Few things represent a culture as well as food. Because sweets are universal foods, they are the perfect basis for a comparative study of the intersection of history, geography, social class, religion, politics, and other key aspects of life. With that in mind, this encyclopedia surveys nearly 100 countries, examining their characteristic sweet treats from an anthropological perspective. It offers historical context on what sweets are popular where and why and emphasizes the cross-cultural insights those sweets present.
The reference opens with an overview of general trends in desserts and sweet treats. Entries organized by country and region describe cultural attributes of local desserts, how and when sweets are enjoyed, and any ingredients that are iconic. Several popular desserts are discussed within each entry including information on their history, their importance, and regional/cultural variations on preparation. An appendix of recipes provides instructions on how to make many of the dishes, whether for school projects or general entertaining.