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Brown Sugar


Another entry tonight from Elizabeth Fries Ellet’s New Cyclopaedia of Domestic Economy, and Practical Housekeeper, from 1871.

This bit is on adulterated sugar.

“The sugar, if it be brown, without taking note of such items as a little lead, a good deal of sand, some clay and flour is pretty nearly as thick as it can hold chips of cane and swarms of mites…For sugar, the best advice is–if you like to pay for dirt, and to mix it with your preserves, pudding, and pastry, and choose to believe that sugar which moistens even the thick paper they place it in, and which looks dark, smells strong, and sticks to your fingers, is richer in sweetening than clear sparkling white sugar, out of which none of the sweetening but all of the dirt has been washed–then buy brown sugar.”

In a world where adulterated food was a plague and people died from eating bad food every day, I can see why white sugar would have added value.

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