Monday, May 24, 2010

Midterm Chocolate: A Crib Sheet

So far in my "Literature and History of Chocolate" class this summer term, we've discussed cacao's botanical origins and pre-Columbian chocolate. Today, we'll discuss European and colonial chocolate. Next, we'll talk about industrial chocolate and contemporary American artisan chocolate, but we have a two-week hiatus for Memorial Day first. If we had a midterm exam, now would be the time to study for it. Of course, this is a non-credit, recreational class without exams or other tests of loyalty. But my students from the Osher Institute at Pitt are so focused and conscientious that I prepared a midterm crib sheet for them, just in case they're planning to study over the break.

Anyone else who's interested is welcome to follow along.

Midterm Crib Sheet

Comprehensive chocolate chronologies:
Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, The True History of Chocolate. Second edition (nonfiction)
James Runcie, The Discovery of Chocolate (fiction)

Elaborations of the chocolate-making process:
The Grenada Chocolate Company flow chart
Valrhona’s bean-to-bar slide show

Mapping cacao’s history and origins:’s interactive world map

Close readings of cacao botany:
Allen Young, The Chocolate Tree
The International Cocoa Organization’s video of a developing cacao pod

Sorting out the chemical and medicinal properties of cacao and chocolate:
Emily Stone, “Health by Chocolate”
Bittersweet Café’s survey of “Health and Chocolate”

Biographies of American chocolate industrialists:
Joël Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars
Michael D’Antonio, Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams

“Chocolate Adventure Narratives”:
Bill Buford, “Extreme Chocolate” (in the New Yorker)
Mort Rosenblum, Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
Paul Richardson: Indulgence: One Man’s Selfless Search for the Best Chocolate in the World
Peter Kaminsky, “Magic Beans”

Anthologies of scholarly articles on chocolate:
Cameron L. McNeil, ed., Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao
Louis E. Grivetti and Howard-Yana Shapiro, eds., Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage

Investigations of the global politics of chocolate:
Carol Off: Bitter Chocolate: The Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet

Further reading on the geopolitics of single ingredients:
Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History
Jack Turner, Spice: The History of a Temptation
Tim Ecott, Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid
Patricia Rain, Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World’s Favorite Flavor and Fragrance
John McPhee, Oranges
Dan Koeppel, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World
To learn more about the intersection of food and politics in Guatemala specifically, see Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (expanded edition), by Stephen E. Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, and Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala, by Edward F. Fischer and Peter Benson.

Discussions of modern food distribution as a product of colonialism and empire:
Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange
Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., “Columbian exchange: plants, animals, and disease between the Old and New World”

Chocolate cookbooks that consider the food’s global, political, economic, and historical contexts:
Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger, Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
Maricel Presilla, The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes. Revised edition.

Guides for the connoisseurs:
Chloé Doutre-Roussel, The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone with a Passion for Chocolate
Clay Gordon, Discover Chocolate: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Tasting, and Enjoying Fine Chocolate

Places to meet other chocolate enthusiasts:
Seventy Percent
The Chocolate Life

Resources for renegade home chocolate makers, working from bean to bar:
Chocolate Alchemy

Bean-to-bar chocolate makers we’ve discussed so far:
Scharffen Berger
El Rey
The Grenada Chocolate Company
Claudio Corallo
Michel Cluizel


Blogger Jim M. said...

I found this nice article about Taza's Mexican chocolate in Salon:

It talks about the processes they omit to bring out the flavor. I think it was my favorite taste in the class.

11:32 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Personalized Chocolate Gifts said...

I always visit this blog and I'm happy to learn new things out of this...thanks! ;-)

3:44 AM GMT-5  

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