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The True History of Chocolate Hardcover – May, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
Michael Coe has taken a book about the history of Theobroma cacao (the chocolate plant) and turned it into an apology for the Aztecs and a bitter diatribe against Spain and, more diffusely, against Europeans in general, and against those benighted slobs who eat chocolate with less than 70% cacao. In the process, he commits many gross errors in scholarship that are severe enough that the critical reader begins to distrust him.
I developed a fascination with the Aztec and the Maya as a very young child and remember reading books about them in the very early 1970's. Even then, European and American scholars recognized that Aztec human sacrifice -- even the sacrifice of little children to Tlaloc in the cornfields -- wasn't carried out in a mood of sadistic glee, but because according to Aztec theology the gods and the sun needed blood in order to live or the universe would be destroyed. Aztec society was highly literate and they were supreme bureacrats, and they themselves documented tens of thousands of human sacrifices. They also documented the extent that royalty had to let their own blood by pulling spiked cords through their lips, and the fact that wars were carried out for the sole purpose of capturing prisoners so that priests could sacrifice them. One does not need to minimize anything about Aztec theology in order to condemn the Spaniards for dehumanizing the Aztecs.Read more ›
When reading another book called: "Food: A Culinary History," we find information on Chocolate telling of how chocolate was "discovered." They basically explain how the Spanish discover chocolate when they colonized the New World and explain how the Aztecs had used chocolate in their rituals.
Which rituals? (You will be shocked)
Who actually first discovered the Theobroma cacao plant/tree or learned how to use the beans (they look a lot like giant almonds in the picture) in the pods (look like an elongated squash) growing directly from the tree trunk? (It wasn't the Aztecs)
Do ungerminated beans have the same flavor as germinated beans?
The story of chocolate is extremely detailed. This book traces the discovery of chocolate from it's earliest pre-Columbian roots to modern times. The way we serve chocolate today almost seems primitive when you read how many ways the Aztecs made their chocolate drinks.
Green Vanilla Flavored Chocolate
Bright Red Chocolate
It is amazing how this book came together as it has, because Sophie D. Coe was diagnosed with cancer before the book was completed. Her husband, Michael D. Coe, took on the responsibility of literally thousands of pages of notes and finished a book she started.
The authors spent hundreds of hours tracing down all possible references to chocolate in Libraries in America and Europe. They also searched in 400-year-old books in the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome.
The story of Chocolate is amazing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good introductory work on the history of chocolate. While the authors could have covered much more, this is a sold beginning for anyone interested in material or food culture.Published 8 days ago by RDD
So many spices were used to flavor chocolate. I want to try them all! Chile and vanilla seem so plain, compared to all the other spices added to chocolate.Published 3 months ago by aiwf
The word "true" suggests we're about to read a cohesive story of what really happened or that there would be some kind of dramatic or even mildly entertaining narrative. Read morePublished 10 months ago by MBS
Yum. This was a neat read on the history of one of my favorite topics.Published 11 months ago by Carolynn L. Parker
As one who works in craft chocolate, I recommend this book wholeheartedly. Informative, engaging and important. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jessica L Ferraro
I thought this book was much stronger in its recitation of the very early history of chocolate in Mesoamerica. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Michael O. Nelson