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    Book Release: Sweet Tooth – The Bittersweet History of Candy

    The above is not one of my better photographs, but for one taken without caffeine, it’ll have to do.

    That being said, I want to let you know that Sweet Tooth is here. Well, not yet, technically, but it is a thing, one that I’ve held in my hand and made me finally give a sigh of relief.  You too can hold one in your hand if you:

    1. Know someone who already has a copy, or
    2. Are willing to shell out some money.

    I would be lying if I said that I had no preference for either, as “b” is more beneficial for me, unless you choose “a” and then become a disciple of either the book or myself.

    But selling my book is not the real purpose of this post, just a happy benefit. Really, I’m here to point out some basic metrics for you to consider.

    - The first idea for this book popped into my head in November of 2009. It is now May of 2012. That’s a time cycle of 31 months from the idea to the bookstore bookshelf.  In that time frame, someone may have (and likely) conceived and birthed two children. I’m not sure why, but this concept astounds me.

    - The book itself was fun, but it did burn me out on candy.  99 Drams did the same thing to me with whiskey, and it took two years before I was able to drink whiskey for fun again.

    - This was the first book that resulted in my first overseas police incident.

    - Several trips did not make it into the book, due to my inability to work them into the narrative. These trips included a stop in Paris, Cologne, and Zurich.

    - The one candy that caught my fancy? A well-made gummy bear. America, we are getting screwed on the quality of our gummy candies. The German and the Swiss really know how to make a good one; especially from here.

    - As far as cheap candies are concerned, Jelly Babies were a revelation.

    - I no longer hate black licorice, but I still don’t particularly like it. If I must have black licorice, I would prefer to have a well made bag of All-Sorts.

    - American consumers are finally catching on what good chocolate actually means. I see the same patterns of business that occurred in the brewing industry in the eighties and nineties occuring in now in the chocolate industry.

    - I wasn’t all that surprised to find that some chocolate companies are more than willing to take advantage of people’s ignorance on chocolate.

    - Candy isn’t as innocent as its marketers would have you believe. If there’s a subtext to the book, it’s that the idea of “The innocence of candy” is, at best, a misrepresentation of both history and current consumption patterns; at worst, an intentional exploitation of our individual penchant for nostalgia. The truth is somewhere between these two points.

    - Finally, what I’ve learned is that candy and confections are one of the cheapest luxuries on the planet, one which begs the question of “How little cost is too little to be paying for something that we don’t technically need?”

    It was a great joy to research and write the book, and I do hope you enjoy it when you pick it up to read, whether you pay for it or not.  If you want to see more of my thoughts on the book, feel free to visit this page, and consider picking up a copy online.






    Rama Food Tour: Seattle

    At the end of last year, I was approached by the folks at Crimson Bamboo and was asked a very simple question: Where would you send people to eat in Seattle, if you wanted them to experience the “real” Seattle.

    I scoffed at their question, until they said that there could be money in it for me if I would write down my answers and let them be part of their Rama Food Tours. Never one to pass up an opportunity that would allow me to tell people where to eat, I signed on as one of several food writers out in the world who want visitors to their fair cities to know where to find the good and/or interesting places that most tourist guides miss.

    For me, answering the question as to where would I send people was a difficult one to ask, much more challenging than I expected. For one, due to several variables, many of them self-imposed, I could only provide six places to start, with an eye to adding six more when time and opportunity would allow.

    Second, I had to balance the list. It’s no good having several lunch places to go to on the tour, because most people won’t go to all of them. A balance between breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner all had to be weighed against one another.

    Finally, I wanted to send the users of this tour to, yes, visit the more popular tourist locations, but also to get off of the beaten path a bit, and see parts of Seattle that represent the neighborhoods of the city.

    To wrap this all up, all of the places should have an element to them which is quintessentially “Seattle”, as vague and as ambiguous as that idea may be.

    The first six places I have feel right to me, albeit incomplete. I get the tour user to Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, but also send them off to Fremont and Alki. I don’t send them to the best restaurant in the areas, but those which I believe represent a good Seattle experience.

    And yes, this includes getting a cup of coffee at a local coffeehouse, and no, that coffeehouse isn’t owned by the green mermaid.

    I could list each place here, but that would sort of defeat the purpose. Suffice to say, those who use the tour will see a lot of Seattle, and have some good food, and learn a bit about Seattle’s food history.  If you’re interested, feel free to download the Rama application for the iPhone (it will work for the iPad, but it is iPhone specific), and then buy (and hopefully use!!) the Seattle tour.

    99 Drams of Whiskey – Blog Tour Help wanted

    Out of the many excellent suggestions offered in the brainstorming post that was published the other day, the one I can implement nearly immediately is the Blog Tour (mentioned by Amy, Rete, Jeff, and Scott). I’ve talked to the publicity guru at St. Martin’s, and she said she would help out in any way she can.

