheaper than wheat. All other foods, including meats, dairy products, vegetables, and fruits, were subsidiary to grains. It was poverty of resources, not plenty, that made them accessories to the starch-based diet. "Judging from the controls and regulations that all authorities throughout Western Europe set to cover virtually every transaction, grain was the core of the diet of the poor," one scholar has written.5 When the wheat harvest failed, people in southern England switched to rye, oats, or barley; in the north, these were already the mainstay. "They stretched their bread grain with peas and beans and apparendy consumed some milk, cheese, and butter in normal years," but in the worst years—such as the so-called dear years of 1595—97—even dairy products were priced out of the reach of the poorest people.' In times of want, said William Harrison, writing in the late sixteenth century, the poor "shifted from wheat to Horsse corne, beanes, peason, otes, tare and lintels."7 Such people probably forwent their skimpy consumption of dairy products and the like, if it meant they could obtain more of the bulkier legumes. Often enough, it seems, many Englishmen had not enough of anything to eat; but they ate as much bread as they could, when harvests permitted.* One can assume a meager supply of protein from domesticated fowl and animals, probably eked out with wild birds, hares, and fish, both fresh and preserved, and some vegetables and fruit. Working people, however, greatly feared the effects of fresh fruit, supposedly dangerous when eaten in quantity. The resistance to 76« SWEETNESS AND POWER fresh fruit harks back to Galenic biases against it,' and infantile diarrhea, frequent in the summertime, which was a great killer as late as the seventeenth century, doubtless reinforced the fear of fresh fruit. Sir Hugh Piatt (who reappears later in these pages as a gourmet and bon vivant) had grim advice for his countrymen on the occasion of the 1596 famine: when flour supplies were short, he advised the poor to "boil your beanes, pease, beechmast, &c. in faire water... and the second or third boyling, you shall finde a strange alteration in taste, for the water hath sucked out 8c imbibed the greatest part of their ranknesse, then must you drie them... and make bread thereof."10 Even when cultivated flour substitutes were exhausted, Piatt writes consolingly, the poor could turn to "excellent bread of the rootes of Aaron called Cuckow pot, or starch rootes" (the cuck oopint, Arum tnaculatum).'1 It the picture is not one of chronic or countrywide need, it is also certainly not one of general dietary adequacy. Between the onset of the bubonic plague in 1347-48 and the early fifteenth century, the population of Europe decreased sharply and did not begin to climb again until after about 1450; the plague continued to disrupt economic life until the mid-seventeenth century. These were centuries when European agriculture wanted for labor, but even when population increased again, English agriculture remained inadequately productive. Of the production of grains for making bread, the economic historian Brian Murphy writes: "The harvest of the years 1481-82, 1502, 1520-21, 1526-29, 1531-32, 1535, 1545, 1549-51, 15JJ-56, 1562, 1573, 1585-86, 1594-97, 1608, 1612-13, 1621-22, 1630, and 1637, could be said to have been such that the average wage earner with a family to support can have had little left over after buying bread."12 Though they were irregularly spaced, the bad years averaged one every five during this 150-year period. Murphy believes the bad years reflect "the varying encroachment of animals on bread-grain"—which is to say, the competition between the production of wool and of grain foods, a critical economic problem in sixteenth-century England. The seventeenth century seems to give evidence of significant change. Between 1640 and 1740, the English population rose from CONSUMPTION •77 about five million to slightly more than five and one-half million, rate of growth, lower than in the preceding century, that may have reflected greater disease vulnerability brought about by bad nutrition and/or the spread of gin drinking. There were poor harvests in 1660-61, 1673 -74, 1691-93, 1708-10, 1725-29, and j73105 and corrupted. In medicine-wise, it may be taken either in water, I for hot Feavers, or in syrups, for some kinde of diseases. In beer , I approve it most wholesome.72 Vaughan goes on to recommend sugar for "noises and soundesj the Eares," dropsy, ague, cough, flux, melancholia, and much eh Tobias Venner, writing in 1620, provides an illuminating opinion* first by comparing sugar medically to honey, second by distinguish* ing among sugar's then-used varieties. Whereas honey is "hot arítl dry in the second degree, and of an abstersive and soluble faculties more Galenical (humoral) shoptalk of the time— Sugar is temperately hot and moyst, of a detersive facultie, and good for the obstructions of the breast and lungs; but it is not so strong in operation against phlegm as honey.... Sugar agreed) with all ages, and all complexions; but contrariwise, Honie annoyeth many, especially those that are cholerick, or full of winde in their bodies----Water and pure Sugar onely brewed toegether, is very good for hot, cholerické, and dry bodies, that are affected with phlegme in their breast.... Sugar by how much the whiter it is, by so much the purer and wholsomer it is, which is evident by the making and refining of it. It is made much after the same manner and forme as white salt is. The Sugar is nothing else but the iuyce of certain canes or reeds, which is extracted by boyling them in water, even after the same manner and fashion as they do salt. This first extracted Sugar is grosse, and of red colour: it is hot and dry, somewhat tart in taste, and of a detersive facultie: by longer boyling it becometh hard, which we call Red Sugar Candie, which b only good in glysters, for to dense and irritate the expulsive facultie. This grosse reddish Sugar is againe mixed with water, and boyled, and cometh to be of an whitish colour, less hot, more moyst, and more acceptable to the taste and stomacke. This kinde of second Sugar, we call common or kitchen Sugar. This being the third rime diluted, and decocted, is of excellent temperament, most white, and of a singular pleasant taste. This is the best, purest, and wholesomest sugar... by further boyling becommeth hard, and of a resplendent white colour, which we commonly call white Sugar Candie: this is the best sugar for diseases of the breast, for it is not altogether so hot as the other Sugar, and is also somewhat of a more pure and subtile moysture. Wherefore it excellently assuageth and moy-stneth the asperitie and siccitie of the tongue, mouth, throat, and winde-pipe; and is very good for a dry cough, and other infirmities h I HH i of the lungs; it is most accommodate for all hoc and dry constitutions." Most such home-physician books of the seventeenth century do Dot differentiate among sugar's possible medical uses, contenting themselves instead with discussions of sugar's place in humoral medicine, followed by various specific (and usually exotic) "preoptions." Among the uses that seem to appear with considerable regularity are prescriptions for chest coughs, sore throat, and labored breathing (some of which uses persist to this day); for eye ailments (in the care of which sugar now appears to have completely disappeared); and a variety of stomachic remedies. Not surprisingly, perhaps, an antisugar school of medicine arose anew, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the same year that the seventh edition of Vaughan's work appeared, James Hart's Klmike or the Diet of Diseases raised some of the questions that were occurring to physicians of the