full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Deanna Pucciarelli: The history of chocolate

Unscramble the Blue Letters

If you can't imagine life without chocolate, you're lucky you weren't born before the 16th century. Until then, chocolate only existed in Mesoamerica in a form quite different from what we know. As far back as 1900 BCE, the people of that region had learned to prepare the bneas of the native cacao tree. The earliest records tell us the beans were ground and mxied with cornmeal and chili peppers to create a drink - not a relaxing cup of hot cocoa, but a biettr, invigorating concoction frothing with foam. And if you thought we make a big deal about chocolate toady, the Mesoamericans had us beat. They believed that cacao was a heavenly food gifted to humans by a feathered serpent god, known to the Maya as Kukulkan and to the Aztecs as qauelzottcal. Aztecs used cacao beans as currency and drank chocolate at royal feasts, gave it to soldiers as a reward for success in battle, and used it in rituals. The first transatlantic chocolate encounter occurred in 1519 when Hernán Cortés visited the court of Moctezuma at Tenochtitlan. As recorded by Cortés's lieutenant, the king had 50 jugs of the drink brought out and poured into golden cups. When the cnisotols rnetreud with shipments of the strange new bean, missionaries' salacious accounts of native customs gave it a reputation as an aphrodisiac. At first, its bitter taste made it suitable as a medicine for ailments, like upset stomachs, but snnewetieg it with heony, sagur, or vanilla quickly made chocolate a ppoluar delicacy in the Spanish court. And soon, no aristocratic home was complete without dedicated chocolate ware. The fashionable drnik was difficult and time consuming to produce on a large scale. That involved using plantations and imported slave labor in the Caribbean and on islands off the coast of Africa. The wolrd of cltoachoe would cghane forever in 1828 with the introduction of the cocoa psers by Coenraad van Houten of Amsterdam. Van Houten's invention could separate the cocoa's natural fat, or cocoa butter. This left a powder that could be mixed into a drinkable solution or recombined with the cooca bettur to cartee the solid chocolate we know today. Not long after, a Swiss chocolatier named Daniel Peter added powdered milk to the mix, thus inventing milk chocolate. By the 20th century, chocolate was no longer an eilte luruxy but had become a treat for the public. Meeting the massive demand required more cultivation of cocoa, which can only grow near the equator. Now, instead of aiarcfn slaves being shipped to South arcmeian cocoa poilttnaans, cocoa production itself would shift to West Africa with Cote d'Ivoire providing two-fifths of the world's cocoa as of 2015. Yet along with the growth of the industry, there have been horrific abuses of human rights. Many of the plantations throughout West aicfra, which supply Western comeiapns, use slave and child lbaor, with an estimation of more than 2 million children affceetd. This is a complex problem that persists despite efforts from moajr chocolate companies to partner with African nations to reduce child and indentured labor practices. Today, chocolate has established itself in the rituals of our modern culture. Due to its colonial association with native cultures, combined with the peowr of adisntiervg, chocolate retains an aura of something sensual, ddnceaet, and forbidden. Yet knowing more about its fatiascinng and often cruel history, as well as its production today, tells us where these associations oitrgniae and what they hide. So as you uawrnp your next bar of chocolate, take a moment to consider that not everything about chocolate is sweet.

