View Exhibit

Bill Hook Sugarcane Knife

Display: Sweet Inventions
Culinary Technique: separation

Date: c. 1960

Location: Cuba

Dimensions: 1.5" h x 5.5" w x 20" d

Watch collection donor Mel Mickevic demonstrate this object with
Dean Christopher Koetke, School of Culinary Arts, Kendall College,
and Victoria Matranga, exhibition curator.

This knife tells a story of global economics. Technology influences the availability and price of commodities such as sugar. In the mid-19th century, the sugar beet, a much hardier plant than sugarcane, became an important crop. By the 1880s, it could be grown in most of the United States, and it replaced imported cane from the tropics, resulting in lower prices, the creation of new confectionary equipment and products, and a dramatic rise in sugar consumption.