The True History of Chocolate

The True History of Chocolate This delightful and best selling tale of one of the world s favorite foods draws upon botany archaeology and culinary history to present a complete and accurate history of chocolate The story begins

  • Title: The True History of Chocolate
  • Author: Sophie D. Coe Michael D. Coe
  • ISBN: 9780500286968
  • Page: 180
  • Format: Hardcover
  • This delightful and best selling tale of one of the world s favorite foods draws upon botany, archaeology, and culinary history to present a complete and accurate history of chocolate.The story begins some 3,000 years ago in the jungles of Mexico and Central America with the chocolate tree, Theobroma Cacao, and the complex processes necessary to transform its bitter seedsThis delightful and best selling tale of one of the world s favorite foods draws upon botany, archaeology, and culinary history to present a complete and accurate history of chocolate.The story begins some 3,000 years ago in the jungles of Mexico and Central America with the chocolate tree, Theobroma Cacao, and the complex processes necessary to transform its bitter seeds into what is now known as chocolate This was centuries before chocolate was consumed in generally unsweetened liquid form and used as currency by the Maya, and the Aztecs after them The Spanish conquest of Central America introduced chocolate to Europe, where it first became the drink of kings and aristocrats and then was popularized in coffeehouses Industrialization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made chocolate a food for the masses, and now, in our own time, it has become once again a luxury item.The second edition draws on recent research and genetic analysis to update the information on the origins of the chocolate tree and early use by the Maya and others, and there is a new section on the medical and nutritional benefits of chocolate.

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      Posted by:Sophie D. Coe Michael D. Coe
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    1 thought on “The True History of Chocolate”

    1. Lets talk chocolate :)This book as been on the shelf for ages so I am glad I finally got round to it. My expectations were a bit too high I'm afraid (Being Belgian it is unsurprising since chocolate is serious business in my country.) At times I was a bit distracted by all that marvellous research put into to the book and just wanted to return to chocolate itself. Which is why it took me longer to finish then I had expected. Anyway its done now and I am glad I read it.

    2. Probably the best book I’ve read yet on the history of a particular substance. Thoroughly researched and referenced, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the history of chocolate. In addition, the authors correct misconceptions and myths, and coming from authors with a speciality on ancient Mesoamerica, they are able to go into extensive detail about the pre-Columbian uses of chocolate which most other books on the subject simply skim over. Easy read, nice flowing style too.7 out of 1 [...]

    3. As with the only other Coe book I've read so far, I give this book 5 stars for the information, 3 stars for the writing (hence, 4 star average).Learning about chocolate is the next best thing to actually eating chocolate, and this book certainly gives the reader many tasty tidbits on which to nibble. Starting with a basic description of the trees themselves (how and where they grow, the different types) and what happens to the beans to get a usable product (fermentation, roasting, etc.), the nar [...]

    4. A very well written and researched exploration of the history of chocolate focusing on its early roots in Mesoamerica and its takeover of Europe. Unfortunately, as the authors point out, many of the original documents, recipes, and information about chocolate from Nahuatl, Maya, Aztec, etc users was destroyed or lost so much of the information is only available second hand from people who didn't speak the language, didn't care to learn about the culture, or were missionaries or apologists for co [...]

    5. An absolutely fascinating exploration of the history of chocolate, from its Mayan "origins" to pre-conquest Aztecs, through to its co-opting by Spain and other European powers as a consumable delicacy for the wealthy and powerful alone. How it was consumed and why, how it was as much as status symbol as a medicinal is also covered. Over time, the consumption of chocolate and its marketing and production changed until its "dark" origins and the involvement of slaves and now child labour on planta [...]

    6. This book was chalk full of facts and information, but Coe's writing style left something to be desired. It was too academic; often lacking clarity and coherence. In his introduction Coe indicates that he wrote this book based on the research and notes of his late wife, Sophia, who passed away unexpectedly from cancer. Thus, he's writing this book as a sort of tribute to his wife. I think that's sweet (no pun intended).The first two chapters about chocolate in the Mayan and Aztec culture were wo [...]

    7. This is not only a history of chocolate, but a slice of history of the area from which it originated (Mesoamerica) the Aztecs and then the history of how chocolate came to Europe, North America and so forth. There are recipes for hot chocolate from the 18th century included. I have tried a couple. Let me tell you! This is not your powdered chocolate mix that you buy in the supermarket or at Trader Joe's. Those powders are milk/sugar based. And I will not go back to drinking a cup of that stuff b [...]

