Some time back, your Chocolate Priestess had a birthday and received a few books. Something you may not know about me is that I've been reviewing books now for different publications and organizations for many years now. When I review a book on here for all of you, Sisters and Brothers, I try to use the same standards as I would for any other publication or site I review on. However here I'll also provide links to the books I'm looking at.
Today I want to talk about the Coe book The True History of Chocolate second edition. Please note that the link below is the the latest edition of the book that I had to update to with changes to the Amazon Affiliate program, by clicking on it, you'll also be helping to support this blog.
This book from Thames & Hudson presents itself as two books in one. First a scholarly look into the history and development of chocolate from the first human use of cacao to the 1990s. However this book is also a work of love. You see, the bulk of the research for this book was done by Sophie D. Coe who passed away before finished that basic work. Her husband, Micahel D. Coe, tried to finish her research and put the book together.
At certain points in the book, recipes, diary entries, advertizements and images are reproduced for us, the reader. If the book did nothing else, collecting such things together would be worthwhile. There are well over 250 drawings and images in the book, several of them color but most are in black and white. Diagrams make the process of creating chocolate more understandable. It was simply fun to see how chocolate has been advertized, praised and demonized over the years. But such reproductions is not a history, merely a collection of information.
I agree there places where the text seems awkward and the conclusions seem based on very limited evidence but over all, I think The True History of Chocolate (Second Edition) is a good book for someone who wants to learn more about the history of cacao and how chocolate was created and developed over the centuries. The book is less that twenty dollars and should entertain and inform you for many hours. You can always follow up on the bibliography if you want further information.