By Cameron L. McNeil
"A enormous contribution to the examine of a plant foodstuff of uncomplicated significance from pre-Columbian instances to the current within the Americas and now the realm. . . . it is going to be the baseline for stories of chocolate within the Americas and the realm for the foreseeable future."—Rene Millon, professor emeritus, collage of Rochester
New types of analysis and research, in addition to breakthroughs in interpreting Mesoamerican writing, have lately produced a watershed of knowledge at the local use and value of cacao, or chocolate because it is usually referred to as this day. McNeil brings jointly students within the fields of archaeology, heritage, paintings heritage, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to discover the domestication, training, illustration, and value of cacao in old and glossy groups of the Americas, with a focus on its use in Mesoamerica.
Cacao used to be utilized by many cultures within the pre-Columbian Americas as an enormous a part of rituals linked to beginning, coming of age, marriage, and loss of life, and used to be strongly associated with recommendations of strength and rulership. whereas Europeans have for centuries claimed that they brought "chocolate" as a sauce for meals, facts from historical royal tombs shows cacao was once utilized in more than a few meals in addition to drinks in precedent days. moreover, the volume's authors current details that helps a better significance for cacao in pre-Columbian South the United States, the place historical vessels depicting cacao pods have lately been identified.
From the botanical constitution and chemical make-up of Theobroma cacao and strategies of opting for it within the archaeological checklist, to the significance of cacao throughout the vintage interval in Mesoamerica, to the effect of ecu arrival at the construction and use of cacao, to modern makes use of within the Americas, this quantity presents a richly trained account of the historical past and cultural importance of chocolate.
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Extra info for Chocolate in Mesoamerica: a cultural history of cacao
15, this volume) (Chinchilla Mazariegos 2005; McNeil, Hurst, and Sharer, this volume). Various modern myths and practices also link women to cacao (see this volume: Faust and Hirose López; Kufer and Heinrich; McNeil, Chapter 17; Pugh). Cacao was also associated with blood and sacrifice in the pre-Columbian period. For Mesoamerican peoples, blood was an important offering to the gods. Not only were animals sacrificed, but people—particularly elites and rulers—offered their own blood and that of human captives (Nájera C.
2 Cacao and Its Relatives in South America An Overview of Taxonomy, Ecology, Biogeography, Chemistry, and Ethnobotany Nathaniel Bletter and Douglas C. Daly Cacao belongs to an almost exclusively South American group of about forty species of small trees in the closely related genera Theobroma and Herrania. Along with the rest of the family Sterculiaceae, these genera have recently been subsumed into the larger Malvaceae family (Soltis et al. ), and the durian fruit of Southeast Asia (Durio zibethinus Rumph.
He writes, “According to a Ladino in Jocotan, the Indians would come early in the morning on market days to his house, buy seeds from him or exchange other goods, principally maize, and use the seeds later in that day in the plaza as a medium of exchange in buying from other Indians” (Wisdom 1940:34, ft. 16). Charles Wagley wrote in 1949 that cacao seeds were formerly exchanged in marriage ceremonies in the town of Santiago Chimaltenango, Guatemala, but that along with other traditional ritual gifts, they were no longer offered because the people had become too poor (Wagley 1949:129).
Chocolate in Mesoamerica: a cultural history of cacao by Cameron L. McNeil