Catalogue


Chocolate in Mesoamerica : a cultural history of cacao /
edited by Cameron L. McNeil ; foreword by Diane Z. Chase and Arlen F. Chase.
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2006.
description
xvi, 542 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0813029538 (alk. paper), 9780813029535 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
series title
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2006.
isbn
0813029538 (alk. paper)
9780813029535 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
6106267
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [451]-514) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-01-01:
Editor McNeil presents a unique, extremely useful collection on chocolate use in Mesoamerica that sets a standard to follow in the expanding field of cultural food studies. While McNeil comes from an anthropological background, essay authors are drawn from a wide variety of disciplines, including art history, botany, conservation biology, archaeology, and history. The result is a tediously researched and documented collection of essays exploring cacao and its history, uses, characteristics, and significance from exhaustive multiple perspectives. Although the multidisciplinary nature of the essays can leave both students and scholars struggling with some of the jargon, the benefits of the varied approaches and contributions far outweigh the challenges of reading works with such disparate methodologies. The unique and perhaps most beneficial element is the inclusion of purely scientific approaches to inform and support cultural analysis, a rarely seen tool in cultural analysis works. Similar future effort should follow the lead set by this collection and draw from all available fields of evidence, as the result is thorough and convincing. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. Kowtko Spokane Community College
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2008
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Summaries
Main Description
New models of research and analysis, as well as breakthroughs in deciphering Mesoamerican writing, have recently produced a watershed of information on the regional use and importance of cacao, or chocolate as it is commonly called today. McNeil brings together scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, art history, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to explore the domestication, preparation, representation, and significance of cacao in ancient and modern communities of the Americas, with a concentration on its use in Mesoamerica. Cacao was used by many cultures in the pre-Columbian Americas as an important part of rituals associated with birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, and was strongly linked with concepts of power and rulership. While Europeans have for hundreds of years claimed that they introduced “chocolate” as a sauce for foods, evidence from ancient royal tombs indicates cacao was used in a range of foods as well as beverages in ancient times. In addition, the volume’s authors present information that supports a greater importance for cacao in pre-Columbian South America, where ancient vessels depicting cacao pods have recently been identified. From the botanical structure and chemical makeup of Theobroma cacaoand methods of identifying it in the archaeological record, to the importance of cacao during the Classic period in Mesoamerica, to the impact of European arrival on the production and use of cacao, to contemporary uses in the Americas, this volume provides a richly informed account of the history and cultural significance of chocolate.
Description for Bookstore
"A monumental contribution to the study of a plant food of basic importance from pre-Columbian times to the present in the Americas and now the world. . . . It will be the baseline for studies of chocolate in the Americas and the world for the foreseeable future.-RenÉ Millon, professor emeritus, University of Rochester New models of research and analysis, as well as breakthroughs in deciphering Mesoamerican writing, have recently produced a watershed of information on the regional use and importance of cacao, or chocolate as it is commonly called today. McNeil brings together scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, art history, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to explore the domestication, preparation, representation, and significance of cacao in ancient and modern communities of the Americas, with a concentration on its use in Mesoamerica. Cacao was used by many cultures in the pre-Columbian Americas as an important part of rituals associated with birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, and was strongly linked with concepts of power and rulership. While Europeans have for hundreds of years claimed that they introduced "chocolate" as a sauce for foods, evidence from ancient royal tombs indicates cacao was used in a range of foods as well as beverages in ancient times. In addition, the volume's authors present information that supports a greater importance for cacao in pre-Columbian South America, where ancient vessels depicting cacao pods have recently been identified. From the botanical structure and chemical makeup ofTheobroma cacaoand methods of identifying it in the archaeological record, to the importance of cacao during the Classic period in Mesoamerica, to the impact of European arrival on the production and use of cacao, to contemporary uses in the Americas, this volume provides a richly informed account of the history and cultural significance of chocolate.
Main Description
New models of research and analysis, as well as breakthroughs in deciphering Mesoamerican writing, have recently produced a watershed of information on the regional use and importance of cacao, or chocolate as it is commonly called today. McNeil brings together scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, art history, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to explore the domestication, preparation, representation, and significance of cacao in ancient and modern communities of the Americas, with a concentration on its use in Mesoamerica. Cacao was used by many cultures in the pre-Columbian Americas as an important part of rituals associated with birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, and was strongly linked with concepts of power and rulership. While Europeans have for hundreds of years claimed that they introduced "chocolate" as a sauce for foods, evidence from ancient royal tombs indicates cacao was used in a range of foods as well as beverages in ancient times. In addition, the volume's authors present information that supports a greater importance for cacao in pre-Columbian South America, where ancient vessels depicting cacao pods have recently been identified. From the botanical structure and chemical makeup ofTheobroma cacaoand methods of identifying it in the archaeological record, to the importance of cacao during the Classic period in Mesoamerica, to the impact of European arrival on the production and use of cacao, to contemporary uses in the Americas, this volume provides a richly informed account of the history and cultural significance of chocolate.