time. Though the humoral context that would continue to dominate European medical thinking for another 150 years was plainly still very strong, Hart had some serious questions about sugar: Sugar hath now succeeded honie, and is become of farre higher esteem, and is far more pleasing to the palat, and therefore everywhere in frequent use, as well in sicknesse as in health—Sugar is neither so hot no r so dry as honie. The coursest, being brownest, is most cleansing and approaches neerest unto the nature of hony. Sugar is good for abstersion in diseases of the brest and lungs. That which wee commonly call Sugarcandie, being well refined by boiling, is for this purpose in most frequent request, and although Sugar in it Selfe be opening and cleansing, yet being much used produceth dangerous effects in the body: as namely, the immoderate uses thereof, as also of sweetconfections, and Sugar-ptummes, heateth the blood, ingendreth the landise obstructions, cachexias, consumptions, rottech the teeth, making them look blacke, and withall, causeth many time a loathsome stinking-breath. And therefore let young people especially, beware how they meddle to much with it." Until late in the eighteenth century, the prosugar and antisugar authorities would engage in serious argument about sugar's medic- 106* sweetness and power consumption ♦107 inal properties. But the medical and nutritional aspects of sugaS role were never far apart, any more than they are today. Wheref the Frenchman de Garancieres thought that overconsumption sugar by the English led to their melancholic dispositions, the E glishman Dr. Frederick Slare found sugar a veritable cure-all, only defect being that it could make ladies too fat. Slare's work is one of the most interesting of its time (1715), even! to its title: A Vindication of Sugars Against the Charge of Dr. Willifi Other Physicians, and Common Prejudices: Dedicated to the dies.7' Slare lost his quarrel with Dr. Willis, though he never kriewl it. Dr. Willis was the discoverer of diabetes mellitus, and his anti-sugar views arose from his study of the disease. Slare was eager to prove that sugar was beneficial to everyone, and could cause medical harm. But his book does much more. Its dedication is ac:" companied by the assertion that female palates were more refWdj than males', "not being debauch*d by sowre or uncouth values, j Drams, or offensive Smoak, or the more sordid juice of the Indian! Henbane, which is Tobacco, or vitiated by salt and sowre Pickles^ too much the delight of our Coarser Sex."76 That women would] become "Patronesses of the Fair sugar* Slare fully expected, since] they "of late had more experience of it, in a more liberal use than j formerly." Slare's encomia to sugar are accompanied by his recommendations to women to make their "Morning Repasts, call'd Break-fasts " consist of bread, butter, milk, water, and sugar, adding that coffee,^ tea, and chocolate are similarly "endowed with uncommon vermes." His message concerning sugar, he says, will please the West] Indian merchant, who loads his Ships with this sweet treasure. By this commodity have Numbers of Persons, of inconsiderable Estates, rais'd Plantations, and from thence have gain'd such Wealth, as to return to their native Country very Rich, and have purchas'd, and do daily purchase, great Estates. The Grocer, who retails what the Merchant furnishes by wholesale, is also concerned for the Credit and Good Name of his defam'd and scandaliz'd Goods, out of which he has also made his Fortune, his Family Rich and Wealthy. In short, there is no Family through the Kingdom but would make use of it, if they can get it, and would look upon it as a Matter of great Complaint, and a Grievance to be depriv'd of the use of it."77 Having dwelled upon these somewhat tangential aspects of sugar's virtues, however, Slare turns to its medical utility, offering the reader almost immediately a prescription from "the famous oculist of Sarum, Dr. Turberville," for ailments of the eye: "two drams of fine sugar-candy, one-half dram pearl, one grain of leaf gold; made into a very fine and impalpable powder, and when dry, blow a convenient quantity into the eye."78 We see here anew the mixture of sugar and preciosities to be consumed in medication, harking back both to the medicine of the plague and the subtleties of earlier centuries. Mixing sugar, pearls, and gold leaf to produce a powder in order to blow it into one's ailing eye may seem bizarre in the extreme. It is necessary to keep in mind both the trustfulness born of desperation, and the power we invest in the things we hold dear. Slare piles wonder upon wonder. We are instructed next on the value of sugar as a dentifrice (Slare prescribed it for his patients with great success, he says); as a hand lotion also helpful for external lesions; as snuff in place of tobacco; and for babies: "For I have heard many Ladies of the better Rank, who read Books of some learned Persons, condemn Sugar, and denied it to their poor Babes very injuriously."7' "You may soon be convine'd of the satisfaction a Child has from the Taste of Sugar," he writes, "by making two Sorts of Water-Paps, one with, and the other without Sugar, they will greedily suck down the one, and make Faces at the other: Nor will they be pleas'd with Cow's Milk, unless that be bless'd with a little Sugar, to bring it up to the Sweetness of Breast-Milk."10 Slare's enthusiasm is highly suspect but his work is much more than a mere curiosity, because it touches on so many aspects of what was even then a relatively new commodity for most people. The consumption of sugar in England was rising rapidly, and production of it in the British West Indies, following the conquest of Jamaica and steady increases in the slave trade, was keeping pace. By stressing its uses as medicine, food for persons of all ages, preservative, etc., Slare was simultaneously reporting on the success of 108« sweetness and power consumption ♦109 sugar while attracting additional attention to it. "I forbear," he writes, to enumerate one Half of the Excellency of Sugar. I will refer the Reader to Confectioners Shops, or the Stores for Sweet-meats in the Places of the Rich, or rather to a Banquet, or Dessert serv'd up at a generous Feast, with the Encomium of Eloquent Ladies at the End of a Treat, upon every charming Sweet, which is purely owing to the artful Application of Sugar, being first the Juice of the Indian Cane, more grateful and more delicious than the mel-liflous Liquid of the Honey-comb.'1 John Oldmtxon, a contemporary, expressed similar sentiments: One of the most pleasant and useful Things in the World, for besides the advantage of it in Trade, Physicians and Apothecaries cannot be without it, there being nearly three Hundred Medicines made up with Sugar; almost all Confectionery Wares receive their Sweetness and Preservation from it, most Fruits would be pernicious without it; the finest Pastries could not be made nor the rich Cordials that are in the Ladies' Closets, nor their Conserves; neither could the Dairy furnish us with such variety of Dishes, as it does, but by their Assistance of this noble Juice.12 As medicine it would become less uncritically prescribed in the: late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and its medical role steadily diminished as it was transformed into a sweetener and preservative on a mass basis. Yet it mattered little whether people continued to use it medically, since they were already consuming it in substantial quantities. The former medicinal purposes of sugar were now assimilated into a new function, that of a source of calories. Sugar as sweetener came to the fore in connection with three other exotic imports—tea, coffee, and chocolate—of which one, tea, became and has since remained