Books for Cooks
Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods
Sacred and tasty
For centuries, it has captivated humans and gods. It's been associated with worship, commerce, romance and comfort. But why has it so completely seduced the world? Just what's so special about chocolate?
Meredith L. Dreiss and Sharon Edgar Greenhill travel back in time to Mesoamerica to answer these questions. Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods first began as a documentary film from which much of the information in the book was compiled. The authors weave together chocolate's fascinating journey with images from all over Central America.
The book focuses on the Mayan connection to everyone's favorite confection, revealing through brilliant photographs and archaeological evidence just how prized cacao was to these ancient people. Dreiss and Greenhill piece together bits of unearthed ancient Mayan culture and bring to life the world's first chocolate obsession. From religious rituals and human sacrifices to healing and trading, chocolate seems to always play a part.
Dreiss and Greenhill piece together bits of unearthed ancient Mayan culture and bring to life the world's first chocolate obsession.
The authors also decode ancient mythology, glyphic texts and colonial accounts to tell chocolate's story. They use a stunning array of artifacts to document and chronicle the Mayan chocolate tradition. Photos of the artifacts discussed are carefully linked to passages in the book. The visual nature of an otherwise complex and massive history lends a certain tangibility, which allows even casual readers to more firmly grasp cacao's role in the ancient world.
Dreiss and Greenhill go on to link the past to present by discussing chocolate's place in the modern world. Issues such as biodiversity, deforestation and global warming are tackled. Current environmental concerns are tied to ancient Mesoamericans' striving for “cosmic balance,” a sort of ancient environmental movement. By explaining cacao's place in the ecosystem, chocolate's relevance goes beyond simply something everybody likes to something the world truly needs.
Well-written, informative and enlightening, Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods lets chocoholics and history buffs alike take a bite out of 3,500 years of chocolate-covered history.