Book Report: Chocolate: The Consuming Passion by Sandra Boynton (2015)

Book coverBrian J., you might ask, exactly how low will you go to complete all fifteen categories in the Winter 2021 Reading Challenge? Well, gentle reader, I went to the library the other day to find a short collection of poetry by a Native American author and a book on food since I can’t find the book I pulled from my personal library about food. And I found this book on the shelves of the library in the food section. It’s a short humor book with lots of illustrations, but, c’mon, man. It was in the library’s own Food section, and not the kids’ food section. So it counts.

At any rate, it is an update of a 1985 volume that contains the sort of thing one would find in an “I Am….[Food Type]” article on Reader’s Digest if anyone besides me subscribed to it in the 21st century. You have information about how cacao is grown, how it is made into chocolates you can eat, where to buy the best chocolate, how to store it, all presented with a sense of humor and a lot of drawn hippopotami. Strangely enough, you can learn a lot from this book if you’re interested. It includes steps to grow cacao beans–step one is basically live in Africa or South America–and also recipes. So the book has it all.

But, yeah, it’s a very short read–it took me an hour or so. As I said, it’s more of a long article with the cartoons. But still informative.

I did flag one thing, though:

The new millennium has brought with it a quiet but insistent counter-trend to mass production: exquisite artisan-made food and drink. Wine, cheese, coffee, beer, bourbon–each has drawn a fanatical core of small-batch makers who strive for new vistas of nuanced taste experience. In turn, those makers attract a core of deeply devoted followers.

And so it is with chocolate.

The chocolate that these driven iconoclasts make is kown as “bean to bar” or “craft chocolate.” The makers begin at the beginning, working directly with smale-scale cacao farmers to determine how to grow and nurture the best possible beans, and how to optimize the methods by which these beans are sorted, fermented, and dried.

She’s talking about Askinosie Chocolate based here in Springfield, Missouri–and she does mention him in the thank yous at the end.

So I am down to two books to read in the next nine days. I am starting to feel very confident that I will complete the Winter Reading Challenge the hard way.

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