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A Dark History of Sugar with Neil Buttery & Emma Kay Part 1
Episode 67th May 2022 • The British Food History Podcast • Neil Buttery
00:00:00 00:41:31

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Neil is a guest on his own podcast talking about the dark history of sugar. He’s interviewed by friend of the show, and previous guest, author and food historian Emma Kay.

In part 1 of this 2 part interview, we talk about the evolutionary reasons about why we love sugar so much, sugar’s origins and subsequent spread by the Muslim Empire and then the Crusading knights, ending up finally in the New World. We focus on the English in the 17th century: how they got in on the sugar trade, their life on the sugar plantations, the sugar making process and the terrible conditions in which the slaves were forced to work. We also discuss how the English subjugated their sugar slaves and how the slaves found ways to empower themselves.


Neil’s book A Dark History of Sugar is out now, published by Pen & Sword; if you are quick you can still get an early bird 25% discount:

It is available, of course, to buy at all other bookshops.

Emma’s book A Dark History of Chocolate was published by Pen & Sword History in 2021:

Emma’s new book A History of Herbalism will be published by Pen & Sword History in June 2022:

Follow Emma on Twitter @MuseumofKitchen and on Instagram @museumofkitchenalia, or visit her website:

Also, don’t forget if you have any questions or queries about today’s episode, or indeed any episode, or have a question about the history of British food please email me at, or find me on twitter @neilbuttery, or Instagram dr_neil_buttery.


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