the most important nonalcoholic beverage in the United Kingdom. All are tropical products, all were new to England in the third quarter of the seventeenth century, all contain stimulants and can be properly classified as drugs (together with tobacco and rum, though clearly different both in effects and addictiveness). All began as competitors for British preference, so that tne Prescnce °f cacn probably affected to some extent the ^te of the others. All three beverages are bitter. A liking for bitterness, even extreme bitterness, falls "naturally" within the range of normal human taste response and can be quickly and firmly developed. The popularity of such diverse substances as watercress, beer, sorrel, radishes, horseradish, eggplant, bitter melon, pickles, and quinine, to name only a few, suggests a broad human tolerance for bitterness. Turning this into a preference usually requires some culturally grounded habituation, but it is not difficult to achieve under certain circumstances. Sweet-tasting substances, however, appear to insinuate themselves much more quickly into the preferences of new consumers. The bitter substances are "bitter-specific"—liking watercress has nothing to do with liking eggplant, for instance. But, in contrast, liking sucrose seems to be "sweet-general." Added to bitter substances, sugar makes them taste alike, at least insofar as it makes them all taste sweet. What is interesting about tea, coffee, and chocolate—all harshly bitter substances that became widely known in Great Britain at approximately the same time—is that none had been used exclusively with a sweetener in its primary cultural setting. To this day tea is drunk without sugar in China and by overseas Chinese. (Tea usage in India poses somewhat different problems, deeply influenced as it was by the export of British customs, and intensely developed in India only under British stimulus.) Coffee is often drunk with sugar, but not everywhere, and not always, even within areas of ancient usage such as North Africa and the Middle East. Chocolate was commonly (though not invariably) used as a food flavoring or sauce without sweetener in its original tropical American home." Though it is possible to date the first appearance of coffee, tea, and chocolate in Britain with fair confidence, documentation for the custom of adding sugar to such beverages during the early period of their use in the United Kingdom is almost nonexistent. Since the combination of a nonalcoholic, bitter, calorie-empty stimulant, heated and in liquid form, with a calorie-rich and intensely sweet substance came to mean a whole new assemblage of beverages, the no. SWEETNESS AND POWER CONSUMPTION *111 lack of detailed information on how such combinations were formed and received is frustrating. More than a century after cof and tea habits were well established, Benjamin Moseley, a physicis who practiced in the West Indies, tells us, "It has long been a custot with many people among us, to add mustard to their coffee.. Eastern nations add either cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, etc., neither milk, or sugar. Milk and sugar, without the aromaticks, at generally used with it in Europe, America, and the West India lands. "M But by this rime the English people had been drinking the beverages for more than a century. In his treatise on beverages* however, John Chamber lay n asserts that sugar was taken with three by the time he was writing (168J).85 Tea eventually supplanted home-brewed small beer almost en* tirely, even contested the popularity of sugar-flavored wines (suchj as hippocras), as well as gin and other strong alcoholic intoxicants. But at first, all three new beverages were drunk only by the wealthy. ] and powerful, slowly becoming desired by the poor, and later preferred by them to other nonalcoholic drinks. By the time that tea and its sister drinks were taken up by working people, they were: being served hot and sweetened. Well suited to the needs of people whose caloric intake may actually have been declining during the eighteenth century, and for whom a hot, sweet beverage must have seemed especially welcome given their diet and England's weather, these drinks swiftly became popular. As the English drank more and more of the new substances, the beverages themselves became more and more English in two senses: by the process of ritualiza tion, on the one hand; and by being produced more and more in British colonies—at least for another century or two—on the other. Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese bride of Charles II, who reigned from 1649 to 1685, was "England's first tea-drinking queen. It is to her credit that she was able to substitute her favorite temperance drink as the fashionable beverage of the court in place of the ales, wines, and spirits with which the English ladies, as well as gentlemen 'habitually heated or stupefied their brains morning, noon and night.'"86 As early as 1660, tea was being touted in London advertising: a famous broadside distributed by Garway's beverage house vaunts tea's supposed medicinal virtues. Before 1657, we are told, tea had been used only "as a regalia in high treatments and entertainments, and presents made thereof to princes and grantees,"87 But the Sultaness Head Coffee House had already advertised tea in the London newspaper Mercurius Politicus on September 30, 1658: "That excellent and by all physicians approved China drink, called by the Chineans Tcha, by other nations Toy, alias Tee, is sold at the Sultaness Head Cophee House... ."8S Little more than a year later, Mercurius Politicus Redivivus, edited by Thomas Rugge, reports: "Theire ware also att this time a turkish drink to bee sould, almost in every street, called Coffee, and another drink called Tee, and also a drink called Chocolate, which was a vrery harty drink." The first London coffeehouse appears to have been opened by a Turkish merchant in 1652, and the institution grew with amazing rapidity, both on the Continent and in England. The late-seventeenth-century French traveler Misson was favorably impressed by London's coffeehouses: "You have all Manner of News there: You have a good Fire, which you may sit by as long as you please: You have a Dish of Coffee; you meet your Friends for the Transaction of Business, and all for a Penny, if you don't care to spend more."8* Arnold Heeren, the German historian, writing of the eighteenth century, tells us: The mercantile system lost none of its influence....This was a natural consequence of the ever increasing importance of colonies, from the rime that their productions, especially coffee, sugar, and tea, began to come into more general use in Europe. The great influence which these commodities have had, not only on politics, but also on the reformation of social life, is not easily calculated. Apart from the vast gains resulting to the nations at large from commerce, and to the governments from duties—what influence have not coffee-houses exercised in the capitals of Europe, as central points of political, mercantile, and literary transactions? In a word without those productions, would the states in the west of Europe have acquired their present character?90 Chocolate soon followed tea and coffee; it was more expensive than coffee, and gained greater favor with the rich. Chamberlayn's 1685 tract on the preparation of these three beverages indicates 112« SWEETNESS AND POWER CONSUMPTION ♦113 that they were already being taken with sugar ("small quantities') a and makes dear that their use was slowly spreading throughout « society. In terms of drinkable beverage rendered per pound, tea soon'm emerged as the most economical. But its growing popularity cannot 1 be so much attributed either to its relative price or to any intrinsic ?! superiority to these other exotic stimulants, as to the way it is used. | Tea can be more successfully adulterated than either coffee or choc- -I olate,91 apparently because it can be tolerated, even when very di- ■ luted, more readily than those other beverages. Perhaps weak sweet I tea tastes more satisfying than equally weak, equally sweet coffee 9 or chocolate. At any rate, such possible virtues of tea were revealed J only when imperial protection for its cultivation and production I was turned toward India by the machinations of the importers. The Honourable East India Company was chartered in 1660, | one of what were eventually sixteen such companies—Dutch, 1 French, Danish, Austrian, Swedish, Spanish, and Prussian—com- "a peting for trade in the Indies. None was so powerful or successful 1 as the John Company, as this British chartered body was also i called, which made its start importing pepper, but grew important i because of tea. Its early adventures in the Far East brought it to China, whose tea was destined later to furnish the means of governing India: ... During the hey-day of its prosperity John Company... maintained a monopoly of the tea trade with China, controlled the supply, limited the quantity imported into England, and thus fixed the price. It constituted not only the world's greatest tea monopoly but also the source of inspiration for the first English propaganda on behalf of a beverage. It was so powerful that it precipitated a dietetic revolution in England, changing the British people from a nation of potential coffee drinkers to a nation of tea drinkers, and all within the space of a few years. It was a formidable rival of states and empires, with power to acquire territory, coin money, command fortresses and troops, form alliances, make war and peace, and exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction.91 As tea drinking became popular in England, the smuggling of tea grew into a major business and, for the tax agents of the crown, a major headache. In 1700, England received legally about twenty thousand pounds.*5 By 1715, Chinese green tea was flooding the London market (thanks to the John Company), and by 1760, duty was paid on more than five million pounds. By 1800, the legally imported total alone was more than twenty million pounds. In 1766, however, the government was estimating that as much smuggled as legally introduced tea was reaching England. In that year the Honourable East India Company carried more tea away from China— six million pounds—than any of its competitors. Not until 1813 did the government intercede in the company's administrative and commercial activities, and not until 1833 was its monopoly to China—largely consisting of tea—finally terminated. There is no comparable story for either coffee or chocolate; nor is any such monopoly to be found in the history of West Indian sugar, where different sugar colonies vied with one another. But the relationship among these four products—together with rum (molasses) and tobacco—was intimate and entangled. Tea won out over coffee and chocolate and, in the long run, even over beer and ale (though by no means altogether over rum and gin!)—for many different reasons. But the East India Company's monopoly, which led in turn to the complete domination of tea growing in India by British capital—and with total governmental support—played an important part. India tea (usually combining leaves from both Indian and Chinese plants) was much delayed by the antagonism of the selfsame East India Company. By 1840, however, it was in production, which marked the beginning of the end of China tea in England. ... Within six years from the time Lord Bentinck had appointed his tea committee, the Government had demonstrated that British grown tea could be produced in marketable quantities____Within the span of three generations British enterprise carved out of the jungles of India an industry that covered over two million acres, representing a capital investment of £36,000,000 with 788,842 acres under tea producing 432,997,916 lbs. annually, giving employment to one and a quarter million people; at the same time creating one of the most lucrative sources of private wealth and government tax returns in the British Empire [italics added]," 114. SWEETNESS AND POWER CONSUMPTION »115 The success of tea, like the less resounding successes of coffe, and chocolate, was also the success of sugar. In the view of thel West Indian interest, increasing consumption of any of these exotic! liquid stimulants was highly desirable, for sugar went with theraj all. Tea was pushed hardest by British trade, and its victory over; competing beverages was conditioned by factors quite unrelated to its taste. That it was a bitter stimulant, that it was taken hot, and] that it was capable of carrying large quantities of palatable sweet! calories told importantly in its success. But unlike that of coffee andj chocolate, the production of tea was developed energetically in a! single vast colony, and served there as a means not only of profit j but also of the power to rule. The same could not really be said of| chocolate or coffee at the time; the better analogy, if any, would | be with sugar. Tea's success was phenomenally rapid. Before the midpoint of the eighteenth century, even Scotland had become a land of tea; addicts. The Scottish jurist and theologian Duncan Forbes looked,' back in time to write: But when the opening [of] a Trade with the East-Indies... brought the Price of Tea... so low, that the meanest labouring Man could compass the Purchase of it;—when the Connection which the Dealers in their Country had with many Scotsmen in the Service of the Swedish Company at Gottenburg, introduced the Common Use of that Drug among the lowest of the People;— when Sugar, the inseparable Companion of Tea, came to be in the possession of the very poorest Housewife, where formerly it had been a great Rarity,—and therby was at hand, to mix with Water and Brandy, or Rum;—and when Tea and Punch became thus the Diet and Debauch of all the Beer and Ale Drinkers, the effects were very suddenly and severely felt.'1 And the historian of Scotland David MacPherson, writing at the "k beginning of the nineteenth century, looked back to the lowering | of the duties on tea in 1784, and the even sharper increase in use that followed upon it: Tea has become an economical substitute to the middle and lower classes of society for malt liquor, the price of which renders it impossible for them to procure the quantity sufficient for them as their only drink____In short, we are so situated in our commercial and financial system, that tea brought from the eastern extremity of the world, and sugar brought from the West Indies and both loaded with the expense of freight and insurance... compose a drink cheaper than beer.M Cheapness was important, but it does not by itself explain the growing tendency toward tea consumption. The cleric David Davies, an important observer of rural life at the end of the eighteenth century, discerned the combined circumstances leading to a deepening preference for tea and sugar over other items of diet at the time. Davies insisted that the rural poor would produce and drink milk if they could afford to keep a cow, but that this was beyond the means of most, and his detailed budgetary records support his view. Then, because malt was a taxed item, it was too costly to enable the poor to make small beer: Under these hard circumstances, the dearness of malt, and the difficulty of procuring milk, the only thing remaining of them to moisten their bread with, was tea. This was their last resource. Tea (with bread) furnishes one meal for a whole family every day, at no greater expense than about one shilling a week, at an average. If any