Description for Bookstore
“A monumental contribution to the study of a plant food of basic importance from pre-Columbian times to the present in the Americas and now the world. . . . It will be the baseline for studies of chocolate in the Americas and the world for the foreseeable future.-Ren Millon, professor emeritus, University of Rochester New models of research and analysis, as well as breakthroughs in deciphering Mesoamerican writing, have recently produced a watershed of information on the regional use and importance of cacao, or chocolate as it is commonly called today. McNeil brings together scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, art history, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to explore the domestication, preparation, representation, and significance of cacao in ancient and modern communities of the Americas, with a concentration on its use in Mesoamerica. Cacao was used by many cultures in the pre-Columbian Americas as an important part of rituals associated with birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, and was strongly linked with concepts of power and rulership. While Europeans have for hundreds of years claimed that they introduced “chocolate” as a sauce for foods, evidence from ancient royal tombs indicates cacao was used in a range of foods as well as beverages in ancient times. In addition, the volume’s authors present information that supports a greater importance for cacao in pre-Columbian South America, where ancient vessels depicting cacao pods have recently been identified. From the botanical structure and chemical makeup of Theobroma cacaoand methods of identifying it in the archaeological record, to the importance of cacao during the Classic period in Mesoamerica, to the impact of European arrival on the production and use of cacao, to contemporary uses in the Americas, this volume provides a richly informed account of the history and cultural significance of chocolate.
Description for Bookstore
"A monumental contribution to the study of a plant food of basic importance from pre-Columbian times to the present in the Americas and now the world. . . . It will be the baseline for studies of chocolate in the Americas and the world for the foreseeable future.-René Millon, professor emeritus, University of Rochester New models of research and analysis, as well as breakthroughs in deciphering Mesoamerican writing, have recently produced a watershed of information on the regional use and importance of cacao, or chocolate as it is commonly called today. McNeil brings together scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, art history, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to explore the domestication, preparation, representation, and significance of cacao in ancient and modern communities of the Americas, with a concentration on its use in Mesoamerica. Cacao was used by many cultures in the pre-Columbian Americas as an important part of rituals associated with birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, and was strongly linked with concepts of power and rulership. While Europeans have for hundreds of years claimed that they introduced "chocolate" as a sauce for foods, evidence from ancient royal tombs indicates cacao was used in a range of foods as well as beverages in ancient times. In addition, the volume's authors present information that supports a greater importance for cacao in pre-Columbian South America, where ancient vessels depicting cacao pods have recently been identified. From the botanical structure and chemical makeup of Theobroma cacaoand methods of identifying it in the archaeological record, to the importance of cacao during the Classic period in Mesoamerica, to the impact of European arrival on the production and use of cacao, to contemporary uses in the Americas, this volume provides a richly informed account of the history and cultural significance of chocolate.
Table of Contents
Introduction : the biology, antiquity, and modern uses of the chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao L.)p. 1
Evolution, domestication, chemistry, and identification of cacao and its close relatives
Cacao and its relatives in South America : an overview of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, chemistry, and ethnobotanyp. 31
The domestication and distribution of Theobroma cacao L. in the neotropicsp. 69
The jaguar tree (Theobroma bicolor Bonpl.)p. 90
The determination of cacao in samples of archaeological interestp. 105
Cacao in pre-Columbian cultures
The history of the word for 'cacao' and related terms in ancient Meso-Americap. 117
Brewing distinction : the development of cacao beverages in formative Mesoamericap. 140
Cacao in ancient Maya religion : first fruit from the maize tree and other tales from the underworldp. 154
The language of chocolate : references to cacao on classic Maya drinking vesselsp. 184
The social context of Kakaw drinking among the ancient Mayap. 202
The use and representation of cacao during the classic period at Copan, Hondurasp. 224
Cacao in Greater Nicoya : ethnohistory and a unique traditionp. 253
Cacao in the colonial period
The good and evil of chocolate in colonial Mexicop. 273
The Itza Maya control over cacao : politics, commerce, and war in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuriesp. 289
Cacao production, tribute, and wealth in sixteenth-century Izalcos, El Salvadorp. 307
Soconusco cacao farmers past and present : continuity and change in an ancient way of lifep. 322
Mesoamerican cacao use in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
Traditional cacao use in modern Mesoamericap. 341
Cacao, gender, and the Northern Lacandon God Housep. 367
Food for the rain gods : cacao in Ch'orti' ritualp. 384
Cacao in the Yukatek Maya healing ceremonies of Don Pedro Ucan Itzap. 408
From chocolate pots to Maya gold : Belizean cacao farmers through the agesp. 429
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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