Prometheus Books they asked if I'd ever read "Chocolate: A Healthy Passion" by Shara Aaron and Monica Bearden. I hadn't and so they sent me a copy. Thus today they are our second Winter Holidays 2012 featured review. Now let's see if Aaron and Bearden also apply a rational and analytical eye to health claims about our Sacred Substance.
The second chapter is all about the history of chocolate and here they a tough audience with this historian. Even though chocolate and the cultures which recognized the cocoa bean and developed ways to use it is not my field of expertise, I've read a fair amount and can apply the rigors of historical research to almost any subject. What I really wanted more was a lot of citation. Yes, there is an annotated bibliography at the end of the book but I need citations of all the events, names, and beliefs that this book discusses. The historical section is not nearly as good as in other books but then this is a book more about health claims than anything else. I would advise removing the history parts of the book and putting more time into evaluating health claims and analyzing scientific studies that are used by candy companies to products goods that simply cannot meet the health benefits because of everything else added to their chocolate.
All issues I may have with the rigor of this book's look into various studies about chocolate, it proves a great introduction to chocolate for the average reader. The large print makes this easy to read for all ages and eyesights and the included recipes appear to be solid and fun to make. If the scientific studies were questioned more and the historical chapters better documented, I'd have no problem giving this a full Sacrament status. As it is, I think it is a good gift for the chocolate lover beginning to learn about the cocoa bean, it's history, and health claims. If you do decide to buy it, please use our links below.