Tag Archives: food processing

Experiences of a Cocoa King

I recently spoke with my uncle, Ronald D. Waugh Jr., who served as Vice President of Business Development for W.R. Grace Cocoa and later Archer Daniels Midland from the years 1993 to 1999. W.R. Grace Cocoa had factories in Amsterdam and Wisconsin, and he worked in both locations over the course of his career. In our conversation, he spoke about the intricacies of supplying cocoa products to large clients like Nabisco and Unilever, as well as his experience visiting their business partners in the Côte d’Ivoire (pictured below). When he left in 1999, he estimates that the company was processing roughly twenty-five percent of the world’s cacao. Although his company took corporate social responsibility seriously and was regarded as a progressive employer by many of its workers at the time, he acknowledges that these terms have taken new meaning in modern times. This new level of social awareness is especially evident in Portland, Oregon, the city he now calls home.


Courtesy of Ronald D. Waugh — he is on the right (circa 1999)

W.R. Grace Cocoa’s European headquarters in Amsterdam specialized in the processing of cacao beans and chocolate products including liqueur, cocoa butter, cocoa cakes, and cocoa powder. For sourcing, Grace turned towards cacao growing regions in countries throughout West Africa such as Ghana, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as East Asian countries like Indonesia. At its height, Grace Cocoa sold more than $700 million in industrial cocoa and chocolate products around the world annually (New York Times 1996). Grace was able to do so because of the diversity of their clients’ products. Their needs differed based on the intended use of the cocoa, and my uncle facilitated many of these corporate relationships.

One of the first distinctions he made in our conversation was that between actual chocolate, and what is considered “chocolate flavor.” Chocolate liqueur, which is made from the pressing and grinding of cacao beans, is divided into two main substances: cocoa and cocoa butter. In order for a product to legally labeled as containing chocolate in the United States, cocoa butter must still be present. Otherwise, the product must be denoted as “chocolate flavored.” Fat-content impacts the flavor of the products, and more legal standards of identity determine these ratios. Low-fat content chocolate must contain between ten and twelve percent cocoa butter, while high-fat content chocolate must contain between sixteen and eighteen percent cocoa butter (Waugh 2017). Because cocoa butter is the more expensive ingredient of chocolate, Grace Cocoa was able to generate savings for their clients when they could optimize the fat content. Sometimes, this also required the blending of cocoa from different batches, the processes of which also had to be developed in their labs. According to Waugh, they would aim for 10 percent fat-content in their low-fat chocolate products, and sixteen percent in the high-fat chocolate products, as to fulfill fat-content standards, and minimize input costs for their clients (2017).

Common substitutes for cocoa butter are forms of vegetable fats and oils. These substitutes can be made for reasons of cost, as cited above, but also desired physical properties of the final product, such as melting point or mouthfeel. True cocoa butter melts at the temperature of the human body, eighty-six degrees fahrenheit, while compound chocolate has a higher melting point (Muir 2015). The higher melting point of these coatings make them ideal for use on ice cream products, compared to a candy which the consumer will eat right away. Appropriately, Grace Cocoa was contracted to supply the chocolate coatings for Unilever’s Magnum ice cream bars, which were made from Grace’s variety of chocolate flavorings. Other attributes of cocoa also came to be important to Grace Cocoa’s clients.

Unilever’s Magnum ice cream bars (left) and Nabisco’s Oreos (right)

Other factors clients cared about included grittiness, viscosity, and color. Adjustments in these could save or cost their customers money over time. One example he cited, was if the chocolate was intended to go on top of oatmeal cookies, the smoothness of their chocolate did not matter as much. The oatmeal would mask any grittiness in the chocolate, and they could save money in the production process, which Grace Cocoa would pass onto their customers. Viscosity of the chocolate Grace sold was also important, as it would come into direct contact with the customer’s machinery. A chocolate liqueur that had too much viscosity could potentially clog up a client’s machines, leaving them unable to produce their final products. Finally, the color consistency of the cocoa powder was of utmost importance. Grace Cocoa was one of the only companies that had the resources to consistently produce black cocoa powder — as result, they developed an exclusive relationship with Nabisco to provide the cocoa for their iconic Oreo cookies. The popularity of these international brands puts pressure on companies like Grace Cocoa in order to satisfy the world’s demand.

