Chocolate . . .
– Its scientific name means “food of the gods.”
– The Aztecs mixed it with blood and gave it to sacrificial victims to drink.
– The entire town of Hershey, Pennsylvania was built by Milton Hershey to support his chocolate factory. Its streetlights are shaped like chocolate Kisses.
– The first men to climb to the top of Mount Everest buried a chocolate bar there as an offering to the gods of the mountain.
– Every twenty-four hours, the U.S. chocolate industry goes through eight million pounds of sugar.
– Its special flavor is created by a combination of 600 to 1000 different chemical compounds
Join science author HP Newquist as he explores chocolate’s fascinating history. Along the way you’ll meet colorful characters like the feathered-serpent god Quetzalcoatl, who gave chocolate trees to the Aztecs; Henri Nestle, who invented milk chocolate while trying to save the lives of babies who couldn’t nurse; and the quarrelsome Mars family, who split into two warring factions, one selling Milky Way, Snickers, and 3 Musketeers bars, the other Mars Bars and M&M’s. From its origin as the sacred, bitter drink of South American rulers to the familiar candy bars sold by today’s multi-million dollar businesses, people everywhere have fallen in love with chocolate, the world’s favorite flavor.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence
School Library Journal Xpress (June 1, 2017)
Gr 9 Up-This comprehensive history of chocolate summarizes its evolution from its origins as a Mesoamerican spicy drink to its contemporary status as the worldwide confection of choice. Much of the book concentrates on the efforts to change that bitter drink into an edible sweet food, describing how entrepreneurs such as John Cadbury and Milton S. Hershey experimented for years to balance ingredients and create processes that resulted in a stable product with mass appeal, making fortunes and sparking development of further goods, such as chocolate chips, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and M & M’s. The passages on the business of chocolate (the formation of corporations, modern factory production, chocolate chemistry, and contemporary trends in chocolate products) are somewhat dry. Newquist discusses European exploitation of the regions where cocoa beans were and are grown and the role of historical and contemporary slavery and the mistreatment of workers in cocoa production but doesn’t explore these themes in depth. Illustrations are small and colorful, mostly consisting of reproductions of period art and advertising for chocolate products. This book is more attractive and positive about chocolate and those who produce it than Kay Frydenborg’s Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat, which includes more coverage of slavery and the environmental and ecological costs of chocolate production. VERDICT Chocolate lovers may nibble at this book, but most won’t consume the entire thing.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO
About the Author
HP Newquist’s books and articles have been published all over the world, and his writing has been translated into languages from kanji to farsi.
All told, he has written more than two dozen books and hundreds of articles, along with numerous awards and citations.
His writing spans a vast array of interests and issues. In the late 1980s and 1990s he wrote extensively about artificial intelligence (AI), compiling a body of work that is arguably the most extensive coverage of the AI business created to date.
Newquist’s books cover the same array of topics as his magazine articles, from brain science and space exploration to legendary guitarists and the strangeness of the Internet. To date, he has written over two dozen books. And he’s already committed to writing many more.
His website is www.newquistbooks.com.
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