body will point out an article that is cheaper and better, I will venture to answer for the poor in general, that they will be thankful for the discovery." Davies was sensitive to the arguments against tea: Though the use of tea is more common than could be wished, it is not yet general among the labouring poor: and if we have regard to numbers, their share of the consumption is comparatively small; especially if we reckon the value in money. Still, you exclaim tea is a luxury. If you mean fine hyson tea, sweetened with refined sugar, and softened with cream, I readily admit it to be so. But this is not the tea of the poor. Spring-water, just coloured with a few leaves of the lowest-priced tea, and sweetened with the brownest sugar, is the luxury for which you reproach them. To this they have recourse of necessity; and were they now to be deprived of this, they would immediately be reduced to bread and water. Tea-drinking is not the cause, but the consequence of the distresses of the poor. 116» SWEETNESS AND POWER After all, it appears a very strange thing, that the common people of any European nation should be obliged to use, as part of their daily diet, two articles imported from opposite sides of the earth. But if high taxes, in consequence of expensive wars, and the changes which time insensibly makes in the circumstance of countries, have debarred the poorer inhabitants of this kingdom the use of such things as are the natural products of the soil, and forced them to recur to those of foreign growth; surely this is not their fault." Of course it was remarkable that, so early in England's history, "the ■ common people... should be obliged to use, as part of their daily diet, I two articles imported from opposite sides of the earth." It was remarkable not only for what it shows us about the English economy, š already in large measure a nation of wage earners, but also for what i it reveals about the intimacy of the links between colony and me- :' tropolis, fashioned by capital. So vital had sugar and tea become in the daily lives of the people that the maintenance of their supply had by then become a political, as well as an economic, matter. Other observers of English rural life, such as Sir Frederick Eden, also noted the growing consumption of tea and sugar in the countryside. Eden collected large numbers of individual family budgets, two of which, dating from 1797, are illustrative of the trend in sugar consumption. The first, a southern family of six, had a cash income of forty-six pounds per year; their calculation of money spent on food actually exceeds that figure slighdy. This family's purchases were estimated to include two pounds of sugar weekly, or about a hundred pounds per year, which would give a per-capita average consumption of nearly seventeen pounds—a stardingly high figure for the time. The northern family had a more modest income. There were five, rather than six, members and they spent disproportionately less on food. Nonetheless, of the twenty pounds estimated to have been expended for food annually, tea and sugar cost £l 12s., and treacle 8s. more—in all, 10 percent of the cash purchases of food." Jonas Hanway, the eighteenth-century social reformer, was intensely hostile to the consumption of tea by the poor. The richness of his feelings can be conveyed by the following: ■ CONSUMPTION »117 it is the curse of this nation that the labourer and mechanic will ape the lord____To what a height of folly must a nation be arrived, when the common people are not satisfied with wholesome food at home, but must go to the remotest regions to please a vicious palate! There is a certain lane... where beggars are often seen... drinking their tea. You may see labourers mending the roads drinking their tea; it is even drank in cinder-carts; and what is not less absurd, sold out in cups to haymakers.... Those will have tea who have not bread____Misery itself has no power to banish tea.'00 John Burnett, a painstaking modern student of the history of British nutrition, reproaches Hanway gently. "Contemporary writers," he tells us, "are unanimous in blaming the labourer for his extravagant diet, and tireless in demonstrating that by better management he might have more meat and more variety in his meals. None of them seemed... to recognize that white bread and tea were no longer luxuries, but the irreducible minimum below which was only starvation____Two ounces of tea a week, costing 8d. or 9d., made many a cold supper seem like a hot meal."101 A number of scholars note that the substitution of tea for beer was a definite nutritional loss; tea was bad not only because it was a stimulant and contained tannin, but also because it supplanted other, more nutritious foods: "The poor people found that they could enjoy a quite deceptive feeling of warmth after drinking hot tea, whereas, in fact, a glass of cold beer would have given them far more real food."101 It was not simply as a sweetener of tea that sucrose became an item of mass consumption between the late seventeenth century and the end of the eighteenth. Mrs. Hannah Glasse's special confectionery cook book (1760), probably the first of its kind, appeared in more than a dozen editions and was widely read (and plagiarized); it probably contributed to the behavioral bridging between matron and drudge that accompanied the emergence of newer middle-class segments. It offers good evidence of how comprehensively sugar was entering the English diet. This pathbreaking work dealt not only with sugar-sculpture frames and mini-subtleties, but also with sweetened custards, pastries, and creams, the recipes for which required port, madeira, sack (sweet sherry), eggs, cream, lemons, or- 118' SWEETNESS AND POWER CONSUMPTION '119 anges, spices, and immense quantities of sugar of many sorts. Byj instructing the rising middle classes in the fabrication of pastries! and other desserts, Mrs. Glasse provides rich documentation that! sugar was no longer a medicine, a spice, or a plaything of the] powerful—though of course the powerful would continue to playl with sugar, in new ways. For the poor, probably the next most important use of sugar after | sweetening tea was in supplementing the consumption of complex] carbohydrates, particularly porridges and breads, with treacle (mo-1 lasses). "Hasty pudding," so called, was in fact oatmeal porridge,! commonly eaten with butter, milk, or treacle.103 In the eighteenth: century, treacle apparently dislodged the older combinations. Though molasses served as a sweetener in this instance, the taste of sweetness it afforded the porridge was probably more pronounced than in the case of tea, though tea was commonly drunk very sweet. The first half of the eighteenth century may have been a period of increased purchasing power for laboring people,104 even though the quality of nutrition probably declined at the same time. Inno-.