Demand for chocolate is relatively inelastic. In my uncle’s experience at Grace, their predictions for the growth of demand in a particular country would roughly mirror population growth (Waugh 2017). If the population was expected to grow by one percent, they could also expect a one percent growth in the demand for chocolate products. The only exception to this rule being Asian countries, where chocolate only caught on through the cultural practices of gift-giving. As result, marketing strategies are different in Asia. Authors of the book, The Economics of Chocolate explain, “foreign chocolate makers devote much in advertising and packaging efforts to promote chocolate as a gift that symbolizes love and friendship” (Squicciarini and Swinnen 2016). Waugh says that he and his colleagues used to joke, that if they could get every person in China to eat one chocolate bar per year, they would all be able to retire. With demand being predictable and constant, any challenges that those in the cocoa industry would face almost always came on the supply side.

Managing the supply of cacao was paramount to Grace Cocoa’s success. Cacao is a notoriously difficult crop to grow, and its successful growth is subject to various environmental factors. The author of Bitter Chocolate: The Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet, explains the variables likely to impact worldwide cacao supply:

“The quality of beans, the capricious rains, the unpredictable harvests, the cost of pesticides, the threat of witch’s broom (a disease of the Theobroma tree), the see-saw prices and the exorbitant government taxes. These farmers know everything about the difficulties of growing cocoa in this region” (Off 2008).

Cacao rose to prominence as a cash crop in West and Central Africa due to the regions’ favorable growing climates. In these areas, politics have become greatly intertwined with the cultivation of cacao, and consequently many hurdles and question marks exist for the villages who make their livelihood farming cacao. Companies that must meet the world’s demand for cacao, like Grace Cocoa, are forced to mitigate the risk of fluctuations in supply by sourcing their beans from African business groups with ties across their countries, instead of the farmers themselves. My uncle worked directly with these people, and even visited Côte d’Ivoire periodically throughout his time working in the industry.

In his visits to the Côte d’Ivoire, Waugh and his colleagues frequently interacted with figures like Pierre Billon, father of the current Ivorian Minister of Commerce, Jean-Louis Billon. Pierre Billon, who has since passed away, is described as, “a tycoon and close confidant of Côte d’Ivoire’s founding father, Félix Houphouët-Boigny” (Abidjan 2013). Navigating these relationships was challenging, because unlike in Western countries, these were the types of men which influenced everything within the country, even on a governmental level. On one of his trips, my uncle was awarded an officer medal from Côte d’Ivoire’s Ordre de Mérite Agricole, or the Order of Agricultural Merit. Admittedly, he said this was fun to receive, but he also acknowledges this gesture may have been an attempt to warm up to him. He was able to visit several farms and see the harshness of the wilderness, but he never expected the modern revelations that more sinister practices were taking place.

Waugh describes the cacao production he saw within the Côte d’Ivoire as much more “artisan” than plantations he’d seen in other parts of the world like Indonesia (2017). Plantations didn’t exist in Côte d’Ivoire, or at least he wasn’t shown them. It was explained to Waugh that primarily Lebanese men called pisteurs, would travel the treacherous terrain to the farms around the country in order to collect the cacao beans. Carol Off explains her experience navigating Côte d’Ivoire’s bush country, “Tangled vines and shrubbery encroach on both sides of our vehicle while we push through what resembles a dark, leafy tunnel. Constant precipitation — a perpetual cycle from warm mist to torrential thundershowers to steam — seems to stimulate the new jungle growth before my eyes” (Off 2001). The density of the unforgiving wilderness seemed to distract from the idea that forced labor could exist in the area.

Another circumstance which may have covered up the forced labor practices to visitors like my uncle, was the small size of the cacao farms within the country. Duguma, Gockowski and Bakala explain, “In the humid west and central Africa, cacao (Theobroma cacao Linn.) is one of the most important cash crops and it is grown largely (> 80%) by the small-scale farmers” (2001). The average farm size is only 2.5 hectares, or just over 6 acres (see table below). Waugh explained that the farms he saw were also home to animals like pigs and chickens. Although it never crossed his mind that inhumane conditions could’ve existed, he does admit that he feels somewhat complicit in the things that were happening (2017). Looking at the larger picture of the cocoa processing operations, both Grace Cocoa and Archer tried to spread out production means, in turn helping several regions throughout the world.

Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC).png

Source: Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC)

Waugh says that production operations were based out of Amsterdam, because the Netherlands had readily available means of processing the cacao beans. The technology that they relied to do so was ancient, and it was the windmill. Grace Cocoa used the means of production that was convenient, and because much of the world’s cacao was entering Europe through Amsterdam, it simply made sense to station their operations here. Waugh says he was often asked why Grace or Archer Daniels did not build processing plants in Africa — and his response? They did. In 1997, following the acquisition of Grace Cocoa, ADM became a shareholder and later the outright owner of Union Ivoirienne de Traitement de Cacao (Unicao). Unicao, a local cocoa trader and processor owned a plant in the city of Abidjan (Squicciarini and Swinnen 2016). Photos of the factory can be seen below. Having these operations within the country certainly cut some of their overhead costs of shipping unprocessed beans, but it also limited their supply to Ivorian cacao. The company was forced to blend their cocoa cakes in this factory, and Waugh says this worked for some applications, but not all.

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Photos courtesy of Ronald D. Waugh (circa 1999)

Conditions in communities throughout Côte d’Ivoire are still rough today, but Grace and later Archer, did what they could to help out at the time. Carol Off writes, “The community’s livelihood comes from growing “the food of the gods,” but this is a long way from paradise. None of the children here go to school, and there are no services — no electricity, no phones, no clinics or hospitals” (2008). Waugh explained that both Grace and Archer were regarded as progressive employers in the Côte d’Ivoire. In the city where their processing plant was located, they built several schools and a medical clinic. They also provided housing for the African managers of their factory. Community members believed that they were a fair employer and as result, both parties felt better off because of the balance of loyalty.

In the era of the internet, corporate responsibility has gained a lot of prominence. Perhaps, it is because heightened transparency has increased the accountability of corporations. One brand that brings that close to home (literally and figuratively) for my uncle is called Tony’s Chocolonely. With locations in Portland, Oregon, and Amsterdam, the brand directly sources their cocoa from farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The reason? They want to ensure that the cacao is not grown, harvested, or processed by slave labor in any way, shape, or form (see link below). At one point not too long ago in history, corporate responsibility simply entailed treating employees, communities, consumers and the environment with respect. Building housing, schools and clinics would’ve been considered going above and beyond one’s obligations. In today’s globalized world, that may not be enough. I don’t think that means any firm in particular was in the right or in the wrong, but future generations have a responsibility to learn and grow from history. I’m grateful that through this project, I was able to learn more about the complexities chocolate production through my uncle’s expertise and experiences.



Works Cited

Abidjan, A. R. “A Rising Star.” Blog Post. The Economist. The Economist, 3 May 2013. Web. 5 May 2017.

“Archer in $430 Million Deal to Buy W.R. Grace Cocoa Unit.” New York Times, Dec. 24, 1996. pp. 1, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times.

Duguma, B. Gockowski, J. & Bakala, J. “Smallholder Cacao (Theobroma Cacao Linn.) Cultivation in Agroforestry Systems of West and Central Africa: Challenges and Opportunities.” Agroforestry Systems 51 (2001): 177-88. Springer Link. Web. 5 May 2017.

Muir, April. “Candy Making: Facts about Chocolate Compound Coating.” Sephra. Sephra, 03 Oct. 2015. Web. 05 May 2017.

Squicciarini, Mara P., and Swinnen, Johan. “Chocolate Brands and Preferences of Chinese Consumers.” The Economics of Chocolate. Oxford: Oxford Univ, 2016. N. pag. Oxford Scholarship [Oxford UP]. Web. 5 May 2017.

Off, Carol. 2008. Bitter Chocolate: The Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet. pp. 1-8, 119-161

Waugh, Ronald D., Jr. Telephone interview. 3 May 2017.