    8. from the Mayas to Mars barsStarting off with a "chemical kaleidescope" of chocolate itself, we read progressively about the distant origins of the cacao tree in South America and then in Mesoamerica. Cacao became one of the most important crops among the Maya, Toltec, Aztec and other Indian peoples, used as a drink (without sugar) by the elites. Cacao beans were used as money, a practice which continued after the Spanish conquest. In a most readable, interesting style, Coe takes us through the h [...]

    9. Oh, divine chocolate! They grind thee kneeling, beat thee with hands praying, and drink thee with eyes to heaven. -Marco Antonio OrellanaThis sometimes fun history of chocolate begins with the Maya, who drank chocolate warm and spiced, and ends in the ironic tale of Maya Gold, Green & Black's chocolate bar found in stores today with the cacao from Mayan farmers. The first few chapters are slow going. But this modern world history teacher couldn't put the book down once the manner which choco [...]

    10. This book is a comprehensive study of the history of chocolate. The authors are academics and the book reads as such. It can be a bit dry, but if you are keen, there is much to learn about the cultural and political importance of chocolate from the Aztecs and Mayans to the elite of Boroque Europe, the slave trade and the spread of the drink around the globe to the post-industrial revolution inventions by Nestle, Cadbury, Hershey, etc. even Green & Blacks. If you are a chocoholic or a history [...]

    11. The True History of Chocolate, now in it's 3rd edition, gives a very full history of the cacao tree and it's fruit seeds which we use today to make all the chocolate items desired by the masses. Drs. Coe have written an entertaining, accessible, history book which begins with discussion of cacao from its early days as a form of money for the natives of Central and South America. The way that cacao is particularly intertwined with the author's expertise in Mesoamerican history makes this a must r [...]

    12. This book is a monster (transcribing it into braille was, anyhow). The Coes did a great job at harvesting all existing knowledge about chocolate (ancient past, recent past, and present) into one volume. I believe this is a vast reliable resource on the subject if you are looking for this kind of thing. As this book was assigned for me to transcribe, it wasn't anywhere near my first pick of books, but I must say I enjoyed the read! I learned a lot of semi-useless information albeit interesting. I [...]

    13. I was taught history in the most boring fashion possible as if all people ever did was fight wars and build and lose empires. So I love reading these kinds of histories that actually give you a sense of what life was really like for the people themselves at various ages.I give this 3 stars for content but 2 for writing. It is an interesting story but it is written by two anthropologists and isn't as accessible as others I've read in this genre. Lots of "we shall return to this subject later" and [...]

    14. If you like cultural anthropology and you like chocolate, then you will like this book.It reads like a thesis on chocolate, but this is not a bad thing. In fact, it makes it all the more valid and interesting. Included are several pages of references so you, too, can continue your knowledge of this wonderful plant product.I would say this book is more geared for those scientifically inclined, but the history of chocolate's spread throughout the world is still a good read for anyone.

    15. This was a really thorough history of chocolate. It had more of an anthropological perspective which I really enjoyed. I definitely feel like I have learned a lot more about the history of chocolate and the history of the Mayans too.

    16. On my reading list for ages, this book is filled with interesting facts and historical information, which was what I was expecting. For my taste, though, the style was a little too academic (with constant cross referencing and dealing with individual cultures in different chapters, rather than blending themes).I am pleased to have read it, but was left feeling a little wanting at the end.

    17. From the French Revolution to the present, only brief bits of chocolate history is touched upon, nowhere is the detail displayed previously in all the other chapters. The last chapter was disappointing and unsatisfying, as if the author was tired of writing and just wanted the book to be completed.

    18. I'm particularly into Latin American history and the indigenous cultures of the "new world". This book is legit! The Coes, who are well respected anthropologists have an outstanding amount of knowledge between them and therefore an amazing story to tell. The book was written with passion and solid research which is well backed up with verifiable references.For anyone who is interested in chocolate, Mesoamerica, the conqueistadors, commodities and trading, or good, well written non-fiction books [...]