    But to do this, I need sites who are interested in a) Reading the book, and b) Willing to commit to a post regarding the book.

    So, if you fill these two categories, either comment in this here post, or drop me a line at KateATaccidentalhedonistDOTcom. What you will get in return is a copy of the book, as well as access to…well…me.

    Do you want to do a whiskey review with me on your site? Do you want to interview me? Do you wish to only read the book? Any and all ideas are open for discussion.

    What I need is your name, Website address, and mailing address so that you can get a copy of the book.

    Many thanks in advance.

    99 Drams of Whiskey – Let’s Brainstorm

    Some of the promotional galleys of “99 Drams of Whiskey” are starting to come back, and the book has been getting really nice feedback. Kind words from Kevin Erskine, Peter Krass, and Charles Cowdery have all filtered their way into my inbox.

    “There is so much hype surrounding beverage alcohol products that a writer’s best tool may be his or her BS detector. Kate Hopkins has a good one, but she never lets debunking make her cranky. She is open-minded without being a sucker. 99 Drams is an unexpected and fresh take on whiskey.”

    –Charles K. Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight

    “How can you not want to follow Kate Hopkins on a rollicking adventure that makes it perfectly acceptable to drink whiskey before noon? Her personal narrative remains lively and humorous throughout, with an excellent balance between storytelling, history, and facts. In my mind, her ‘perfect shot’ occurs in a mysterious gift shop in Scottish farm country, from an unmarked bottle filled with an unknown whiskey. This kind of experience and others like it make 99 Drams of Whiskey a great read.”

    –Peter Krass, author of Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel

    Whiskey is part travelogue, part distillery guide, and part history book. It is deeply personal, and told in Kate Hopkins’s humorous, engaging, and inimitable style. Through Kate’s eyes, I found myself looking at whiskey anew.”

    –Kevin Erskine, author of The Instant Expert’s Guide to Single Malt Scotch

    My thanks to these gentlemen, as well as the others who have taken the time to provide both insight and compliments about the book. It’s been a heck of a ride over the past few months.

    What this now means is that it’s full steam ahead to the release date, now scheduled for May 26 – a mere two and a half months away. To say I’m anxious is a massive understatement. And I’m looking for a bit of help in reducing said anxiety.

    First things first however. If you wish to pre-purchase said book, it is now available at most major online retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and even Powell’s. If one is so inclined to see what the above three well respected whiskey writers are talking about, this is your chance.

    I’m also looking for a bit of help. St. Martin’s has been nothing but wonderful in dealing with me and the book. And while they do have promotions lined up, there’s only so much than can do. That leaves it up to me to pick up where their resources end.

    Part of me thought I could go to some third party promoters. But these folks cost money, sometimes more than I think is either respectable or even realistic for a book with a limited market niche. So if the third party promoters are unrealistic for my budget, then what?

    Well then it hit me. Why don’t I just ask you folks for your ideas? Maybe some of you out there have an idea that I haven’t thought of, or have a new take on a path I previously thought of as impractical.

    What would you think would be a good way to promote 99 Drams of Whiskey? Feel free to either leave a comment here in this post or send me an e-mail to kate AT accidentalhedonist DOT com. Any promotional idea I use, I’ll work to get the person who suggested it a free copy of the book. It ain’t much, I realize, but it may be interesting to see if regular folks can do things that the folks at wecanpromoteyourbookfortenthousanddollars.com cannot.


    Read the article where I postulate that food blogs are important, but not that important.

    Yeah, sometimes I like to straddle that middle line.

    The Stranger Calls">When The Stranger Calls

    A few weeks ago, I was approached (via e-mail) by David Schmader. David is an associate editor for Seattle’s alt-weekly The Stranger, one of two weekly tabloids here in the Emerald City. In that e-mail, he asked me if I wanted to write a few restaurant reviews for their humble newspaper.

    My answer to his query can be found here, in the form of a review of Cafe Moose in Ballard.


    Technorati Tags: Food, Restaurants, Restaurant Reviews

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    This is the first time I had been noted by the local Seattle Press. It gave me a warm fuzzy when I found out about it, because I had no idea I would be mentioned.

    From their year-end round up A year of organics, blogs and cheese, glorious cheese, Accidental Hedonist is mentioned as a food blog worth reading.

    6. More and more food blogs: We’re running out of spare time with all the delicious writing that requires a regular read. There are new Seattle-based blogs we really enjoy (www.rootsandgrubs.com), but don’t miss relative old-timer Kate Hopkins’ well-written, thought-provoking, consistently appetizing words at www.accidentalhedonist.com</blockquote>