Chocolate’s Change from Elite Drink to Common Confection

The chocolate prevalently consumed today isn’t the chocolate known to the ancient Mesoamericans, or elite Europeans of the past. What was once a rich, decadent drink of the wealthy has now become a common confection, easily attainable by all members of our society. Due to the many innovations introduced during the Industrial Revolution, now most readily available chocolate is heavily processed and adulterated with sugar.

The chocolate the Mayans and Aztecs sipped was made by a process of grinding roasted cacao seeds until they formed chocolate liquor. This bitter, fatty liquid was mixed with corn flour, a little water, and some spices to add flavor.  A similar process was used in Europe when the Spaniards first brought back cacao seeds from the New World in the 1500’s. “For many years cacao beans were roasted and ground into a thick, grainy paste (cacao mass or liquor), by methods differing very little form the pre-Columbian metate grinding…”(Presilla, 2009, p. 30). Pictured below is a metate, the grinding stone that would be heated and used to grind cacao seeds.

metate_et_mano           Figure 1. A Mesoamerican Metate used for grinding cacao.

As chocolate gained popularity throughout Europe, its target audience remained the same. “It had been an elite drink among the copper-skinned, befeathered Mesoamericans, and it stayed that way among the white-skinned, perfumed, bewigged, overdressed royalty and nobility of Europe” (Coe & Coe, 2013, p. 125). Several inventions in the 1800’s would eventually change chocolate’s status as an exclusive drink, to a low-cost food.

This change was first precipitated in 1828 by Conrad Van Houten from the Netherlands. Van Houten devised a way to use a hydrolyzed press in order to extract the cacao fat from chocolate liquor; leaving both cocoa powder and the cocoa butter. Cocoa powder was quicker to turn into hot chocolate than the traditional method, and the cocoa butter had many uses, such as making soaps. He further invented an alkalizing process which helped to make less acidic, smoother tasting cocoa powder (Presilla, 2009, p. 40).

chocolate_melanger          Figure 2. Modern Melangeur used to mix ingredients.

Pictured above is a modern day version of a machine introduced during the industrial revolution, the Melangeur. This is a large mixer used to combine ingredients into a uniform dough. This added greater consistency and speed to an otherwise laborious process. In 1879 Rodolphe Lindt, of Switzerland, developed a machine to take the smoothing and combing process one step further. With his conching machine all grittiness could be removed and a truly smooth, melt in your mouth, solid, chocolate was created. During that same year another Swiss inventor, Daniel Peter, came up with the process of adding dried milk (Prescilla, 2009, p. 41).

Through trial and error, a self-stable bar chocolate was made from conching cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla and dried milk. The end result was a product that could be made inexpensively on a very large scale. As the price went down, the demand rose. This new form of chocolate could not have been mass produced so cheaply without its main ingredient; sugar. Mintz (1987) tells us sugar changed from a luxury of the wealthy to a dietary staple of the poor in Britain (p. 133). Pictures below are sugar cane workers on the island of Jamaica in the 1880s. As sugar consumption increased in staggering rates in Europe and North America, the need for affordable mass labor led to slavery. Even after slavery was abolished, the working conditions of laborers on plantations was terrible.

cane_cutters_in_jamaica          Figure 3.  Jamaican sugar cane works in the 1880’s.

The strong consumer demand in our society for ever more sweet treats has led chocolate manufacturers to look for ways to continue to make mass produce quantities of chocolate for as little money as possible. Of course this has resulted in paying sugar and cacao farmers as little as possible. Historically, before food and drug regulations, this also meant a free for all on adding cheaper ingredients into chocolate (Coe & Coe, 2013, p. 244).  Large scale chocolate making meant, and continues to mean, a reduction in overall chocolate quality.

Before chocolate became the conched bar of sugar, dried milk and cocoa we know of today, the quality of beans used mattered a great deal. The most prized beans came from the variety called Criollo. This name has lost significance outside of niche markets due to the nature of modern chocolate making. Many things can go awry when making cacao ready for eating. Not only do varies varieties, namely forastero, potentially have a less ideal flavor, issues can arise during growing, fermenting, drying and roasting. Van Houten’s alkali treatment and conching can both help salvage imperfect beans (Presilla, 2009, p. 41). The high amount of sugar can also help mask unpleasant flavors. After the Industrial Revolution Priscilla (2009) notes “Even excellent chocolate had become faceless and anonymous, for the great majority of consumers had no way of seeing and judging the cacao from which it was made (p. 41.)

