The True History of Chocolateby Sophie D. Coe, Michael D. Coe
Theobroma cacao . . . "the food of the gods." Delicious indulgence or cause of migraine headaches? Aphrodisiac or medicinal tonic? Religious symbol or Mesoamerican currency? This delightful story of one of the world's favorite foods draws upon botany, archaeology, socioeconomics, and culinary history to clear up the ambiguities and minconceptions, presenting for the… See more details below
Theobroma cacao . . . "the food of the gods." Delicious indulgence or cause of migraine headaches? Aphrodisiac or medicinal tonic? Religious symbol or Mesoamerican currency? This delightful story of one of the world's favorite foods draws upon botany, archaeology, socioeconomics, and culinary history to clear up the ambiguities and minconceptions, presenting for the first time a complete and accurate history of chocolate. 100 illustrations, 15 in color.
Instead, the Coes track a prudent and punctilious path through chocolate's beginnings in ancient Meso-America; its transformation during the age of empire and Spanish colonization; its dispersal across Europe; and chocolate's more recent incarnation at "Hershey, the Chocolate Town," a Disney-esque, sweet-toothed theme park in Hershey, Penn., and headquarters of one of the world's leading chocolate manufacturers. Along the way, readers learn about the chemistry of chocolate and survey sundry recipes; appreciate its many ethnic varieties (the Aztecs preferred theirs mixed with ground chilies, "anywhere from mildly pungent to extremely hot"); and probe its social symbolism, first for elites, and now for the rest of us. Drawbacks of the Coes' approach include a plethora of detail, some of it unnecessarily dry, and excessive stretches of information unrelieved by humanizing anecdote. But the lore they offer also includes pleasantly bemusing facts and speculations, such as those surrounding chocolate's etymology. Called "cacahuatl" for a time by Spaniards who encountered it in the New World, the wordand the substancemay have actually raised their hackles: "It is hard to believe that the Spaniards were not thoroughly uncomfortable with a noun beginning with caca to describe a thick, dark brown drink which they had begun to appreciate. They desperately needed some other word."
A carefully researched biography of chocolate as a pleasure and a product.
- Thames & Hudson
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Second Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Sophie D. Coe was an anthropologist and food historian. Her book America's First Cuisines was published in 1994 to universal acclaim.
Michael D. Coe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University. His books include The Maya, Mexico, Breaking the Maya Code, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization, andReading the Maya Glyphs. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
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