% vations like the liquid stimulants and the greatly increased use of' sugar were items for which additional income was used, as well as items by which one could attempt emulation of those at higher levels of the social system. But labeling this usage "emulation" explains very little. The circumstances under which a new habit is acquired are as important as the habits of those others from whom the habit is learned. It seemes likely that many of the new tea drinkers and sugar users were not fully satisfied with their daily fare. Some were doubtless inadequately fed; others were bored by their food and by the large quantities of starchy carbohydrates they ate. A hot liquid stimulant full of sweet calories doubtless "hit the spot," perhaps particularly for people who were already undernourished. C. R. Fay, a sometimes mordant commentator on English social history, writes: "Tea, which refreshes and quietens, is the natural beverage of a taciturn people, and being easy to prepare, it came as a godsend to the world's worst cooks."105 It is true that tea is easier to prepare (and soon became cheaper) than either coffee or chocolate. But the East India Company had much to do with which of these beverages would win out ultimately; and sugar may have helped as much as tea did to transform the English diet. It surely provided more calories. These additions to the diet of the English people signaled the linkage of the consumption habits of every Englishman to the world outside England, and particularly to the colonies of the empire. For many people this widening of food choices was a distinct advantage, sometimes displayed with charm and wry humor: I am heartily glad that we shall keep Jamaica and the East Indies another year, that one may have time to lay in a stock of tea and sugar for the rest of one's days. I think only of the necessaries of life, and do not care a rush for gold and diamonds, and the pleasure of stealing logwood. The friends of government, who have thought on nothing but reducing us to our islandhood and bringing us back to the simplicity of ancient times, when we were the frugal, temperate, virtuous old England, ask how we did before tea and sugar were known. Better, no doubt; but as I did not happen to be born two or three hundred years ago, I cannot recall precisely whether diluted acorns, and barley bread spread with honey, made a very luxurious breakfast [letter of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, 15 November 1779J.,M The uses of sugar as a sweetener for beverages grew in the company of ever more common pastries, often eaten with the beverages or in place of bread. This use would not reach its fullest development until the mass production of fruit preserves, conditioned by big drops in the price of sugar, was mastered in the nineteenth century. But as the use of tea and the other exotic beverages increased, so did the consumption of breads baked outside the home, which were often sweetened. Misson, the late-seventeenth-century French traveler who had rhapsodized about the coffeehouses, thought well of English puddings, too. Of "Christmas Pye," he writes, "It is a great Nostrum the composition of this Pastry; it is a most learned Mixture of Neats-tongues, Chicken, Eggs, Sugar, Raisins, Lemon and Orange Peel, various Kinds of Spicery, &c."107 Of course such treats were not yet for the frequent delectation of the poorest segments of English society in the early eighteenth century. But as sugar became better known 120* SWEETNESS AND POWER and more familiar, pastries and puddings became more widespread,! "Red" (brown) sugar and treacle were now widely used in baking,i in puddings, with cereals, spread upon bread, and in other ways;| Elisabeth Ayrton deals at length with the English sweet tooth in j her sprightly and literate The Cookery of England (1974): Sugar had been a luxury too expensive for many until the begin- m ning of the eighteenth century, when the price dropped to about '!| 6d. per pound. Once it had done so, the practice of "scraping" B the conical sugar-loaf over the crust of a pie and of supplementing sugar in the contents with raisins, was enlarged to a fuller use of I sugar in pies and tarts and to its use with "flower'' to make f puddings. At first the puddings formed part of the second or third course, which might also consist of fish, some lighter meat dishes, pies, tarts, vegetables or fruit. By the beginning of the nineteenth century they often, though not invariably, followed the savoury dishes as a separate course. In the first part of the eighteenth century a "pudding" almost always meant a basis of flour and suet with dried fruit, sugar and eggs added. As the century went on, hundreds of variations were evolved, recipes multiplied; even the plainest dinner served above the poverty line was not complete without its pudding. Hot puddings, cold puddings, steamed puddings, baked puddings, pies, tarts, creams, moulds, charlottes and Bettys, trifles and fools, syllabubs and tansys, junkets and ices, milk puddings, suet puddings: "pudding" used as a generic term covers so many dishes traditional in English cookery that the mind reels as it dwells on these almost vanished splendours of our tables.109 New foods and beverages were incorporated into daily life with unusual rapidity, and sugar had an important role in nearly all of these new items. But people do not simply add such important things to their diets without noticing what they are and how they can be used. Drinking tea, eating bread smeared with treacle or porridge sweetened with it, baking sweet cakes and breads were all acts that would gradually be assimilated into the calendar of work, recreation, rest, and prayer—into the whole of daily life, in sum—as well as into the cycle of special events such as births, baptisms, marriages, and funerals. In any culture, these processes of assimilation are also CONSUMPTION »121 ' ones of appropriation: the culture's way of making new and unusual things part of itself. In complex hierarchical societies, "the culture" is never a wholly unified, homogeneous system, however. It is marked by behavioral and attitudinal differences at differenr levels, which are expressed and reflected in the differing ways ideas, objects, and beliefs are used, manipulated, and changed. Cultural "materials"—including material objects, the words for them, ways of behaving and of thinking, too—can move upward or downward, from lord to commoner, or vice versa. But when they do so, they are not unaltered or unchanged in meaning. And it would be naive to assume that such diffusion occurs as readily or as often in an upward direction as in a downward. Wealth, authority, power, and influence surely affect the ways diffusion occurs. Substances such as sugar, tea, and tobacco, their forms and uses, became embedded somewhat differendy in different portions of the English social system, and the meanings attached to them varied as well. At each level, moreover, differences of age, sex, and the norms of social assortment affect the ways new usages are institutionalized and relearned. Sometimes old men, sometimes young wives, sometimes infants of both sexes will be most affected by one or another such substance. In the case of sugar, the downward movement that typified its spread was accompanied, as we have seen, by changes in what it meant or could mean to those who used it. Since it took many forms, the meanings attachable to sugar would vary depending on whether it was a spice, a medicine, a form of decoration, a sweetener, or whatever—and also depending on the social group employing it. In general terms, sugar's use as a spice and a medicine declined as its use as a decoration, a sweetener, and a preservative increased. In these latter categories, its availability for new meanings broadened, as its nature was more fully grasped by those who used it. It formed part of a "tea complex" (the term is used with some hesitancy) that gradually came to characterize British society top to bottom—though intricately and profoundly differentiated at different levels. Here it was both a sweetener of the tea itself and a fundamental ingredient of many of the foods that accompanied the 122« SWEETNESS AND POWER consumption •123 tea. As a decoration, sugar was obviously important in ceremónia contexts, such as weddings, birthday parties, and funerals, wheref sculptured sugar could serve to memorialize—though of course the| events in question were no longer matters of state or the appointments of church dignitaries. As a preservative, it had additional^ potentialities. Two somewhat different processes were occurring as these uses} became more or less standard, both of them