Chocolate was once a fine crafted drink of elite Mesoamericans. Then cacao traveled to Europe, and for many years, was kept in the same tradition of being sipped by the upper class. Innovation, and an unfortunate acceptance of slave labor, allowed chocolate during the Industrial Revolution to be transformed. It became a common, edible food available to all of our society. The origin and quality of the ingredients has become unknown to the average consumer. Today most think of chocolate as a highly sweetened candy. This has not always been true. Chocolate had a different life long before industrialization.



Coe, S. D., & Coe, M. D. (2013). The true history of chocolate. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Mintz, S. W. (1987). Sweetness and power: the place of sugar in modern history. New York: Penguin Books.

Presilla, M. E. (2009). The new taste of chocolate: a cultural and natural history of cacao with recipes. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

Figure 1. Yelkrokoyade (2008) Metate et mano [Online image]                                                          Retrieved March 8, 2017 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMetate_et_mano.jpg

Figure 2. Sanjay Acharya (2008) Chocolate melanger [Online image]                                            Retrieved March 8, 2017 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AChocolate_melanger.jpg

Figure 3. Cane cutters in Jamaica [Online image] (1880’s)  Retrieved March 8, 2017 from https//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACane_cutters_Jamaica.jpg


A Tradition of Nutritional Transformation: The Case of Tejate

In his Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana (General History of the Things of New Spain), 16th-century Franciscan missionary and “world’s first field ethnographer” Friar Bernardino de Sahagun provides a meticulous account of Aztec society (Coe and Coe, 2013). Among the “things of New Spain” described is a recipe for “cacao para beber” (“cacao for drinking”) (Sahagun, 1982). Almendras, or fermented and dried cacao beans, were ground, and then mixed with “cooked and washed” maize. The mixture is then ground, and a “stream of water” was added to create a frothy, foam-topped beverage. Other ingredients, including flowers, honey, and assorted spices, were often added as well. While Sahagun failed to explicitly name this cacao para beber, it closely resembles tejate, a traditional drink of the Central Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico (Soleri and Cleveland, 2007). Yet, the latter is far more than a historical relic or regional curiosity. Though grounded in ancient Mesoamerican cacao tradition, the recipe for tejate illustrates an enduring truth: that what constitutes “good,” nutritious food is defined by the needs of its environment.

Though a year-round staple in Central Oaxaca, tejate is consumed most during the maize harvest, during summer and early autumn (Soleri et al., 2008). Traditionally made by women to repay hired male laborers for harvesting maize, the beverage is frequently considered a “required” form of remuneration, “cooling, refreshing, and fortifying” workers after strenuous fieldwork in the hot sun (Soleri and Cleveland, 2007; Soleri et al., 2008). Tejate thus represents a sort of “biological transaction”: by giving laborers tejate, women literally reimburse them with the calories lost to harvesting maize. Given the uncertain and often limited food supply noted in early Oaxaca, tejate was likely a highly valuable currency (Endfield et al., 2004; Liverman, 1999).

Both the composition and preparation of tejate reflect this vital role. Comprised of maize (Zea mays), cacao rojo and sometimes cacao blanco beans (the seeds of Theobroma cacao and the related Theobroma bicolor, respectively), pixtle (the seed of the mamey fruit, Pouteria sapota), and the flower of the native evergreen tree rosita de cacao (Quararibea funebris), the drink is ideal fare for active individuals (Soleri and Cleveland, 2007; Soleri et al., 2008). Starch-rich maize and lipid-rich cacao and pixtle seeds make tejate a rich source of complex carbohydrates, fat, and energy (Soleri et al., 2008; Sotelo et al., 2012). The stimulating secondary compounds present in cacao, including caffeine and theobromine, could have provided an additional energy “boost” (Coe and Coe, 2013).

The raw materials for making tejate possess great nutritional potential. Clockwise, from right: (a) fresh (i) and dried (ii) rosita de cacao flowers, (b) pixtle, (c) cacao rojo, (d) cacao blanco, (e) maize (shown in the processed, masa form). Image adapted from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tledavid/2546925034/.