Open Cloze

If you can't imagine life without chocolate, you're lucky you weren't born before the 16th century. Until then, chocolate only existed in Mesoamerica in a form quite different from what we know. As far back as 1900 BCE, the people of that region had learned to prepare the _____ of the native cacao tree. The earliest records tell us the beans were ground and _____ with cornmeal and chili peppers to create a drink - not a relaxing cup of hot cocoa, but a ______, invigorating concoction frothing with foam. And if you thought we make a big deal about chocolate _____, the Mesoamericans had us beat. They believed that cacao was a heavenly food gifted to humans by a feathered serpent god, known to the Maya as Kukulkan and to the Aztecs as ____________. Aztecs used cacao beans as currency and drank chocolate at royal feasts, gave it to soldiers as a reward for success in battle, and used it in rituals. The first transatlantic chocolate encounter occurred in 1519 when Hernán Cortés visited the court of Moctezuma at Tenochtitlan. As recorded by Cortés's lieutenant, the king had 50 jugs of the drink brought out and poured into golden cups. When the _________ ________ with shipments of the strange new bean, missionaries' salacious accounts of native customs gave it a reputation as an aphrodisiac. At first, its bitter taste made it suitable as a medicine for ailments, like upset stomachs, but __________ it with _____, _____, or vanilla quickly made chocolate a _______ delicacy in the Spanish court. And soon, no aristocratic home was complete without dedicated chocolate ware. The fashionable _____ was difficult and time consuming to produce on a large scale. That involved using plantations and imported slave labor in the Caribbean and on islands off the coast of Africa. The _____ of _________ would ______ forever in 1828 with the introduction of the cocoa _____ by Coenraad van Houten of Amsterdam. Van Houten's invention could separate the cocoa's natural fat, or cocoa butter. This left a powder that could be mixed into a drinkable solution or recombined with the _____ ______ to ______ the solid chocolate we know today. Not long after, a Swiss chocolatier named Daniel Peter added powdered milk to the mix, thus inventing milk chocolate. By the 20th century, chocolate was no longer an _____ ______ but had become a treat for the public. Meeting the massive demand required more cultivation of cocoa, which can only grow near the equator. Now, instead of _______ slaves being shipped to South ________ cocoa ___________, cocoa production itself would shift to West Africa with Cote d'Ivoire providing two-fifths of the world's cocoa as of 2015. Yet along with the growth of the industry, there have been horrific abuses of human rights. Many of the plantations throughout West ______, which supply Western _________, use slave and child _____, with an estimation of more than 2 million children ________. This is a complex problem that persists despite efforts from _____ chocolate companies to partner with African nations to reduce child and indentured labor practices. Today, chocolate has established itself in the rituals of our modern culture. Due to its colonial association with native cultures, combined with the _____ of ___________, chocolate retains an aura of something sensual, ________, and forbidden. Yet knowing more about its ___________ and often cruel history, as well as its production today, tells us where these associations _________ and what they hide. So as you ______ your next bar of chocolate, take a moment to consider that not everything about chocolate is sweet.

Solution

  1. african
  2. drink
  3. africa
  4. world
  5. affected
  6. returned
  7. major
  8. plantations
  9. today
  10. change
  11. butter
  12. luxury
  13. sugar
  14. honey
  15. power
  16. colonists
  17. quetzalcoatl
  18. elite
  19. sweetening
  20. american
  21. mixed
  22. cocoa
  23. advertising
  24. bitter
  25. companies
  26. unwrap
  27. decadent
  28. press
  29. popular
  30. labor
  31. create
  32. chocolate
  33. beans
  34. originate
  35. fascinating

Original Text

If you can't imagine life without chocolate, you're lucky you weren't born before the 16th century. Until then, chocolate only existed in Mesoamerica in a form quite different from what we know. As far back as 1900 BCE, the people of that region had learned to prepare the beans of the native cacao tree. The earliest records tell us the beans were ground and mixed with cornmeal and chili peppers to create a drink - not a relaxing cup of hot cocoa, but a bitter, invigorating concoction frothing with foam. And if you thought we make a big deal about chocolate today, the Mesoamericans had us beat. They believed that cacao was a heavenly food gifted to humans by a feathered serpent god, known to the Maya as Kukulkan and to the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl. Aztecs used cacao beans as currency and drank chocolate at royal feasts, gave it to soldiers as a reward for success in battle, and used it in rituals. The first transatlantic chocolate encounter occurred in 1519 when Hernán Cortés visited the court of Moctezuma at Tenochtitlan. As recorded by Cortés's lieutenant, the king had 50 jugs of the drink brought out and poured into golden cups. When the colonists returned with shipments of the strange new bean, missionaries' salacious accounts of native customs gave it a reputation as an aphrodisiac. At first, its bitter taste made it suitable as a medicine for ailments, like upset stomachs, but sweetening it with honey, sugar, or vanilla quickly made chocolate a popular delicacy in the Spanish court. And soon, no aristocratic home was complete without dedicated chocolate ware. The fashionable drink was difficult and time consuming to produce on a large scale. That involved using plantations and imported slave labor in the Caribbean and on islands off the coast of Africa. The world of chocolate would change forever in 1828 with the introduction of the cocoa press by Coenraad van Houten of Amsterdam. Van Houten's invention could separate the cocoa's natural fat, or cocoa butter. This left a powder that could be mixed into a drinkable solution or recombined with the cocoa butter to create the solid chocolate we know today. Not long after, a Swiss chocolatier named Daniel Peter added powdered milk to the mix, thus inventing milk chocolate. By the 20th century, chocolate was no longer an elite luxury but had become a treat for the public. Meeting the massive demand required more cultivation of cocoa, which can only grow near the equator. Now, instead of African slaves being shipped to South American cocoa plantations, cocoa production itself would shift to West Africa with Cote d'Ivoire providing two-fifths of the world's cocoa as of 2015. Yet along with the growth of the industry, there have been horrific abuses of human rights. Many of the plantations throughout West Africa, which supply Western companies, use slave and child labor, with an estimation of more than 2 million children affected. This is a complex problem that persists despite efforts from major chocolate companies to partner with African nations to reduce child and indentured labor practices. Today, chocolate has established itself in the rituals of our modern culture. Due to its colonial association with native cultures, combined with the power of advertising, chocolate retains an aura of something sensual, decadent, and forbidden. Yet knowing more about its fascinating and often cruel history, as well as its production today, tells us where these associations originate and what they hide. So as you unwrap your next bar of chocolate, take a moment to consider that not everything about chocolate is sweet.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
cocoa butter 2