aspects of what, forj lack of a better term, may be called "ritualization"—the incorpo-,; ration and symbolic reinvestment of new materials. (Because ritual J has to do with regularity and with a sense of fitness, rightness, and5; validation, its meaning here is not confined to so-called religious | behavior.) One such aspect may be called "extensification": larger , numbers of persons were becoming familiar with sugar on a regular,;: perhaps even daily, basis. The regular consumption of sugar, particularly of cheap brown sugar or treacle, even in modest quantities, I gradually reduced sugar's status as a glamorous luxury and a precious good. As a sweetener of tea, coffee, chocolate, and alcoholic drinks, and as an ingredient of bakery and fruit desserts, sugar acquired a more everyday, down-to-earth character in the eighteenth century. More frequent and greater consumption—with the addition of new food uses and new occasions for consumption, each of which forged and consolidated particular meanings—would deepen this everyday quality. A treat, perhaps, but a familiar, reliable, and expected treat—the analogy with tea itself, say, or even with tobacco may be persuasive. As sugar became more known, more "homey," it was endowed with ritual meanings by those who consumed it, meanings specific to the social and cultural position of the users. This is a part of the extensification itself: a recasting of meanings, now detached from the past, and from those given by other social groups. In contrast, "intensification" involved more continuity with past usage, more fidelity to older meanings, more—perhaps the word is closer to the mark here—emulation. Coronations, the installation of high religious authorities, and the granting of knighthoods did not spread throughout society; but sugar did. Hence intensification meant the attachment of sugar uses to ceremonial occasions harking back to older usage but freed of much of the social and political content they formerly carried. Wedding cakes with their elaborate icings and figures, the use of spices and sweets with meat and fowl at holidays, the use of sweet foods at rituals of separation and departure (including funerals), and a lexicon in which the imagery 0f sweetness figures importandy all suggest such continuity. The preservative powers of sucrose were recognized at a very early time, as the ninth-century record documenting the manufacture and export of fruit syrups, candied capers, and similar preserves from Persia demonstrates. The usefulness of sugar as a preservative is shared to some extent by honey, but sucrose is more effective. Its capacity to draw off moisture and thus to deprive micro-organisms of a breeding environment makes it a relatively safe vehicle for the suspension of edible solids, even meat, for lengthy periods. Just as liquid sugar or syrups can be used as a medium in which to immerse other substances, so crystalline sugars can be used to coat or seal off edible materials. In Europe these properties were written about by the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and were probably well known before then. In the Compendium Aromatarorium (1488), Saladin d'Asculo described how to prevent fermentation by using concentrated sucrose solutions, and how to preserve dairy products by applying a thick coating of powdered sugar. Paracelsus also recorded sugar uses to prevent spoilage.11'9 Preserved fruit was a delicacy known to English royalty by the fifteenth century, and doubtless earlier. The "perys in syrippe" served at the wedding feast of Henry IV and Joan of Navarre in 1403 are noteworthy, since at that time "almost the only way of preserving fruit was to boil it in syrup and flavour it heavily with spices."110Nearly two centuries later, the household book of Lord Middleton, at Woollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire, documents the purchase of two pounds, one ounce of "marmeláde" at the astronomical price of 5s. 3d.—which shows "what a luxury such imported preserved fruits were."111 Though exact equivalencies cannot be established, the money for two pounds of preserved fruit at that time would have bought approximately one pound of pepper or ginger—equally exotic imports—or nearly fourteen pounds of butter, or almost rwenty-nine pounds of cheese. 124» SWEETNESS AND POWER CONSUMPTION ♦125 Delicacies of this sort continued to be food for royalty and th3 very wealthy for centuries more; but as with other sugar uses, those'' of lesser rank aspired to consume them, too. Candied fruit way imported to England from the Mediterranean at least as early a|j the fourteenth century. Socade, "a form of conserve which ohM covers what we now term marmalade," appears in sixteenth-cenruryl cargo lists.112 And the Skinners' Company banquet of 1560 featured] both "marmelade" and "sukett" among the sweetmeats served. Sincp| law did not prohibit the use of sugar by inferior social strata, p SWEETNESS AND POWER EATING AND BEING •211 have altered the place of sugar. While many of the world's peoples are still learning to eat sucrose in the ways and quantities that marked its spread through England and the West, others are moving into a wholly different period of eating history. Roland Barthes argued that the famous place of food in French life has been qualitatively changing, and his argument seems to hold for modern societies generally; Food serves as a sign not only for themes, but also for situations; and this, all told, means for a way of life that is emphasized, much more than expressed, by it. To eat is a behavior that develops beyond its own ends, replacing, summing up, and signalizing other behaviors, and it is precisely for these reasons that it is a sign. What are these other behaviors? Today, we might almost say that "polysemia" of food characterizes modernities; in the past, only festive occasions were signalized by food in any positive organized manner. But today, work also has its own kind of food [on the level of a sign, that is): energy-giving and light food is experienced as a very sign of, rather than only a help toward, participation in modem life____We are witnessing an extraordinary expansion of the areas associated with food: food is becoming incorporated into an ever-lengthening list of situations. This adaptation is usually made in the name of hygiene and better living, but in reality, to stress this fact once more, food is also charged with signifying the situation in which it is used. It has a twofold value, being nutrition as well as protocol, and its value as protocol becomes increasingly more important as soon as the basic needs are satisfied, as they are in France. In other words, we might say that in contemporary French society, food has a constant tendency to transform itself into situation.