The raw materials for making tejate possess great nutritional potential. Clockwise, from right: (a) fresh (i) and dried (ii) rosita de cacao flowers, (b) pixtle, (c) cacao rojo, (d) cacao blanco, (e) maize (shown in the processed, masa form). Image adapted from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tledavid/2546925034/.

The processes used to make tejate unlock the potential of these raw ingredients, contributing significantly to its nutritional and cultural value. Like Sahagun’s cacao para beber, tejate is prepared in two parts: two masas, or “doughs,” are separately made, and then combined to create a frothy beverage. Dried maize is soaked and cooked in a solution of ash and water, washed to remove the pericarp (husk), and ground into the “very fine” and “uniformly smooth” masa blanca using a metate (mortar) and mano (pestle) (Soleri et al., 2008). The “cooking” and ash-“washing” noted by Sahagun and known today as nixtamalization, drastically elevate maize’s nutritional value. Cooking gelatinizes maize starch, making it more digestible (Carmody and Wrangham, 2009), and “soaking” maize in ash adds minerals, including iron, potassium, and zinc, absent in unprocessed maize (Pappa et al., 2010; Sotelo et al., 2012).

Similarly, the other ingredients – cacao beans, pixtle, and rosita de cacao – are “toasted” on a griddle, or comal, and then ground (on a metate) into the smooth, paste-like masa de pixtle (Soleri et al., 2008). The two masas are then ground together such that they are thoroughly combined(Soleri and Cleveland, 2007; Soleri et al., 2008). “Toasting” the oil-rich cacao beans and pixtle ruptures cells, making their interior lipids accessible to digestive enzymes (de Brito et al., 2001; Varela et al., 2008). Extensively grinding all ingredients into the masas reduces particle size, further increasing their digestibility (Berry et al., 2008; Heaton et al., 1988). Finally, the mixture is whipped with “small increments” of water to create a frothy beverage (Soleri and Cleveland, 2007; Soleri et al., 2008). As fluids are more easily consumed and less satiating than solids, whipping the heavy, dense masas into a lighter, liquid form enables individuals to eat more, helping ensure adequate energy intake despite the appetite-suppressing heat of harvest-time (DiMeglio and Mattes, 2000; Pan and Hu, 2011; Sotelo et al., 2012).

A contemporary Maya woman preparing a traditional maize-cacao beverage. While the drink is not tejate, the preparation method used shares key characteristics, including extensive hand-grinding of cacao and maize using a metate, frothing with water to create a light, frothy beverage, and the highly gendered division of labor (i.e., a female making a nourishing cacao drink for a male).

While prized in early Oaxaca, tejate has uncertain value today. Rich in macro- as well micronutrients – and thereby calories – tejate has been criticized as “fattening” amidst Mexico’s growing obesity epidemic (Barquera et al., 2013; Sotelo et al., 2012). A calorie-dense, palatable beverage may not be the healthiest choice for an increasingly sedentary population, rather than one regularly engaging in strenuous agricultural labor (Gomez et al., 2009). Yet, the “lighter” sodas replacing tejate are anything but: higher in simple sugars and lacking the complex carbohydrates, beneficial plant-based fats, and minerals present in tejate, these “refrescos” are arguably a major cause of the Mexican obesity crisis (Barquera et al., 2013; Rivera et al., 2002). Tejate, if consumed in quantities matching individuals’ evolving energy needs, may thus be the nutritionally superior option.

Modernization also provokes questions about the norms underlying tejate’s cultural and nutritional worth. As a “biological currency,” the beverage derives its value from the exchange of labor: namely, women’s time and energy in the kitchen for men’s exertion in the maize fields. Should contemporary Oaxacan women be expected to devote two or more hours cooking, grinding, and hand-whipping ingredients, so that this “unique, traditional” beverage can be “maintained” for future generations (Sotelo et al., 2012)? Or are industrially manufactured alternatives, such as the instant tejate mix “Tejatli,” the ethical alternative to such gendered “drudgery” (Laudan, 2010; Soleri et al., 2008)? The complexity of nutrition and culture result in an cloudy brew resembling the beverage itself, leading to few, if any, clear answers. As consumers inhabiting a rapidly evolving and interconnected world, we must realize that “good” is frequently neither absolute nor immutable. Rather than opposing change, we should instead follow the truly universal “tradition”: tailoring practices, whether foodstuffs or labor systems, to the needs of our own time.



