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When Arab armies conquered the region, they carried away the knowledge and love of sugar.
It was like throwing paint at a fan: first here, then there, sugar turning up wherever Allah was worshipped.
In reality it was, to no small degree, a hunt for fields where sugarcane would prosper.
In 1425 the Portuguese prince known as Henry the Navigator sent sugarcane to Madeira with an early group of colonists.
High rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease: the legacy, some experts say, of sugar, a crop that brought the ancestors of most Clarksdale residents to this hemisphere in chains.
“We knew we had to do something,” Kirkpatrick principal Suz Anne Walton told me.
Marzipan was the rage, ground almonds and sugar sculpted into outlandish concoctions that demonstrated the wealth of the state.
A 15th-century writer described an entire marzipan mosque commissioned by a caliph. The Arabs perfected sugar refinement and turned it into an industry. The heat of the fields, the flash of the scythes, the smoke of the boiling rooms, the crush of the mills.
In school they call it the age of exploration, the search for territories and islands that would send Europeans all around the world. The Coke machine, the snack machine, the deep fryer.Hoisted and dragged through the halls and out to the curb, they sat with other trash beneath gray, forlorn skies behind Kirkpatrick Elementary, one of a handful of primary schools in Clarksdale, Mississippi.Clarksdale, a big town in one of the fattest counties, in the fattest state, in the fattest industrialized nation in the world, is the bottom of the American drink, where the sugar settles in the bodies of kids like Nick Scurlock—the legacy of sweets in the shape of a boy.
Mosques of Marzipan In the beginning, on the island of New Guinea, where sugarcane was domesticated some 10,000 years ago, people picked cane and ate it raw, chewing a stem until the taste hit their tongue like a starburst.The student body is 91 percent African American, 7 percent white, “and three Latinos”—the remaining 2 percent. Take, for example, Nicholas Scurlock, who had recently begun his first year at Oakhurst Middle School.