Important Words

  1. abuses
  2. accounts
  3. added
  4. advertising
  5. affected
  6. africa
  7. african
  8. ailments
  9. american
  10. amsterdam
  11. aphrodisiac
  12. aristocratic
  13. association
  14. associations
  15. aura
  16. aztecs
  17. bar
  18. battle
  19. bce
  20. bean
  21. beans
  22. beat
  23. believed
  24. big
  25. bitter
  26. born
  27. brought
  28. butter
  29. cacao
  30. caribbean
  31. century
  32. change
  33. child
  34. children
  35. chili
  36. chocolate
  37. chocolatier
  38. coast
  39. cocoa
  40. coenraad
  41. colonial
  42. colonists
  43. combined
  44. companies
  45. complete
  46. complex
  47. concoction
  48. consuming
  49. cornmeal
  50. cortés
  51. cote
  52. court
  53. create
  54. cruel
  55. cultivation
  56. culture
  57. cultures
  58. cup
  59. cups
  60. currency
  61. customs
  62. daniel
  63. deal
  64. decadent
  65. dedicated
  66. delicacy
  67. demand
  68. difficult
  69. drank
  70. drink
  71. drinkable
  72. due
  73. earliest
  74. efforts
  75. elite
  76. encounter
  77. equator
  78. established
  79. estimation
  80. existed
  81. fascinating
  82. fashionable
  83. fat
  84. feasts
  85. feathered
  86. foam
  87. food
  88. forbidden
  89. form
  90. frothing
  91. gave
  92. gifted
  93. god
  94. golden
  95. ground
  96. grow
  97. growth
  98. heavenly
  99. hernán
  100. hide
  101. history
  102. home
  103. honey
  104. horrific
  105. hot
  106. houten
  107. human
  108. humans
  109. imagine
  110. imported
  111. indentured
  112. industry
  113. introduction
  114. inventing
  115. invention
  116. invigorating
  117. involved
  118. islands
  119. jugs
  120. king
  121. knowing
  122. kukulkan
  123. labor
  124. large
  125. learned
  126. left
  127. lieutenant
  128. life
  129. long
  130. longer
  131. lucky
  132. luxury
  133. major
  134. massive
  135. maya
  136. medicine
  137. meeting
  138. mesoamerica
  139. mesoamericans
  140. milk
  141. million
  142. mix
  143. mixed
  144. moctezuma
  145. modern
  146. moment
  147. named
  148. nations
  149. native
  150. natural
  151. occurred
  152. originate
  153. partner
  154. people
  155. peppers
  156. persists
  157. peter
  158. plantations
  159. popular
  160. poured
  161. powder
  162. powdered
  163. power
  164. practices
  165. prepare
  166. press
  167. problem
  168. produce
  169. production
  170. providing
  171. public
  172. quetzalcoatl
  173. quickly
  174. recombined
  175. recorded
  176. records
  177. reduce
  178. region
  179. relaxing
  180. reputation
  181. required
  182. retains
  183. returned
  184. reward
  185. rights
  186. rituals
  187. royal
  188. salacious
  189. scale
  190. sensual
  191. separate
  192. serpent
  193. shift
  194. shipments
  195. shipped
  196. slave
  197. slaves
  198. soldiers
  199. solid
  200. solution
  201. south
  202. spanish
  203. stomachs
  204. strange
  205. success
  206. sugar
  207. suitable
  208. supply
  209. sweet
  210. sweetening
  211. swiss
  212. taste
  213. tells
  214. tenochtitlan
  215. thought
  216. time
  217. today
  218. transatlantic
  219. treat
  220. tree
  221. unwrap
  222. upset
  223. van
  224. vanilla
  225. visited
  226. ware
  227. west
  228. western
  229. world