A fairer future for tejate? Tejatli, an instant tejate “mix” created by Oaxacan entrepreneurs, may liberate women from the two or more hours preparing the beverage – but may also lead to the loss of traditional preparation methods.

Works Cited

Barquera, S., Campos, I., Rivera, J.A., 2013. Mexico attempts to tackle obesity: the process, results, push backs and future challenges. Obesity Reviews 14, 69-78.

Berry, S.E., Tydeman, E.A., Lewis, H.B., Phalora, R., Rosborough, J., Picout, D.R., Ellis, P.R., 2008. Manipulation of lipid bioaccessibility of almond seeds influences postprandial lipemia in healthy human subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 88, 922-929.

Carmody, R.N., Wrangham, R.W., 2009. The energetic significance of cooking. J Hum Evol 57, 379-391.

Coe, S.D., Coe, M.D., 2013. The True History of Chocolate Thames and Hudson, London.

de Brito, E.S., Garcia, N.H.P., Gallao, M.I., Cortelazzo, A.L., Fevereiro, P.S., Braga, M.R., 2001. Structural and chemical changes in cocoa (Theobroma cacao L) during fermentation, drying and roasting. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 81, 281-288.

DiMeglio, D.P., Mattes, R.D., 2000. Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight. International Journal of Obesity 24, 794-800.

Endfield, G.H., Tejedo, I.F., O’Hara, S.L., 2004. Drought and disputes, deluge and dearth: climatic variability and human response in colonial Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Historical Geography 30, 249-276.

Gomez, L.M., Hernandez-Prado, B., Morales, M.D., Shamah-Levy, T., 2009. Physical activity and overweight/obesity in adult Mexican population. The Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey 2006. Salud Publica De Mexico 51, S621-S629.

Heaton, K.W., Marcus, S.N., Emmett, P.M., Bolton, C.H., 1988. Particle-Size of Wheat, Maize, and Oat Test Meals – Effects on Plasma-Glucose and Insulin Responses and on the Rate of Starch Digestion Invitro. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 47, 675-682.

Laudan, R., 2010. A Plea for Culinary Modernism: Why We Should Love New, Fast, Processed Food. Gastronomica Reader, 280-292.

Liverman, D.M., 1999. Vulnerability and adaptation to drought in Mexico. Natural Resources Journal 39, 99-115.

Pan, A., Hu, F.B., 2011. Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: differences between liquid and solid food. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 14, 385-390.

Pappa, M.R., de Palomo, P.P., Bressani, R., 2010. Effect of Lime and Wood Ash on the Nixtamalization of Maize and Tortilla Chemical and Nutritional Characteristics. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 65, 130-135.

Rivera, J.A., Barquera, S., Campirano, F., Campos, I., Safdie, M., Tovar, V., 2002. Epidemiological and nutritional transition in Mexico: rapid increase of non-communicable chronic diseases and obesity. Public Health Nutrition 5, 113-122.

Sahagun, B., 1982. Historia general de las cosas de nueva España. School of American Research Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Soleri, D., Cleveland, D.A., 2007. Tejate: Theobroma Cacao and T. bicolor in a Traditional Beverage from Oaxaca, Mexico. Food and Foodways 15, 107-118.

Soleri, D., Cleveland, D.A., Cuevas, F.A., 2008. Food globalization and local diversity – The case of tejate. Current Anthropology 49, 280-290.

Sotelo, A., Soleri, D., Wacher, C., Sanchez-Chinchillas, A., Argote, R.M., 2012. Chemical and Nutritional Composition of Tejate, a Traditional Maize and Cacao Beverage from the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 67, 148-155.

Varela, P., Aguilera, J.M., Fiszman, S., 2008. Quantification of fracture properties and microstructural features of roasted Marcona almonds by image analysis. Lwt-Food Science and Technology 41, 10-17.