*1 The peculiar versatility of sugars has led to their remarkable permeation through so many foods and into nearly all cuisines. But the subsidiary or additional uses of some sugars, particularly sucrose, have become more important, not less, as prepared foods inside and outside the home grow more popular. The function of sweetness in the patterning of ingestion has changed, even while the nonsweetening uses of sucrose and corn sweeteners have expanded. That sugars not only have remained important in our new diets and eating habits but have become proportionately much more so is additional evidence of their versatility. The track sugar has left in modern history is one involving masses of people and resources, thrown into productive combination by social, economic, and political forces that were actively remaking the entire world. The technical and human energies these forces released were unequaled in world history, and many of their consequences have been beneficial. But the place of sugars in the modern diet, the strangely imperceptible attrition of people's control over what they eat, with the eater becoming the consumer of a mass-produced food rather than the controller and cook of it, the manifold forces that work to hold consumption in channels predictable enough to maintain food-industry profits, the paradoxical narrowing of individual choice, and of opportunity to resist this trend, in the guise of increasing convenience, ease, and "freedom"—these factors suggest the extent to which we have surrendered our autonomy over our food. Subde encouragements to be modern, efficient, up to date, and individualistic have become steadily more sophisticated. We are what we eat; in the modern western world, we are made more and more into what we eat, whenever forces we have no control over persuade us that our consumption and our identity are linked. More and more of the so-called "creative" people who design products are not in the laboratories and, therefore, least open to technological and scientific constraints. Marketing executives have found that ideas generated by nontechnical people are more realistically associated with markets and are less inhibited by restraints which would concern technical people. As a consequence new product funds tend to be invested more in services associated with advertising than those of technical groups..., The effect of such product development practices on consumption is important.... If we define what has been referred to as richness as a concomitant of flavor, then the repeated incorporation of "richness" into a new product would not only provide regular reinforcement for recognizing "richness," but, with all of its omnipresent associations promoted as good, result in increased consumption of fat and sugar____There is supposedly a safety factor associated with fat consumption and probably also with sweetener consumption. But the statistics, at least on die average, support the conclusion that as preparation of food moves from kitchen to factory, the perception of richness and the continuing 212* SWEETNESS AND POWER emphasis on richness, certainly in snack foods, has contributed not only to reinforcement but also the resultant increased consumption____It would appear that such increases due to the relative inelasticity of demand for food could seriously unbalance nutrition____What is perhaps more disturbing is the degree to which the discretionary limits of consumers are being reduced by the system which designs food like any other consumer item... Lionel Tiger, an anthropologist proceeding from a somewhat different perspective, arrives at similarly critical conclusions. He points out that as belief systems in modern societies become more secularized, individuals change the way they view their own safety, and an "extermination model," as he calls it, results. That is, individuals attach to such environmental risks as exposure to radiation or chemicals, and perhaps especially to earing, a statistical reckoning of their life chances. To believe one has an X-percent chance of developing cancer after Y number of cigarettes is rather different, says Tiger, "from the relatively straightforward connection to a theological dominant in terms of whom the rules of right and wrong are plain and the results of particular actions relatively clearly identifiable.*43 But, perhaps more important, this change to a statistical, epidemiological approach to risk burdens the individual with inhibitions in regard to earing: The decision about personal destiny, as far as health is concerned, is stressed directly on the individual, despite the fact that everywhere in the community blandishments exist to increase individual risk of disease development: for example, the countless public feeding facilities such as the fast food outlets who rely unduly on foods that are not highly desirable from the disease prevention point of view. So while the individual is faced with an entirely personal decision to take, he or she must take it in a social context which is relatively provocative in a destructive sense, because of the community's indifference to or lack of information about suitable patterns of eating, or the vested interest of persons and groups committed to maintaining advantageous positions in the economy which depend upon less than medically desirable eating habits.44 Fischler, the French anthropologist, appalled by the way "snack-ing" has supplanted meal taking (it is clear that the very word EATING AND BEING •213 offends him, and he declares proudly that there is no equivalent in French!), speaks of the replacement of gastronomy by "gastro-anomie," and raises questions about the trend toward desocialized, aperiodic eating. One senses today a quickening of such diffusion, a speeding up, even in large, ancient societies that were apparently once resistant to such processes, such as China and Japan. The changing nature of the industrial workday, the cheap calories (both in cost and in resource use) provided by sucrose, and the special-interest groups intent on pushing its consumption4' make such cumulative pressure difficult to resist on an individual or a group educational basis. Food may be no more than a sign of yet larger, more fundamental processes—or so it seems. Diet is remade because the entire productive character of societies is recast and, with it, the very nature of time, of work, and of leisure. If these occurrences raise questions for us and about us—if they seem to others, as they seem to me, to have escaped from human control even though they are very much the outcome of organized human intent—then we need to understand them far better than we do. We may aspire to change the world, rather than merely to observe it. But we need to understand how it works in order to change it in socially effective ways. We anthropologists for too long have paradoxically denied the way the world has changed and continues changing, as well as our ability—responsibility, even—to contribute to a broad understanding of die changes. If we have been betrayed by our own romanticism, we have also lagged in recognizing and asserting our strengths. Those strengths continue to lie in field work (there is little in this book, I confess), and in a full appreciation of humanity's historical nature as a species. Anthropological interest in how person, substance, and act are integrated meaningfully can be pursued in the modern world as well as in the ptimitive one. Studies of the everyday in modern life, of the changing character of mundane matters like food, viewed from the joined perspective of production and consumption, use and function, and concerned with the differential emergence and variation of meaning, may be one way to inspirit a ■ discipline now dangerously close to losing its sense of purpose. To move from so minor a matter as sugar to the state of the 214' SWEETNESS AND POWER world in general may seem like yet another chorus of the bone song—the hip bone's connected to the leg bone, etc. But we have already seen how sucrose, this "favored child of capitalism"—Fernando Ortiz's lapidary phrase"—epitomized the transition from one kind of society to another. The first sweetened cup of hot tea to be drunk by an English worker was a significant historical event, because it prefigured the transformation of an entire society, a total remaking of its economic and social basis. We must struggle to understand fully the consequences of that and kindred events, for upon them was erected an entirely different conception of the relationship between producers and consumers, of the meaning of work, of the definition of self, of the nature of things. What commodities are, and what commodities mean, would thereafter be forever different. 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