    19. An epic tale of the history, culinary use, and culture surrounding chocolate. The book starts with the humble cacao tree, found in the tropics of Mexico and Central America, whose cacao fruit was picked and transformed into chocolate, a drink for the royalty. The Spanish eventually brought chocolate and its method of preparation back to Spain where it soon spread across Europe and the US. A thoroughly research book, I was entranced by the history and story of one my favorite foods.

    20. Before I read this book I didn't know much about the origin of one of my most favorite treats: chocolate.The authors spend a very large portion of the book talking about chocolate's very early history in Central America. Contrary to popular belief, the Aztecs didn't invent chocolate, although the drank lots of it. Earlier civilizations, like the Mayans and Olmecs can be credited with the invention of chocolate, although not in a form we would probably recognize today. All the early Central Ameri [...]

    21. written by a husband and wife whose last name is Coe. yes, Coe-Coe wrote this history about cocoa. the story of this book is bittersweet because the wife, who was the original author, died before she could complete it and her husband took over and finished it.fantastic history. history the way it should be done always with lots of facts couched in self-aware acknowledgment of where those facts came from mixed with a wry sense of humor. too often, historians tend to write dryly from some sense of [...]

    22. It's a pity this book had such a stilted and old-fashioned style, because it could have been a very good book otherwise. Probably two thirds of the book is detailed, scholarly history of chocolate in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and its slow introduction into Europe after discovery (that is, conquest) of the New World. The story of development of chocolate from drink to food was not nearly so richly explained, and the end of the book feels quite rushed. Unfortunately, the book's tone in straight fr [...]

    23. Some of the Maya and Aztec info is in her earlier book on Mesoamerican cuisine, but there is enough extra material that I didn't feel like I was just rereading something previously published. The first third of the book focuses on the history of chocolate in America, up to the Conquest. Then the focus shifts to Europe and how chocolate was introduced there. Finally, the last chapter focuses on modern chocolate manufacture as well as the recent rise in gourmet chocolate. The Coes include a quick [...]

    24. An excellent read that covers "the bean" from it's original use by mesoamericans to today's high end and fair trade producers. This book gives a fascinating look at how cocoa has been used and viewed through out history. Originally viewed as a delicacy for the affluent, them viewed as a medical tool and finally as an everyman's treat. I would have liked a little more on the business of chocolate and the science of how a lowly not particularly good tasting bean (we all tried tasting that baking c [...]

    25. In the forward to this book. the author lets us know that he wrote this book at the request of his wife who tragically became ill with cancer and died after having done extensive research for it.It explains to us the new world origins of chocolate and how the Maya and Aztecs enjoyed it(always in drink form and never with sugar). We learn how the Spaniards brought it to Europe and how it traveled from there. We are also told how chocolate use fit into the medical and religious theories of the day [...]

    26. A great history of my favorite food -- chocolate. I love it that so much of the history centers in the part of the world in which I am currently living. I have great interests in foods that are found throughout the world but expressed in different ways: chocolate, coffee, tea, wine, rice, etc. Learning their histories is a way of learning about cultures and values throughout the world. This book was well written and included a bit of the authors´ personalities which is always a welcome element [...]

    27. A thoroughly intriguing and accurate portrayal of chocolate's usage throughout the ages, from ancient Mayan cities to the courts of Europe and beyond. I liked the inclusion of old recipes but was always much more fascinated by the beliefs surrounding chocolate, which ranged from hysterical blame for it being responsible for disease or babies being born black (hint: someone must have used this as an excuse at some point when the father was not exactly Caucasian) to it being a cure all for disease [...]

    28. An excellent and very readable look at the early history of chocolate consumption with attention paid to the evolution of words associated with the famous drink and a host of other details. The Coes clearly focus on their own field of interest (the Maya, as both were anthropologists). I was disappointed by the thinness of the later chapters, those dealing with chocolate after it went global.

    29. Although chocolate and its history is a very interesting subject, the writing was on the academic side--not as gripping or as entertaining as Mark Kurlansky's writing. To be fair, the project was completed by the author's husband after she died which may explain this tone. Found the details on the Jesuit involvement of particular interest. Have to admit, I am an even more dedicated chocolate fanatic after reading this!

    30. The good news: I learned all kinds of things about the early history of Central and South America that I did not know. Also, I spent an awful lot of time craving hot chocolate. But with the new found my knowledge that my familiar hot chocolate is far too sweet and milky to resemble anything like the original chocolate beverage.The bad news? The writing style is often more than a bit dry. Riveting reading it is not.

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